Do you currently own an old fire extinguisher? You'll want to keep on reading this!
A smoke alarm is the best investment to keep your home safe. Taking this to a higher level means getting a fire extinguisher, an essential part of your home's fire safety plan. You can use them to extinguish small fires or keep them contained until the local firefighters arrive.
Despite its popularity as a piece of fire-fighting equipment, fire extinguishers contain hazardous materials under high pressure. If you have one at home, it's important to know how to use it and properly dispose of it once it has expired.Learn what to do with a fire extinguisher when it expires or becomes damaged so that you can stay safe and dispose of it properly.Click To Tweet
Are You Wondering if Your Old Fire Extinguisher Expires?
Although fire extinguishers typically last 5 to 15 years. Depending on how often you check, some canisters will have a scheduled expiration date. However, this should not be the only factor to consider when determining if the equipment should already be disposed of.
Take a close look at your old fire extinguisher and check for bumps, dents, missing pin and tamper seals, or pressure gauge needles that point to the red or white sections of the equipment. These are signs that the extinguisher should already be thrown away.
Types of Fire Extinguishers
According to a Dallas water damage restoration expert, getting rid of expired fire extinguishers will depend mainly on the type that you have. There are five types of fire extinguishers:
Water extinguishers can usually be recycled, so you can empty the cylinder yourself.
First, drain its contents. Then, remove the head once empty. You can also contact your local government for additional guidelines on proper fire extinguisher disposal. They will help you recycle both the steel cylinder and the head.
If this fire extinguisher type has expired, you need to find out if this has a hard horn. If it doesn't, bring the extinguisher to your local recycling center; do not empty the old fire extinguisher yourself.
The absence of a hard horn means the extinguisher has a strong built-in pressure. Releasing the CO2 inside it may cause the cylinder to shake violently, injuring you and those around you.
On the other hand, if a hard horn exists, you can empty the extinguisher by turning the handle found at the discharge portion. Leave the equipment alone and in an upright position for several days. Take the head off the cylinder and bring the latter to your local recycling center afterward
Although powder fire extinguishers do not cause skin irritation, they are sometimes toxic. You might accidentally inhale the fine-textured powder inside these fire extinguishers if you try to get rid of it on your own.
You can get rid of an expired powder fire extinguisher by bringing it to the local recycling center.
It's safe to empty a foam fire extinguisher on your own, but take caution when doing so. Get rid of its contents, ideally in sewer waste, and avoid spilling them because they are toxic.
After the cylinder has been completely emptied, let it sit for several days before removing the head and taking the extinguisher to your local recycling center.
Opting to empty a foam fire extinguisher at home can be messy, so you need to be careful. Do not pour the foam into your toilet bowl or bathroom sink. This could cause problems in your household plumbing system.
You can also take your extinguisher to a fire extinguisher disposal company and let them handle it.
Wet Chemical Extinguishers
Professionals are the only people who can dispose of expired wet chemical fire extinguishers. Take them to the nearest recycling center, where they will be properly thrown away.
What Do You Do With Expired Fire Extinguishers?
It is still possible to repair some parts or components of an old fire extinguisher if it is still relatively new. For clarification on this, it's best to contact the manufacturer.
On the other hand, fire extinguishers with expiration dates that have already passed should not be simply thrown away. These are dangerous items because of the high-pressure chemicals that they contain.
You can call your local fire department to ask if they accept drop-offs and if they can dispose of your fire extinguisher. Another option is to take the unit to hazardous waste disposal centers.
Every home should have a fire extinguisher as part of its fire prevention plan. However, you shouldn't keep them at home if they are already expired. Doing so can cause serious damage to your property and even put lives at risk. If a fire erupts at home, there is a good chance you'll be a victim of fire damage since your extinguisher is no longer working.
If fire extinguishers have been damaged or expired, they should be disposed of according to the guidelines set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Failure to follow these guidelines can result in fines.