How long do fire extinguishers last?

When was the last time you maintained your fire extinguishers? Do you even remember when you bought or replaced them? For most people, knowing when to replace fire extinguishers is a problem. We understand how important they are in keeping our homes and offices safe. The problem is that not most of us are familiar with the basic upkeep of fire extinguishers, let alone how long they last.  

In order to work efficiently, fire extinguishers should be in excellent condition. No one knows when a fire will break out! Fire extinguishers need to be inspected every year and recharged periodically so that they can do their job when necessary.  

Do Fire Extinguishers Expire?  
You may be surprised to find out that fire extinguishers have an expiration date. Fire extinguishers expire because some of its contents can leak after a while. The expiration date of a fire extinguisher is calculated from the manufacture date, and it indicates when the extinguisher should be refilled.  

Most fire extinguishers have a duration of five years. After the five years, you should take the cylinder for a refill. Regarding C02 fire extinguishers, these have a longer duration of ten years. A good rule to follow is to inspect and maintain your fire extinguisher every year.  

Do Manufacturers Write Expiration Dates on Fire Extinguishers?  
Yes, they do! If you examine the fire extinguisher’s body, you should see an expiration date stamped on it. If it’s not there, look for a printed label with both the manufacture dates and expiration dates. This date could be hidden by the plastic ring, which is located on the neck of the cylinder. If the cylinder is very old, the label may even be faded. If you are unsure about the expiry date of your fire extinguisher, always check the dates on the cylinders.  

How Long Do Fire Extinguishers Last?  
The lifespan for most fire extinguishers is 5 to 15 years. It’s important to know what type of fire extinguisher you have because if it’s the C02 type, that can go for 10 years without being refilled. The ordinary household models should be refilled after every 6 years.  

The lifespan mentioned above only applies to a fire extinguisher in excellent working condition. Some factors indicate a need for a replacement fire extinguisher. For instance, if there is no record of a manufacture date or any maintenance, you can’t be sure how long that fire extinguisher has been hanging on that wall. That’s a sure sign you should replace it! Secondly, if the structure of the extinguisher is compromised, such as broken handles or a cracked nozzle. It would be best to service or replace the fire extinguisher right away.  

When Should I Replace a Fire Extinguisher?  
Our previous article gives you some good guidelines about when to replace your fire extinguisher. One other thing to be conscious of is the pressure of your fire extinguisher. Without pressure, your fire extinguisher won’t be of much help when a fire breaks out. How do you know if your fire extinguisher has no pressure? You can measure pressure using a pressure gauge during regularly scheduled maintenance.  

If you take proper care of a fire extinguisher, it should keep you safe for the next 5 to 15 years. The first step towards fire extinguisher maintenance is knowing how long it lasts. In case you don’t see an expiration date, don’t live with uncertainty. Replace/refill the cylinder immediately and take note of the new dates.

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