How to Dispose of Fire Extinguisher

It requires a lot of effort to keep your home or company secure from fire. This includes placing emergency fire extinguishers strategically throughout your building. But what happens when your fire extinguishers are no longer effective? Do you know how to detect and what to do with a fire extinguisher that has expired?

How Can I Safely Dispose of a Fire Extinguisher?

Because hazardous compounds under high pressure are contained in a fire extinguisher, disposing of them is not as straightforward as getting rid of other household items.

As a result, they must not be thrown away in ordinary garbage. Continue reading to understand when outdated fire extinguishers should be changed and how to properly and securely dispose of a fire extinguisher.

1. Recharge the Fire Extinguisher

Keep in mind that certain fire extinguishers may be refilled as you consider what to do with outdated fire extinguishers. If the pressure in your cylinder has fallen or it has been drained, recharging it will make it safe to use again.

Due to the highly pressurized contents, you should not try to recharge an extinguisher on your own. Recharging a fire extinguisher necessitates specialized equipment, so this is a job best left to the professionals. Make an appointment to get your extinguisher recharged with a fire protection business or a licensed fire equipment dealer.

2. Recycle Empty Fire Extinguishers

If the canister is empty and you’re wondering how to dispose of old extinguishers, recycling them is a great option. Because of the toxic components they contain, filled fire extinguishers cannot be recycled.

These dangerous compounds, on the other hand, are no longer a problem once they’re empty. You might be able to dispose of the fire extinguisher with your regular recycling.

Confirm with your recycling provider that empty fire extinguishers will be recycled. If they won’t take them with the ordinary trash, inquire about dropping off the used fire extinguisher at a nearby recycling facility.

3. Used or Old Fire Extinguishers May Be Accepted by Your Local Fire Service.

For individuals who are wondering, “How do you dispose of fire extinguishers?” Giving used or old fire extinguishers to the fire service may be a practical option. Contact your local fire station if your extinguishers have not been emptied, rather than attempting to discharge and recycle them yourself.

Residents can leave expired, broken, or otherwise useless fire extinguishers at some fire stations. They will dispose of the hazardous items within the canister properly and recycle the remainder of the contents.

4. Take Your Old Fire Extinguishers to a Local Hazardous Waste Site.

Taking a fire extinguisher to a toxic waste disposal center in your area is another effective alternative for fire extinguisher disposal. If you’re not sure where and how to get rid of used fire extinguishers in your area, google “where to dispose of used fire extinguishers near me.” Additionally, your city or county government’s website may have information regarding their hazardous waste management services and drop-off sites.

After you’ve found your local hazardous waste site, call to check if they handle fire extinguishers, whether there’s a restriction on how many you can bring, and whether these items are only accepted on particular days. There may be additional protocols to follow if you’re disposing of fire extinguishers on behalf of a business.

5. Take Your Tanks to a Scrap Metal Yard If You Run Out Of Options

If you find it hard to locate a helium tank recycling facility near you, your best option is to take it to a scrap metal yard. Most scrap yards will accept empty helium tanks, but phone ahead to be sure yours will be accepted before bringing it in. 

Once it gets into their hands, they know the proper way to dispose of it.

There are many hazardous wastes you can take to a scrap metal yard. You may want to see How to Dispose of Helium Tanks.

Frequently Asked Questions for Fire Extinguisher Disposal

Is it possible for old fire extinguishers to explode?

Fire extinguishers are designed to assist in putting out fires and safeguard those who are nearby from danger. However, in some situations, fire extinguishers can inflict injury or bodily damage. A common example is when a fire extinguisher explodes, for example. How does this happen, though?

How Do Fire Extinguishers Get Damaged?

Extinguishers can be damaged in a variety of ways. When employed to battle a fire, this can have an impact on their performance. This can render them unusable or possibly put them in danger of exploding.

A fire extinguisher can be damaged in the following ways:

  • Using an automobile to run over them
  • Falling from a moving vehicle
  • Getting knocked off a wall mount
  • Damage caused by the manufacturer during delivery.
  • Getting hit by debris or equipment (metal poles, furniture, boxes, wood boards, appliances, etc.)
  • If a fire extinguisher is dropped or knocked from its wall mount, check it and, if possible, reinstall another one.

