A Quick Glance…
Fire extinguishers typically last between 5 to 15 years, although this can depend on the model and manufacturer. Regular maintenance and inspection can help prolong their lifespan, but it’s essential to replace or service them if they show signs of damage or if the pressure gauge indicates it’s undercharged. Furthermore, even if not used, most manufacturers recommend replacing fire extinguishers after the 10-12 year mark due to potential degradation of components. Always remember to check the printed expiration date or inspection tag for specific guidance related to your particular extinguisher.
Fire extinguisher life span
The exact shelf life of a fire extinguisher varies from manufacturers to manufacturers. That also goes for whether the fire extinguisher can be recharged or it has to be disposed of.
According to the experts, a rechargeable fire extinguisher needs to be recharged every 6 years, whereas disposable fire extinguishers must be replaced every 12 years. If you do not know whether you have a rechargeable or disposable fire extinguisher, you can tell just by looking at the head.
A rechargeable fire extinguisher has a metal head with a gauge that reads charge/recharge, while a disposable extinguisher has a plastic head with a gauge that reads full/empty.
Making sure your fire extinguisher works
There are a few things you can do every month to make sure that your fire extinguisher is working as well as it possibly can. Most fire extinguishers come with a pressure gauge that will let you know the pressure level of the internal contents.
If the gauge level falls too low, which is easy to know because the needle will fall out of the green zone, you will know it is time to replace your extinguisher. Also, a lot of extinguishers have an inspection tag or sticker that will tell you the maintenance and service history of your extinguisher.
If you have an extinguisher that has not been recently looked at, it should be inspected and maybe even replaced. If your extinguisher is missing either a pressure gauge or an inspection tag, you should have it inspected or replaced too because without either of those things, it is nearly impossible to know whether or not your extinguisher will work or not.
Also, if you take a look at your fire extinguisher and see any loose parts or damaged goods, it is just safer to throw it out and find a new replacement.
Unused fire extinguishers
If you have had a fire extinguisher in your house or building for over 15 years, more likely than not it has expired and needs to be replaced. If you are not sure how old your extinguisher is or when you got it, one place to check is the bottom of the extinguisher or on its label for a manufacturer date.
That way you will have an idea of just how old your extinguisher is and whether or not it needs to be replaced. Again, you do not want to have an emergency and have your fire extinguisher let you down. There are steps for you to take to avoid that and it would be wise if you did.