When to Replace or Recharge Your Fire Extinguisher

When to Replace or Recharge Your Fire Extinguisher

Fire extinguishers are essential to being prepared for a potential fire emergency. However, they must also be maintained and replaced or recharged when necessary. Knowing when to replace or recharge a fire extinguisher can help ensure that your home or business is well-equipped in an emergency. In this blog post, we will discuss why it is essential to maintain your fire extinguisher regularly and when to replace or recharge it.

When to Replace or Recharge Your Fire Extinguisher

You already know that handheld fire extinguishers are vital to your business’s fire safety plan. Of course, the extinguishers in your building can only be effective if they’re fully charged and in excellent condition. If you newly discharged the fire extinguisher to fight the blaze, you have two options: you can either recharge it or replace the entire canister.

1. When To Recharge A Fire Extinguisher

Most of the time, recharging a fire extinguisher is the best choice, so always explore this option first. You should recharge your fire extinguisher:

  • If the canister is in good condition: Most high-quality fire extinguishers are designed to last many years with proper maintenance. As long as your fire extinguisher’s exterior shell and other components are in good condition, plan to recharge it. This choice reduces waste and saves you money.
  • Even when only a small amount has been discharged: Whether you emptied the whole canister fighting a fire or you released just a small amount of pressure, you need to recharge the fire extinguisher. Even a tiny bit of pressure loss could make it harder to fight a fire next time.
  • Every 10 years: The durable construction of portable fire extinguishers helps them hold a charge for years. Still, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) requires rechargeable fire extinguishers to be recharged every 10 years.
When to Replace or Recharge Your Fire Extinguisher

2. When To Replace A Fire Extinguisher

While you should always explore recharging options first, sometimes a replacement is best. You should replace your fire extinguisher:

  • If the canister is slowly losing its charge: If you haven’t used your fire extinguisher in a long time, but the pressure gauge is slowly going down, the nozzle may be leaky, or the shell cracked. Either way, a slow pressure loss is a reason enough to replace the fire extinguisher.
  • If any other parts are damaged: The fire extinguisher may still hold a charge, but if the handle is wobbly or the pin is broken or missing, the extinguisher may not work properly when you need it to fight a fire. Monthly self-inspections should reveal these problems so you can replace the fire extinguisher as soon as possible.
  • If the inspection tag is missing: This tag discloses the maintenance history of the fire extinguisher. Without it, you have no idea how long it’s been since the last inspection or what condition the canister is in. It’s not worth endangering your building and the people inside when you can easily replace the fire extinguisher with a new one you know is reliable.
  • When it’s the more economical choice: Sometimes, replacing the whole unit is less expensive than recharging it, which is especially likely with small canisters. Look into your pricing options to find out for sure.
  • Every 12 years: Perhaps you have a disposable fire extinguisher that can’t be recharged. The NFPA requires you to replace these canisters every 12 years.

Maintaining your fire extinguisher is essential for the safety of everyone in your building. Use these guidelines to help you determine when to replace or recharge your fire extinguisher, and stay safe. If you have questions about fire safety, contact a professional to help you find the best solution for your business. Taking the time to research and find the right fire safety system for your needs can save lives. Don’t take any chances with the safety of your employees and customers — invest in a reliable fire extinguisher system today. It could be the difference between life and death. Stay safe!

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