How to Dispose of Old Fire Extinguishers

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old fire extinguisher disposal

If you have an old fire extinguisher in your home, it’s important to dispose of it properly. Fire extinguishers over ten years old are less likely to work correctly, so replacing them with a newer model is important. 

But what do you do with the old fire extinguisher? After all, they aren’t as easy to dispose of as other fire suppressants like blankets.

This article will walk you through the best and safest ways to dispose of old fire extinguishers! 

Do Fire Extinguishers Expire?

Yes, they do. But there are five main fire extinguisher types, each with a different expiration date. So it’s important to know which type you have at home or work.

Foam Fire Extinguishers

Foam fire extinguishers are a type of fire extinguisher that uses a foaming agent to smother and extinguish fires. They are most effective on Class A and B fires involving combustible materials such as wood, paper, and flammable liquids. Foam fire extinguishers should be replaced every five years or sooner.

CO2 Fire Extinguishers

CO2 fire extinguishers are common fire extinguishers that can be used on Class B and Class C fires. CO2 extinguishers work by displacing the oxygen in the air, which smothers the fire. CO2 extinguishers should be replaced every five years or as specified by the manufacturer.

Wet Chemical Fire Extinguishers

Wet chemical fire extinguishers are designed to put out Class A, B, and C fires. They work by cooling the fire and creating a barrier between the fuel and the oxygen. Wet chemical extinguishers should be replaced every six years.

Dry Chemical Fire Extinguishers

Dry chemical fire extinguishers use a powder to smother and extinguish fires. They are effective on Class A, B, and C fires and are the most common type of fire extinguisher. However, dry chemical extinguishers have a shorter expiration date than pressurized water extinguishers. They should be replaced every five years or so.

Pressurized Water Fire Extinguishers

Pressurized water fire extinguishers use a stream of water to put out fires. They are effective on Class A fires but not on Class B, or C. Pressurized water extinguishers have a longer expiration date than dry chemical extinguishers and should be replaced every ten years.

What to Do with Old Fire Extinguishers

When it comes to figuring out what to do with old fire extinguishers, you have a few different options:

  • Simply dispose of it. Most cities have designated collection points for hazardous materials, and fire extinguishers fall into this category. However, this option doesn’t consider the potentially valuable metal that fire extinguishers are made of.
  • Recycle the extinguisher. Many recycling centers will accept metal objects like fire extinguishers. This is a great option if you want to ensure that the materials are put to good use.

Disposing of a Fire Extinguisher the Right Way

It is important to know how to properly dispose of an extinguisher when it’s no longer usable. Here’s how it’s done: 

  1. Remove the pressure gauge and depressurize the extinguisher. 
  2. Remove the hose and nozzle assembly, and then unscrew the valve cap. 
  3. Once the valve is accessible, disconnect the cylinder from the valve. 
  4. At this point, the cylinder can be recycled – but check with your local recycling center to see if they accept fire extinguishers. 

The rest of the extinguisher – including the valve, hose, and nozzle – should be disposed of as hazardous waste. By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your old fire extinguisher is appropriately disposed of and doesn’t end up in a landfill.

How to Find a Fire Extinguisher Disposal or Recycling Site

If you have an old or unused fire extinguisher, you may wonder how to dispose of it. The good news is that there are many options for fire extinguisher disposal and recycling. These include:

  • Take the extinguisher to a local hazardous waste disposal site. Many municipalities operate these sites designed to safely dispose of hazardous materials. 
  • Contact a fire extinguisher service company. These companies typically offer pick-up and recycling services for old fire extinguishers. 
  • Take advantage of fire extinguisher recycling programs offered by hardware and home improvement stores. Before disposing of your fire extinguisher, check with your local municipality or hardware store to see what options are available in your area.

How Often Do Fire Extinguishers Need to be Inspected?

Most fire extinguishers need to be inspected at least once a year. However, some types of extinguishers may need to be inspected more often. For example, extinguishers in highly corrosive environments may need to be inspected more frequently.

It’s also important to perform regular maintenance on fire extinguishers. This includes checking the pressure gauge and ensuring the extinguisher is properly charged. If you notice any problems with your fire extinguisher, it’s important to have it serviced by a professional. The last thing you want is the unit failing or even exploding..