What Happens if a Fire Extinguisher Is Overcharged?

Unless you’ve longed to live in an explosion-filled action movie—and we seriously don’t recommend it—overcharged fire extinguishers in Lawrenceville, GA should be avoided at all costs. Many people don’t understand the importance of making sure their fire extinguisher’s pressure gauge hovers in the “optimal” range. If the pressure is too low, it won’t work when you need it most, but if it’s overcharged, you could be dealing with another type of issue entirely.

Consequences of overcharged fire extinguishers

What happens when you have an overcharged fire extinguisher in Lawrenceville, GA? It depends on the type you’re using:

  • Carbon dioxide: If your CO2 extinguisher is overfilled, it might rupture a part called the “burst disc” and release the CO2 inside. You probably won’t experience a forceful explosion, but if it happens when you’re indoors or in another enclosed space, it poses a suffocation risk. You’ll also need to replace the burst disc (and potentially the valve itself) after a CO2 explosion.
  • Water extinguishers and compressed air: If your fire extinguisher uses compressed air and water, it’s far less likely to cause any real damage—it will likely damage the relief valve, and when the pressure is normalized, a safety valve will activate. Since compressed air isn’t harmful to breathe, that should be the extent of the damage.
  • Nitrogen: Dry chemical extinguishers that use pressurized nitrogen are prone to blowing the relief valve when pressurized. Because nitrogen displaces oxygen, it also presents a suffocation risk in enclosed spaces.

The worst-case scenario is that if the safety valves are damaged or tampered with, they won’t be able to relieve the pressure, and the entire cylinder can explode.

How fire extinguisher inspections are performed

You can perform your own monthly fire extinguisher checks by taking a few steps. First, make sure the extinguishers are accessible—they should be distributed in areas that are fire prone, easy to reach and don’t require extra steps to retrieve and use. Ask your fire protection company for advice about number and placement.

Next, look at the extinguisher itself. Do you notice signs of damage or corrosion? Can you still read the service tag, serial number and any labels? Are there cracks or leaks in the hose, nozzle or valves?

Third—and most important if you’re hoping to avoid explosions—check the pressure gauge. The indicator needle needs to be in the green “optimal” range to ensure the device will work when you need it to. If it’s over- or undercharged, call a fire protection professional to remedy the situation.

Finally, check the inspection tag to see when it was last checked, and decide whether the extinguisher needs professional attention.

Service or replace overcharged fire extinguishers in Lawrenceville, GA

The team at AAA Fire Protection Resources, Inc. has been providing quality fire extinguisher inspections to commercial clients across Georgia since 1981. When you need fire equipment inspections, service and repair, you can trust us to deliver results. We specialize in on-site inspections and recharging—call us today to get started.

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