Old fire extinguishers good?
July 1, 2012 5:48 AM   Subscribe

Can old fire extinguishers be good or tested and refilled again?

I have 2 old ones that are filled with ABC dry chemical and the pressure gauge shows them to be good. The date on the last inspection tag is from the year 2000. Could they still be good now?
posted by boby to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Heck yes: in fact, they look like the same brand as the ones I have at work! Just call an inspector, if it's necessary they can tell you where to get them refilled.
posted by easily confused at 5:52 AM on July 1, 2012

We have fire extinguishers from the '80s at work that are hanging on the wall and get re-tested periodically. I've used one of them once around 2002 when it was at least 20 years old (and probably never been recharged), and we took it to get reloaded. Fire extinguishers last forever. Practically every city has a business that checks and reloads them as necessary.
posted by randomkeystrike at 6:11 AM on July 1, 2012

just looked at picture. Yep, those are of a modern design, very similar to what we have. If you bought brand new ones they probably wouldn't be much different.

I can't remember how long between inspections. If you are using them in a commercial setting where the fire department requires that they be present, I think their last inspection date is long enough ago that they'd require reinspection. Your first call in that case is to your local fire department's Fire Marshall office to find out their requirements.

If you're just keeping them at your own house and the pressure gauge is still in the green, honestly I'd just hang them up and be confident they'd work as long as the gauge stays where it is.
posted by randomkeystrike at 6:14 AM on July 1, 2012

randomonkeystrike: at least here in Virginia, an annual inspection is required for all commercial settings (although the bunch I work for check the gauge levels & sign off on them monthly, unbelieveably enough).

boby: usually there's a cardboard tag hanging on them where the inspector signs; I don't see any on your extinguishers, but that little gold sticker looks like it might have info you can call.
posted by easily confused at 6:23 AM on July 1, 2012

Check the laws in your locality, some require yearly tests and recharges for fire extinguishers. These checks should be done regardless of what the valve gauges say. The service is usually pretty affordable or sometimes it's done for free.

Believe me, you want to know definitively your extinguisher is going to work.
posted by kuppajava at 6:48 AM on July 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Where I work we get ours tested once a year. Last time the tester said 2 were no longer good. "What do we do with them?" "go outside and use empty them."

I have to admit it was fun.
posted by Max Power at 6:59 AM on July 1, 2012

Your dry chem extinguishers, yes.
I have a Halon extinguisher that I bought back in the 80's that absolutely no-one near me will even touch, let alone refill.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:35 AM on July 1, 2012

These 2 extinguishers are to be used in my home. The inspection tag has the name of a company that isn't in business anymore. These aren't my only extinguishers but they are larger than my newer ones. I'll keep them as backup. Thanks for all the advice.
posted by boby at 7:36 AM on July 1, 2012

At work, we have ours looked at monthly (in the green, tamper deal still on, no obvious damage).

Anually, I think they discharge and refill them. I'm not sure that's required, but it's nice to know the gage needle isn't just stuck in the middle of the green.

I'm sure there are businesses around that will inspect it for you. Better yet, you can probably subscribe to the service and let them keep track of when it needs doing. Usually then, you don't own the specific bottle, you subscribe to a working bottle in that location. So if it goes bad, they put a new one there for you at no cost.
posted by ctmf at 11:38 AM on July 1, 2012

You should shake dry powder extinguishers every so often (e.g. as part of your monthly fire extinguisher checks) to make sure the powder hasn't caked. Otherwise, if the pressure gauge shows they're still in a good range and the nozzle isn't obviously seized or clogged or anything, you're probably ok. But yeah, get them checked, they're probably due a hydraulic pressure test (can't remember if that's every 5 or 10 years, tbh, and that's only actually required for commercial settings).
posted by Lebannen at 12:01 PM on July 1, 2012

« Older It's a porcine emergency!   |   What can I do to improve my OKC Profile? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.