How Often Should You Change Out a Fire Extinguisher?


Look at the Needle

  • Fire extinguishers are equipped with a needle which tells you whether or not the mechanism is working. "If the needle is in the green area, it's functional," experts at state. On the other hand, even if a fire extinguisher has no expiration date, the site explains "it won't last forever."

It May Not Have a Needle

  • Older fire extinguisher models may not possess a needle. If this is the case it is wise to have the extinguisher professionally inspected. The Real Simple site recommends "annual servicing for all models" and if the extinguisher does have a needle, but shows any signs of failure, consider it "unreliable " and have it immediately "serviced or replaced."

Bottom Line

  • Change out a fire extinguisher every "5 to 15 years," according to Real Simple. It is wise to keep an eye on extinguisher gauges--often in the form of a needle--to determine whether the mechanism is safe to use. If an extinguisher is old or without any indicators, it may be time to invest in a new one.

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  • Photo Credit fire extinguisher image by Chris Roselli from fire extinguisher #2 image by Victor Soares from stack of cash image by jimcox40 from burning house image by ivp from
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