Maintenance for Fire Extinguishers: Recharging Canisters

Fire extinguishers are an incredibly important part of fire safety. However, did you know they need regular maintenance? Just like you change the oil on your car and fill up the gas tank, your extinguishers need service to help keep them in good condition and ready to help extinguish incipient fires. One important part of fire extinguisher maintenance is recharging, which is where we refill the canister with an extinguishing agent and re-pressurize it to help it discharge properly in an emergency. 

When Do I Need to Recharge My Building’s Fire Extinguishers?

Now, if your extinguishers are empty because you recently used them, you probably realize you need them recharged. However, it’s not always so simple to determine when to recharge your extinguishers. For instance, you should recharge if:

  • The extinguisher was fully or partially discharged for any reason
  • The gauge reads low pressure
  • As required by fire authorities
fire extinguishers
Make sure you recharge your fire extinguishers as part of your fire suppression system maintenance.

You might not realize, but even if you accidentally discharge just a little bit of an extinguisher, you need the whole thing recharged. The reason is that any amount of extinguisher discharge can cause leaks or pressure issues. That’s why you need them recharged by a professional even after momentary or accidental use.

Also, during your monthly inspections, you should always check the pressure gauge. If the needle on the gauge isn’t in the green, then it’s time for a recharge. If the gauge is low, that means the pressure in the canister is lower than recommended, which might cause it to malfunction if you try to use it. 

In addition, most fire authorities require regular recharging at certain time intervals. This depends on your local fire codes as well as the type of fire extinguishers you have. The NFPA recommends recharging every six years for ABC extinguishers, which are the most common types of extinguishers. 

Are All Extinguishers Rechargeable?

Keep in mind that some extinguishers are rechargeable and some are disposable, meaning you use them once and then replace them. Rechargeable extinguishers usually have a metal handle, a pressure gauge that reads “undercharged” and “overcharged,” and will be labelled as rechargeable. 

However, even if your extinguishers are rechargeable, sometimes you may need to replace them instead. For instance, if there’s any damage to the extinguisher, such as canister dents, cracks in the hose, or other issues. Also, if the extinguisher loses pressure on its own frequently, it may be safest to simply replace it. Finally, in some cases it’s just more economical to replace than recharge, so check the prices with your fire equipment specialists to find the right solution for you. 

Recharging Extinguishers is Essential for Houston Fire Suppression

Your building’s extinguishers are incredibly important to your overall Houston fire suppression systems. They help put out small fires in their beginning stages to help reduce the risk to people and property. People can often use an extinguisher to stop a fire before it even gets big enough to initiate other suppression systems. So, you want to make sure extinguishers are in good condition at all times. After all, you never know when a fire will break out. 

Recharging extinguishers can help you not only stay compliant with fire codes, but also give you peace of mind that they’re ready and functional during an emergency. Fire equipment specialists can help you design an extinguisher service schedule based on local laws and your building’s fire risks.

Lifesafety Solutions from Wilson Fire Equipment

Our team at Wilson Fire Equipment offers advanced lifesafety solutions for a wide range of industries. Whether you need a new fire safety system designed or need high quality service for your lifesafety systems, we’re here for you. We’ve been helping protect people and property since 1916. We pride ourselves on being one of Houston’s leading fire, lifesafety, and security companies. Call us now at (713) 896-4747 for more information and a free quote for your needs.