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The life span of a fire extinguisher

Updated April 17, 2017

According to fire extinguisher manufacturer First Alert, the lifespan of an extinguisher depends on many factors. Consumers should rely primarily on visual checks to determine when the extinguisher needs to be replaced. Manufacturers recommend replacing extinguishers after 12 years, even if no damage is found.

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Damage signs

Regardless of a fire extinguisher's age, regularly check your fire extinguisher and replace it if you spot any damage. Signs of damage include cracking on the hose or nozzle. You also should replace it if the nozzle is blocked with debris, or the handle is wobbly, broken or missing.

Pressure indicator

Fire extinguishers have pressure indicator valves that should be inspected monthly, according to manufacturer Kidde. If the indicator needle is not in the green or full area the extinguisher may not work properly and should be replaced.


If your fire extinguisher shows signs of damage or the gauge reads empty, it is time to replace it. If you have a fire extinguisher with a gauge reading full, take it to your local fire station or council-run household recycling centre. If the gauge reads empty, you can remove the plastic top and recycle the steel body at a recycling centre.

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About the Author

M.A. Helt began writing professionally in 2009 after more than seven years of working in print communications and electronic media for nonprofit organizations and small businesses. In addition to college newspaper writing experience, Helt writes on marketing and technology topics. She holds a Bachelor of Science in graphic and communication design from La Roche College in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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