A properly maintained fire extinguisher has the potential to last up to 20 years or more. But in some cases, it is safer and more cost-effective to simply replace the unit rather than continue servicing it, especially if it has not been properly maintained over the years or has seen better days.
Business owners are required to have their portable fire extinguishers professionally inspected once per year. They are also required to perform internal maintenance every 5,6, or 12 years depending on the equipment type. A fire protection professional will be able to easily recognize the signs that it’s time for a fire extinguisher replacement.
Here are some of the signs that it is time to replace your portable fire extinguishers:
- Damage to the Cylinder including visible signs of physical damage, such as dents, corrosion, or leakage.
- If the instructions for operating the extinguisher can no longer be read, the unit needs to be replaced.
- Excessive Damage to the Components including broken or loose handles, damaged hoses, etc.
- A humid or corrosive environment can lead to rust, which in turn can cause important components to break, become inoperable, or worse lead to serious safety issues such as cylinder rupture.
- If your fire extinguisher fails a hydrostatic test performed by a fire protection professional, the unit will need to be condemned. Hydrostatic testing measures the integrity of the fire extinguisher’s cylinder, which is under constant pressure.
- Over time, a fire extinguisher can become obsolete. If you know or suspect that your fire extinguisher is old and you’re not sure when it was last inspected, have a fire protection professional take a look.
- Fire extinguishers protect against specific hazards. Over time these hazards may change, requiring a reevaluation of protection and the replacement of current fire protection equipment. The replacement should be an extinguisher that is appropriate for the new hazard potential.
Even the most well-maintained fire extinguishers will deteriorate to an unsafe condition eventually. Make sure you have your fire extinguishers checked on an annual basis to ensure your safety in the event of a fire. Call Reliable Fire & Security at 708.597.4600 to schedule your inspection or stop by our will call for service. Visit us on the web at www.reliablefire.com for our location, hours, and complete list of services.