Fire Extinguishers: Refill or Replace?
Today we are going to help you answer some questions you may have about your fire extinguisher and the general maintenance of it in terms of keeping it charged up and ready for future fires.
We've found that sometimes people have some confusion about what to do with a damaged, used, or old fire extinguisher. Today we will answer those commonly asked questions. Let’s get into it.
What is the difference between refilling and recharging a fire extinguisher?
A refill refers to adding agent to an extinguisher. A recharge refers to adding pressure to an extinguisher.
This can cause some confusion, because if an extinguisher is refilled it will also be recharged, but if it is recharged it is not necessarily refilled.
Let's break that down. If you get your fire extinguisher refilled, the unit has to be opened so that more agent can be added. Once the unit is opened, all the existing pressure is released, so the extinguisher must be re-pressurized (or recharged).
Now, if your extinguisher has a slow leak, you may not be losing agent. You may simply be losing pressure. In those instances, you need your extinguisher to be recharged but not refilled.
How do you know if your fire extinguisher has low pressure or not? Check the gauge. And, check it regularly.
It is important to note here that not all fire extinguishers are rechargeable. Make sure you understand if your extinguishers are disposable or rechargeable as not all units are the same.
When should I refill my fire extinguisher?
In commercial settings where regular inspections are required, the National Fire Protection Association requires that fire extinguishers are hydrotested every 6 years and serviced properly month to month. The idea here is to prevent the powder in the extinguisher from clumping. So, whether you use your extinguisher or not in those 6 years is irrelevant -- it needs to be replaced or professionally serviced.
In regards to our STOP-FYRE® extinguishers, we use a proprietary blend of fire suppression gasses. So, they are not powder based, which means they don’t have this same issues. Our extinguishers last a lifetime with no monthly or yearly maintenance required. If you don’t use our extinguishers in 10 years, no problem. They are guaranteed for life. No replacement or servicing required.
Refill after using
It is never a good idea to protect your home, business, farm, family, vehicle, etc. with a partially-used fire extinguisher. Yes, our STOP-FYRE® fire extinguishers are multi-use, meaning they are still effective even if they are not “full”; however, we always recommend that fire extinguishers be refilled immediately after use even if only a small amount of agent was used. We never know how big our next fires will be, so it is wise to always be prepared with fully charged, fully filled units.
For many powder extinguishers, this is a nonnegotiable. The releasing of even the tiniest amount of powder for a dry chemical fire extinguisher can cause the diptube to become clogged with dried powder, which can cause pressure leaks, making it ineffective in the future. So, if you have a powder extinguisher, it is imperative you get your unit serviced after each use. That way you can have a working unit ready in case of a future fire.
Where can I refill my fire extinguisher?
The best place to take your fire extinguisher is the place where you purchased it from if it is a certified fire extinguisher company. Here at AKE, we like to make it simple for you to get a refill. Simply fill out this form and we will pick it up and refill it for you. The process is simple. We send you a call tag, you set it out for pick-up, and we pick it up and do the rest. No hassle and no shipping fees for you. If you have questions, give us a call (1-800-586-1639) and chat with our customer service representative who can walk you through the process.
Now, we realize that many people nowadays buy their fire extinguishers on Amazon and often run into some kind of “no return” policy. If this is the case, you may be able to take your unit to a local fire department. Some fire departments offer recharging services; however, you’ll need to check with your local fire department to know for certain. On the other hand, it may be time for you to replace your unit altogether.
When should I replace my fire extinguisher?
If you ever find that your handheld unit is damaged in some way, it’s best to get that replaced immediately.
We sell a lot of fire extinguishers to farmers, and strange things can happen on a farm. We’ve gotten extinguishers shipped back to us that have been chewed on by squirrels, driven over by tractors, corroded by pig feces and the list goes on. We love getting these units back so that we can reverse engineer our STOP-FYRE® extinguishers to make them more and more indestructible, so you can be safe no matter the circumstance. With our Lifetime No-Hassle Guarantee™, you can send us your damaged handheld units and get them replaced quickly and easily.
If you find you need a larger unit to protect what you have, it may also be the right time to replace your unit. Again, you never know how big your next fire will be, so we always recommend our High Capacity unit for greater peace-of-mind.
Other Reasons to Replace a Fire Extinguisher
- The nose or nozzle is broken or damaged
- The pin in the handle is missing or broken
- The handle is wobbly
- The unit is cracked or damaged
- The inspection tag is missing (Important for businesses)
- The gauge is in the red (No pressure)
We want you to stay safe and to be able to effectively protect all the things you worked hard for. With the right fire fighting tool you can do just that. We would love for you to shop our products because we believe we have the most effective fire extinguisher on the market; however, no matter what kind of fire extinguisher you have, we are grateful that you take fire safety seriously.
Stay safe out there!