Preventive Fire

When to Recharge vs. Replace Your Company’s Fire Extinguishers

A fire extinguisher is an essential tool for fire protection in your business. However, in order to rely on these devices when a fire does break out, you’ll need to keep them inspected and updated. In some cases, maintaining a fire extinguisher simply means having it recharged, but you’ll also have to replace it when necessary. 

Knowing the difference will help you protect your business more effectively.  

When Can You Recharge Your Fire Extinguishers?

Recharging a fire extinguisher is often the preferred option because it’s less costly and time-consuming than buying new extinguishers for your business. While this isn’t always feasible, there are times when recharging your extinguishers is a possibility.

The Extinguisher Has an Undamaged Canister

A visual inspection of your fire extinguisher can tell you if it needs replacing. If the canister is in good condition, you can simply recharge it. In fact, recharging a unit with a solid canister is a more eco-friendly option because it will prevent good materials from getting deposited in landfills.

You Have Rarely Used the Extinguisher

Just as you’ll have a set routine for replacing the batteries in your fire alarms, you’ll also need to set up a schedule for recharging your fire extinguishers. If the unit was never used, it will only need an inspection. However, discharging a small amount of the contents means you’ll have to have the extinguisher recharged.

The Extinguisher Is Old

It’s entirely possible — and very common — to have a fire extinguisher for years without ever having a need to use it. In this case, you’ll only need to keep up with the regular inspections of the unit. However, the contents of a fire extinguisher can degrade over a long period of time. For this reason, recharging it every 10 years is essential.

When Must You Replace Your Fire Extinguishers?

There are times when you will need to replace your business’ fire extinguishers. Failing to do so could put your assets, employees, and customers at risk. Here are a few times when it’s crucial to replace your extinguishers.

You Discover Damaged Components

In every fire protection system, including marine fire protection systems, watching for damage is key. Although the fire extinguisher canister may be in good condition,  Inner components may rust or become loose. 

Test the handle by trying to shake it lightly. If it jiggles or the holding pin is missing, you should replace the unit. Any damage could interfere with the extinguisher’s operation.

There’s a Damaged or Missing Inspection Tag

Every part of a fire protection system, including commercial kitchen fire systems, will have an inspection tag. This is a label that’s used to record the details for each inspection. 

If the tag is unreadable or missing, you won’t have any record of the unit’s inspection history. When it comes to fire extinguishers, this could mean you have a faulty extinguisher without knowing it.

You Can’t Recharge the Unit

Some fire extinguishers are specifically designed for single-use purposes. These units have canisters designed to prevent recharging. If you have this type of fire extinguisher, make sure to replace it after you have used it. If you have never needed to use it, you should replace it after a 12-year period.

Keep Up with Fire Extinguisher Inspections

As a general rule, fire extinguishers should undergo annual inspections. The exception to this practice would be brand-new extinguishers, which won’t need an inspection for the first 12 months of ownership. 

After that first year, it’s good practice to start yearly inspections. This will help you keep track of the extinguisher’s age and condition, so you’ll know when to recharge or replace the unit. 

With regular fire extinguisher inspections, you can help keep your business safe. To learn more about fire extinguisher safety or find top-quality fire equipment for your company in Florida, contact Preventive Fire today.