Will a Fire Extinguisher Stay Charged After It’s Been Used?

One of the most common questions we receive from our customers is whether they can expect their fire extinguisher to remain charged after it’s been used once. Here’s a quick overview of what you should know, from the experts at our fire extinguisher service in Lawrenceville, GA.

How it works

To answer this question, you need to have a general sense of how fire extinguishers work. They are able to quickly extinguish fires through the use of pressurized propellants, which are very much like aerosol cans. When you’re using a fire extinguisher, you always use what’s called the PASS method: Pull the ring, Aim the nozzle, Squeeze the handle and use a Sweeping motion to spread the substance across the fire.

As you squeeze the handle of the fire extinguisher, you’ll open up a valve that releases the gas from the canister. Remember, that gas is pressurized, so it will immediately start to expand to fill and push out the agent from the nozzle. That agent varies from extinguisher to extinguisher—it might be carbon dioxide, it might be water or it could be a dry chemical of some sort.

Even a slight discharge of the extinguisher can lower the pressure of the propellant to the point where it could prevent another discharge from occurring in the future, so to answer the question, there is a possibility that the fire extinguisher will no longer be charged after it’s been used, even if it was just a slight spray.

The best way to tell if your fire extinguisher will have sufficient pressure for future discharges is to look at the gauges that are on it. The arrow should be pointing toward the green section on the gauge, which will indicate that it is charged and will work properly when you need to put out a fire.

If you’ve used your fire extinguisher and/or the gauge is no longer pointing toward the green section, it’s important that you have your fire extinguisher serviced, as you never know when you’re going to need it.

Does the age of the extinguisher impact its operation?

Even if you haven’t used your fire extinguisher, you can’t necessarily guarantee that it’s going to work correctly when you need to use it unless you check the gauges. There’s a chance that an older fire extinguisher will no longer be operational.

You should look at the date on which the fire extinguisher was manufactured, which should be labeled somewhere on the canister. You might need the extinguisher to be serviced after five or six years, even if you never used it. If the extinguisher is older than that and you haven’t had it inspected, now would be a good time to make an appointment with a fire extinguisher service in Lawrenceville, GA.

There might also be some required internal maintenance that you need to perform, which can be taken care of by your service professional at your appointment.

Contact AAA Fire Protection Resources, Inc. today for more information about fire extinguisher maintenance.

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