What Happens If You Use An Expired Fire Extinguisher

If you have a fire extinguisher in your home, then you may understand that it is a valuable tool to keep your home safe from possible fire hazards. While this is true, you should not keep a single fire extinguisher in your house without replacing it at some point. Fire extinguishers do expire, as odd as this may seem, and certain ones will expire within about five years. If you decide to use an expired extinguisher, some things may happen.

You May Release Halon Into The Air

Some fire extinguishers can last 15 years, but if you have an old fire extinguisher, it should be replaced sooner than later. Old extinguishers may contain a substance called halon. Halon is a gas compound that contains halogens. If this term sounds familiar, then you may have heard that halogens damaged the ozone layer and are extremely bad for the environment. 

Halon is a highly effective agent when it comes to stopping the spread of fires, and it stops combustion by stopping it chemically. Helen is also a volatile compound that creates a dangerous gas when utilized. This gas can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, and unconsciousness. It can greatly reduce the amount of oxygen that is available for your lungs to take in from the air, and this can lead to respiratory or cardiac distress.

It is important to use a respirator when using a halon fire extinguisher. Also, the area where it is used must be ventilated immediately. Due to the dangers of halon and the specific environment that the halon extinguisher must be used in, the ingredient has been banned from use in extinguishers. However, if you have an old one, then there is a chance that you will release halon into the air. It is much better to replace it than to risk this sort of problem.

You May Not Put Out The Fire

The vast majority of fire extinguishers use compresses gasses to put out a fire. Over time, these gases can leak out of the extinguisher through the seal around the top of the device. The pressure against the seal for many years is what causes the leaking issue. Once a good portion of the gas leaks out, it will no longer contain the chemicals that put out a fire. Basically, the device becomes useless. 

It can be extremely hard to tell if a fire extinguisher has leaked or not. This is one reason why there is an expiration date. Under normal circumstances, gasses may leak within the expiration time frame to the point that function is compromised.

Your fire extinguisher may still work after the expiration date, but it is better to be safe than sorry by replacing the device in time. Contact a company, like Amerisafe, for more help.