1. #1
    Steve Paylor
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post Home fire extinguishers

    I was wondering how often a homeowner should service his fire extinguisher. My fire marshal said every 2-3 years would be fine, but I confess I was hoping he was going to say something more like 5-10.

    I know that businesses in our township are required to service theirs every year, but I assumed that was overkill because of their stricter insurance regulations. (And also because they never seem to recharge them after use.)

    I guess I'm resigned to the fact the they aren't going to last forever, but I think it's going to be difficult to persuade someone to either throw away (the little disposable models) or take in for servicing something in their home that often, when it looks exactly the same as the day they took it out of the box.

    Although, I have to wonder, exactly what is going on inside that extinguisher that causes it not to work? The material doesn't really age, is there corrosion at work?

  2. #2
    Engine69
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    If you are going to follow the NFPA Standards, a dry powder extinguisher is SUPPOSED to be visually inspected monthly, annually inspected by a "certified" service person, blow-down (full service) tested every 6 years and then hydrostatically tested every 12 years.

    A CO-2 requires monthly visual inspection, annual inspection by a "certified" service person and a hydrostatic test every 6 years.


  3. #3
    Steve Paylor
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Thanks, that's what I was looking for. Not bad for your first post either.


    I also got this from Kidde:

    From: EFaust@kidde.com [mailto:EFaust@kidde.com]
    Sent: Tuesday, February 20, 2001 01:33 pm
    To: Paylor, Stephen
    Subject: Re: Web site lead

    Daily replacement would be nice...but even we would not recommend that- the
    reality is as follows:

    Kidde gauged rechargeable and non-rechargeable extinguishers have a 6 year
    warranty and a typical life in excess of 12 years. The gauge on
    non-rechargeable extinguishers indicates "discard" in the region of the
    gauge that displays a low pressure reading (red). We recommend that these
    extinguisher be checked visibly once a month to ensure that the pressure
    level is in the green section on the gauge. Kidde non-gauged (pindicator
    push to test units), non-rechargeable extinguishers have a 2 year warranty
    and a typical life in excess of 10 years. We recommend that these
    extinguisher be physically checked monthly by pressing pindicator to
    verify that it returns to position indicating the pressure level is at the
    required level.

    In addition, depending on installation location the exterior of the entire
    unit should be looked at periodically for dents, chips or corrosion. We
    recommend that non-rechargeble extinguishers, older then the ages listed
    above, be replaced.

    If your fire extinguisher is showing a reduced charge or if it s beyond the
    recommend life spans listed below you can safely discard it with your trash
    by following the steps below:

    Standard dry chemical fire extinguishers can be safely discarded as
    follows:

    1- move to an outside area away from cars and other property. (To avoid
    fire fighting agent from coating any property). The agents used are
    harmless, but can be irritating if inhaled and can result in a dust-like
    coating on items.
    2- pull pin on extinguisher
    3- turn extinguisher upside down. (this will minimize the amount of
    fire-fighting agent discharged)
    4- face extinguisher away from yourself into an open area
    5- squeeze handle and hold until discharge stops.


    It is now safe to dispose of the fire extinguisher with your regular
    refuse.


    Ed Faust
    Business Manager, Fire Extinguisher Products
    Kidde Safety




    spaylor@seic.com
    To: projects@netservices.com, efaust@kidde.com
    cc:
    02/20/01 Subject: Web site lead
    01:18 PM



    E-mail: spaylor@seic.com
    Name: Steve Paylor
    Daytime Phone: ( ) -
    Comments: I am wondering how often home fire
    extinguishers should be serviced. I know you sell them so you're probably
    tempted to tell me to replace them daily, but I'm not sure who else to
    really ask.

    I thought the small disposable units ( less than five pounds) ought to be
    good for five years, if not longer.



  4. #4
    ArmyTruckCompany
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    As a part time employee of a fire equipment company that services extinguishers as well as a career firefighter for a gov't agency that maintains literally THOUSANDS of extinguishers, it is written policy that any extinguishers with plastic valves do NOT get recharged. Period. We follow all NFPA guidelines regarding 6 year maintenance as well as hydrotesting.

    As for what can happen- Dry chem is extremely corrosive, which is an addtional reason for testing these types of pressure vessels. I have also seen dry chem "caked" inside an extinguisher when some moisture was introduced into it somehow.

    ------------------
    "Loyalty above all else, except honor."

  5. #5
    FFWALT
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Engine69, you may want to double check NFPA 10, CO2 extinguishers are hydro tested every 5 years due to high pressure. As for what goes on inside the extinguisher regarding dry chemical. The chemical can cake due to moisture as ArmyTruckCompany suggested but new chemical from the manufacture also arrives caked. The reason is time and vibration. As the chemical sits or is vibrated it settles, hence caking. If you do monthly checks like Engine69 suggested, invert the extinguisher and using a rubber mallet (or you hand) tap on the bottom of the extinguisher. You will feel or hear the chemical release and drop. Personally I have absolutely no use for the plastic head extinguishers. Most are designed to be tossed and have a short service life whereas a metal headed extinguisher can have a service life of 30+ years. Steve and I discussed this previously but as far as I'm concerned the little bit you pay for yearly service (private or commercial) is well spent since you know the extinguisher will work if needed. Before I started doing this for a living I never touched my personal extinguishers, now I check them several times a year.

    ------------------
    Train like you want to fight.

  6. #6
    Engine69
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Red face

    Originally posted by FFWALT:
    Engine69, you may want to double check NFPA 10, CO2 extinguishers are hydro tested every 5 years due to high pressure
    Yep.. My bad.. I stand corrected. I get so caught up in the 6 year rotation for the dry powders, I forgot the CO-2s are 5 years (we have almost 1000 extinguishers where I work that I am partially responsible for...).

    Thanks for pointing out my mistake!


  7. #7
    NCFiremedic
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    It's Kinda off the subject, but here goes.
    Regarding Kidde's way of disposing extinguishers:
    "1- move to an outside area away from cars and other property. (To avoid
    fire fighting agent from coating any property). The agents used are
    harmless, but can be irritating if inhaled and can result in a dust-like
    coating on items.
    2- pull pin on extinguisher
    3- turn extinguisher upside down. (this will minimize the amount of
    fire-fighting agent discharged)
    4- face extinguisher away from yourself into an open area
    5- squeeze handle and hold until discharge stops.


    It is now safe to dispose of the fire extinguisher with your regular
    refuse."

    If it's so safe to just discharge it why do they (Manufacturers) require respiratory protection well beyond dust masks. Also why does the EPA require you to label it as HAZ-Mat to fet rid of it?
    Of course the answer to my question is probably the amount we have to get rid of. I work on a military base FD and service enough to fill a 55 gallon reclamation drum a month.


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