When you’ve used a fire extinguisher on a fire, even if only for a brief moment, it will need recharging. An extinguisher can also need refilling once the contents have reached a certain age.
Foam, powder and water extinguishers need discharge testing every five years so need to be refilled after. CO2 extinguishers is every ten years.
Making sure the extinguisher is always full of the correct agent and kept in good working order, is of high importance. Refilling an extinguisher when needed is the best way ensuring it will work when you need to use it.
But is it possible to do this yourself?
Leave It To The Professionals
There are many reasons for why you shouldn’t attempt to refill an extinguisher yourself.
The main reason is that work carried out by an unqualified professional means the extinguisher is no longer compliant with British Standards. That could then mean your business no longer has sufficient levels of fire protection.
You also need specialised equipment to correctly refill an extinguisher.
As you can imagine, this is expensive and only carried by fire extinguisher service engineers.
It can also be dangerous to take apart an extinguisher yourself. Because they are highly pressurised, you could find that you have handles and all sorts fly off at you.
Plus the extinguishing agent inside of some can be quite dangerous to people and the environment. As a result, they will always need disposing of appropriately.
To Refill Or To Replace?
That is the question…
If the canister remains in good condition then, in theory, an extinguisher can last a lifetime, as long as the contents get replaced.
But because of the work and equipment needed to refill an extinguisher, it isn’t always a financially viable option.
The older an extinguisher gets, the more it will cost to do this.
As a result, it’s often cheaper to replace the whole extinguisher when the extinguishing agent needs replacing.
This way, you always know that the extinguisher will be there to protect everyone should a fire break out.
Just ensure that any extinguishers you replace are responsibly disposed of.