When Should You Replace an Outdated Fire Extinguisher?

Check to see if outdated fire extinguishers need to be replaced before discarding them. Fire extinguishers have a lifespan of 5 to 15 years. You might be able to locate an expiration date or a production date on the cylinder, which can help you figure out how old the fire extinguisher is.

Even if you can’t locate a date, there are many other ways to determine if you should upgrade your old fire extinguisher with a new one. If your extinguisher has any bumps or dents, is missing the tamper seal or the pin, or otherwise appears to be in bad shape, it’s time to replace it right away.

Check that the needle on your old fire extinguisher’s pressure gauge is still pointed to the green region. When the needle on the gauge is pointing to the red or white region, it’s time to recharge or dispose of the fire extinguisher.

Other conditions to pay attention to:

  • Hydrostatic test failure
  • The inspection tag is missing.
  • Handle that is wobbly or broken.
  • Cracked or clogged nozzle
  • The exterior shell has been damaged.
  • Despite not being utilized for a long time, there is a gradual reduction in pressure.

What Makes Fire Extinguishers Burst?

Any sealed container subjected to heat and high pressure can explode. The more solid the container, the more likely it is to burst. Extinguishers are made to withstand heat, so they are unlikely to explode in the event of a fire. They’re also equipped with safety features.

Propane tanks are also other items that can explode if handled improperly. You might want to see How to Safely Dispose of Propane Tanks.

Is It Possible For A Fire Extinguisher To Explode Due To Heat?

Although the heat is unlikely to cause extinguishers to explode, it can cause them to be damaged and malfunction. If the internal PSI rises too high, the safety release valve will allow them to discharge without exploding. The safety valve will not open if you store a fire extinguisher in a hot automobile (120 degrees or higher).

Is It Possible For A Fire Extinguisher To Explode Due To Freezing?

The freezing of fire extinguishers does not cause them to explode, but it can cause the canister to break or render it ineffective due to the frozen contents.

Because chemical fire extinguishers may include water solutions that cannot be improved by anti-freezing additives, they cannot be guaranteed to withstand freezing. This means that an extinguisher should not be left in the freezer for more than a few hours or days. The container will be strained as the water within expands. If the container is frozen for an extended period of time, the seam may weaken and burst. This is why fire extinguishers include a caution labeled “prevent from freezing.”

If you reside in a cold region, keep your fire extinguishers out of unheated locations like basements, sheds, and garages.

Does Overcharging Fire Extinguishers Cause Any Damage?

When dropped, this could make it more prone to bursting or failing. Excessive pressure on the fire extinguisher could exceed factory limits due to extreme events. Always refer to the extinguisher’s instructions for how much recharging is required. Consult a fire specialist or the manufacturer’s website if you’re unsure. When recharging a fire extinguisher, be careful not to overcharge it.

Is It Possible for a Fire Extinguisher to Explode if it is  Dropped?

Yes, if a fire extinguisher is dropped too far, it can burst, causing damage to everyone nearby. A fire extinguisher should not be thrown or tossed to anyone since it may be dropped or missed. If a fire extinguisher is dropped, it may become weakened to the point of bursting immediately or later.

What Are the Effects of Fire Extinguisher Explosion?

If fire extinguishers burst, there will most likely be a loud and huge explosion. The extinguisher’s parts could fly off and strike anyone nearby. Rather than exploding, fire extinguishers discharge chemicals that can be dangerous to anyone in the house.

Remember not to purchase the cheapest fire extinguisher you can find because it may not be of the highest quality or the correct size for the job. Before purchasing one, take your time and search the internet for the best price on a high-quality extinguisher. In the long term, this will be worthwhile, since it can secure your home and reduce the likelihood of a fire extinguisher exploding.

There are many other items that shouldn’t be thrown in the trash. You may want to see the proper ways to handle other Hazardous Waste Disposal.

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