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How Long Should a Portable Fire Extinguisher Last?

Anyone who runs a business understands how important it is to have a properly maintained fire extinguisher in case of a fire. If you never have to use them, you may have them for years. So, how long do these portable fire extinguishers actually last?

There are a few common issues that you may have with a fire extinguisher, including:

  1. The seal around its neck will weaken over the course of time. This allows for compressed air to escape, thus lowering the pressure so that it may not be able to dispense the fluid properly.
  2. The powder within dry chemical fire extinguishers will settle on the bottom where it becomes packed down. If this were to happen you’ll want to have a professional empty and recharge your fire extinguisher for you instead of purchasing a new one.
  3. Whenever you’re concerned about your fire extinguisher’s integrity be on the lookout for problems with the hose, a missing safety pin, a broken handle or the lack of a current inspection tag.

Eventually you’ll want to properly dispose of a fire extinguisher. Unfortunately, you can’t just throw it in the trash. What you actually do with it will depend upon whether or not it’s empty.

  1. Whenever your fire extinguisher isn’t empty you’ll want to call to get a new one and ask about hazardous waste disposal.
  2. Whenever your fire extinguisher is empty, squeeze the lever to make sure that it really is empty then take its head off to show whomever disposes of it that it really is empty. You can take the steel body to a recycling plant.

With the proper care and maintenance it’s possible for your fire extinguisher to last for 10 — 12 years. Make sure to have it pressure tested at least once a year.