Fire extinguishers can be instrumental in preventing small fires from escalating into destructive ones. However, many businesses are unaware that fire extinguishers come with an expiration date. It is important to know how long your fire extinguisher lasts so that you can ensure that yours is properly functioning when you need them the most, and so you stay up to date with fire compliance regulations.
Below, we will explore the lifespan of fire extinguishers and what you can do to ensure that they are operating effectively.
How many years is a fire extinguisher good for?
The durability of a fire extinguisher depends on the type and manufacturer it belongs to. Most fire extinguishers, however, expire within 10 to 12 years. Nevertheless, it is advisable to conduct a regular check on your fire extinguisher to verify that it is in proper working order.
How do you know if your fire extinguisher is in proper working order?
You can take several measures to ensure your fire extinguisher is working properly:
- Verify the pressure gauge: It is crucial to ensure that the pressure gauge on the extinguisher displays proper pressurization. If the needle rests within the green zone, it indicates that the extinguisher is fully charged and prepared for use. However, if the needle is outside the designated range, it signifies that the extinguisher might necessitate a recharge.
- Look for visible signs of damage: Check the extinguisher for any signs of damage or wear such as dents, rust, leakage or a broken handle. If this is the case, it is reasonably possible that the extinguisher might not function correctly, and therefore, an immediate replacement is recommended.
- Check the safety pin and tamper seal: Ensure that the safety pin is firmly in position and that the tamper seal is undamaged. If either of these components is missing or impaired, it is possible that the extinguisher has been utilized or meddled with, which could result in malfunctioning when required.
- Check the instructions and date tag: Make sure the operating instructions and date tag are legible and facing outward. This will help ensure that the extinguisher is used correctly and that you know when it was last inspected.
By doing your due diligence, you can assist in prolonging the lifespan of your fire extinguishers and are in working order, prepared for use during unforeseen emergencies.
Do fire extinguishers have to be serviced every year?
Different types of fire extinguishers require different levels of maintenance and replacements, so it is important to check the manufacturer’s recommendations for your specific type of extinguisher.
Here are some general guidelines:
- Dry chemical fire extinguishers: These are the most prevalent type of fire extinguisher and are effective on the majority of fire classes, including Class A, B, and C fires. However, they require more maintenance than other types because the dry chemical powder can settle and compact over time, making the extinguisher less effective. This means that they need to be shaken and inspected more frequently, usually once a year.
- Water-based fire extinguishers: These are typically used for Class A fires and are the simplest type of extinguisher. They require very little maintenance, but it is important to make sure that the water does not freeze in cold temperatures.
- Carbon dioxide (CO2) fire extinguishers: These are typically used for electrical and Class B fires and do not leave any residue or damage behind. However, they require frequent inspections and replacements because the CO2 gas can leak out over time.
- Foam fire extinguishers: These extinguishers are efficient for Class A and B fires, as they establish a barricade between the fuel and oxygen. They require more maintenance than water-based extinguishers, but not as much as dry chemical extinguishers.
It is critical to review the manufacturer’s guidelines and suggestions for your exact type of fire extinguisher. This will help you understand how often your extinguisher should be inspected and when it should be replaced. Additionally, it is a good idea to have a professional inspect your extinguishers regularly to ensure that they are well-maintained.
Is there an expiration date on fire extinguishers?
Yes, most fire extinguishers expire 10 to 12 years from the date of manufacture and have an expiration date stamped on them. Verifying the expiration date and replacing the extinguisher if it has elapsed are vital.
You should still inspect it regularly prior to the fire extinguisher expiration to ensure that it is operational. Remember that having a fully functional fire extinguisher can be a life-saving tool in the event of a fire, so it is essential to keep yours in good condition.
Choose Firecode Safety Equipment for your fire extinguisher servicing needs
Firecode has been the premier Sacramento fire suppression company since 1982. We offer thorough and reliable fire extinguisher servicing, including on-site inspections and recharging. Whether you have rechargeable fire extinguishers, wet chemical extinguishers, non-rechargeable fire extinguishers, or others, we use state-of-the-art equipment and high-quality materials to make sure that your equipment is performing effectively and up to fire safety standards.
Contact us today. Our flexible scheduling options make it easy to get your fire extinguishers serviced at a time that is convenient for you.