Fire extinguisher recharge is necessary after it has been used. It has been established that fire extinguishers can only be used once, and after that it should be replaced on recharged.
Fire extinguisher recharge being more economical has been the option picked by most fire extinguisher users.
Fire extinguisher recharge involves refilling the extinguisher with it agent which was detonated during use.
Note that, this recharge is majorly carried out during fire extinguisher service.
In this article I will explain nine (9) simple steps to carry out fire extinguisher recharge.
When To Do Fire Extinguisher Recharge
- Once a fire extinguisher has been used (no matter how small the amount) it is important to have it recharged right away in order to keep it operational at all times and avoid potential tragedy.
- Fire extinguishers needs to be recharged periodically, even if they haven’t been used. Both the NFPA 10 code standard for portable fire extinguishers and manufacturer’s service guidelines require periodic internal examination and recharging. For the most commonly used stored pressure dry chemical fire extinguishers, this internal examination and recharging is required at six and twelve years from the date of manufacture noted on the extinguisher.
- Extinguishers can also need to be internally examined and recharged due to damage or other environmental factors that may result in them becoming depressurized.
How To Recharge The Fire Extinguisher
Here are the steps to follow to do fire extinguisher recharge.
- Make sure you have a fire extinguisher recharge equipment: This is the first thing to consider before you plan on recharging a fire extinguisher. These items are – The pressurizing machine, screws and the refill material (Chemical), etc.
- Unscrew the head of the fire extinguisher: Grab the fire extinguisher firmly by the head, the piece that sticks out of the spherical container’s top with the nozzle and gauge. Twist the extinguisher’s head firmly to the left to unscrew it.
- Cleaning and Checking: Cleaning and checking the various parts of the extinguisher is a very important step before recharging. This includes cleaning the outside of the cylinder, also called the bottle, the hose and squeeze lever. Make sure that the tubing, hose, nozzle, “O” ring, which seals the bottle shut, and stripping of the seal are all intact. If they show any sign of significant wear and tear, are weak and brittle or are clogged, they should be replaced. During this cleaning, the discharge valve is removed from the cylinder, the siphon tube is also removed from the valve with the valve stem and spring. This is to ensure proper checks and cleaning.
- De-pressurized the fire extinguisher: Completely depressurized the extinguisher and remove the agent from the cylinder.
- Refill the extinguisher agent: The extinguishing agent (water, carbon dioxide, dry chemical, etc.) is refilled by weight to the appropriate amount for the size of the unit and as specified in the recharging instructions for that unit. To avoid spillage, insert a funnel through the opening that the extinguisher head left behind after removing it, before pouring in the extinguishing agent. If you are not sure how much of the extinguishing agent to add, contact the manufacturer for specific instructions.
- Re-pressurize the fire extinguisher: The unit is re-pressurized with the appropriate pressurizing gas and to the required pressure for that unit as noted on the recharging instructions.
- Conduct the leak test: Conduct the a Leak Test to check for signs of leakage and reinstalls the discharge nozzle or hose.
- Weigh the fire extinguisher: The extinguisher is weighed again to confirm that the total weight is within allowable tolerances indicated by the manufacturer.
- Install a new tampered seal: A new tamper seal is installed on the safety-pin and a new recharge tag is attached to the unit with each tag indicating the unit total weight and the identity of the technician completing the work.
After recharging your fire extinguisher, make sure that the gauge reads around 100 to 175 psi, or extends in the specifically indicated zone (often a green zone for readiness).
Finally, the extinguisher should be tagged with the recharge date, the amount of pressure it was put under and the name of the person who completed the process.