Should You Recharge, Repair, Or Replace Your Fire Extinguisher?
Fire extinguishers are a necessary safety device for every household. They do require maintenance, so it's important to know where it is time to recharge, repair, or replace the device.
Your fire extinguisher should have an inspection tag on it. This tag tells you when the last inspection and recharging occurred, and when the next one is due. If the inspection date is due or if the tag is missing, then the fire extinguisher needs an immediate inspection and recharge.
Age can also mean it is time to replace a fire extinguisher. Every fire extinguisher should have an expiration date printed on it by the National Fire Protection Association. If your extinguisher is approaching that date, then it is time for a full replacement.
If you have recently used your fire extinguisher, even just to spray a small amount for a little fire, you need to have it fully recharged. You don't want to be caught short in the event of a larger fire in the future.
You may also need to consider replacement if you used the fire extinguisher and it didn't operate properly or discharge as expected. In some cases, you may need to replace it after use simply because you realize that the extinguisher is not sized properly to your needs.
An extinguisher that is rarely used may end up with some missing parts when you do pull it out of storage. Common parts that can turn up missing include the safety pin that prevents accidental discharge, the nozzle hose, and even parts of the trigger. Certain parts, like the pin and hose nozzle, can usually be replaced when you take the extinguisher in for recharging.
If the extinguisher is missing multiple parts, or if the parts aren't simple to replace, then it is better to get a new extinguisher than hope the damaged one functions properly. Look for a well-rated model that is less likely to suffer the same problems.
Hoses, which are made of rubber, can crack over time. A cracked hose means that the extinguisher will not work properly.
In some designs, it is possible to replace the hose, particularly for larger and higher rated extinguishers, but for most household extinguishers, a cracked hose indicates that it is time to replace it.
There is one instance when repair is never possible — rust and corrosion. If the outside of the extinguisher shows any signs of rust or corrosion, then the only option is to replace the device.
Contact a fire extinguisher recharging service for more assistance or more information about fire extinguisher services.