How Much Does it Cost to Recharge a Fire Extinguisher?

Industrial Fire
Apr 8,2024
What is the average cost of recharging a fire extinguisher

As a commercial business owner, you should inspect your fire extinguishers monthly and have them professionally inspected yearly. One reason for this is that they can lose pressure, so they need recharging.

Don’t get us wrong; they may not need to be recharged every year. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), hydrostatic testing, including recharging, should be conducted every 5 or 12 years. However, if it depressurizes before then, you’ll want to recharge them to ensure they’re in full working order.

Recharging itself is pretty straightforward for the most part, especially if you’re recharging a dry chemical fire extinguisher (though it requires a professional). However, how much does it cost to recharge a fire extinguisher? Let’s find out:

Factors Affecting Fire Extinguisher Recharge Cost

Before we dive into the particulars of the fire extinguisher recharge service costs, let’s first understand the variables that play into these expenses.

Type of Fire Extinguisher

The variety of rechargeable fire extinguisher types you possess can significantly sway the recharge cost.

  • Dry Chemical Fire Extinguishers: Often found in retail and offices, they combat a range of fires and are typically less expensive to recharge due to the commonality and ease of handling the extinguishing agent.
  • Wet Chemical Extinguishers: Specialized for Class K kitchen fires involving cooking oils; recharging costs more because of the specific chemicals and expertise required.
  • CO2 extinguishers: Best for Type B and C fires (flammable liquids and electrical), these have unique recharging processes involving Carbon Dioxide, which can be more costly due to the gas’s handling and storage requirements.

Size of Fire Extinguisher

Size does matter when it comes to portable fire extinguishers; larger ones will need more extinguishing agents refilled, impacting the recharge cost directly.

Local Market Rates

Where you are can also significantly affect the cost of recharging your fire protection tool. Local market rates for labor and materials can differ widely, which means a service that costs a certain amount in one city might have a different price in another location, such as Houston, TX.

Required Inspections or Repairs

Additional fire inspections or repairs may sometimes be necessary before a rechargeable type extinguisher can be refilled, increasing the overall cost.

Extinguishers that show signs of wear, such as dents, corrosion, or a leaking nozzle, could require repairs before being recharged, further increasing costs. Inspection Tags and Tamper Seals may also need to be replaced regularly in order to comply with local fire codes.

Average Costs for Fire Extinguisher Recharging

On average, you can anticipate a recharge to cost between $25 to $50. However, this range can fluctuate based on the size and type of extinguisher. For instance, with specialized technology like Halotron, it is pricier than your standard 10lb ABC extinguisher.

How Often Should a Fire Extinguisher Be Recharged?

The saying “better safe than sorry” is right when deciding how often to get quality fire extinguisher recharge services.

If you use your portable fire extinguisher in an emergency, you need to recharge it right away.

You also need to follow NFPA 10 standards, which include regular maintenance inspection and recharging when needed.

For dry chemical fire extinguishers, the suggested maintenance includes:

  • Recharge after six years.
  • An internal inspection every 12 years.
  • Hydrostatic Testing every 12 years for most dry chemical types, and sometimes every five years.

If your extinguisher shows signs of damage, like a broken pressure gauge or low pressure, you should get help from a professional fire protection service right away.

Steps to Recharge a Fire Extinguisher

Step 1: Check the Pressure Gauge

The first step in determining if your portable fire extinguisher needs recharging is to glance at the pressure gauge, usually positioned at the top of the canister.

Should the gauge’s needlepoint to the “green” area, an immediate recharge might not be necessary, but remember, adhering to routine maintenance schedules is crucial.

However, suppose the indicator dips into the “red” or “recharge” zone. In that case, it clearly shows that the extinguisher, has experienced a slight pressure loss and requires urgent servicing by a fire protection company.

Step 2: Contact a Professional

Have you identified a dip in pressure, or is it simply next time for your scheduled recharge? The subsequent action is to reach out to a professional. Fire extinguisher service companies will dispatch licensed technicians who come prepared with the right tools and knowledge for a safe and thorough recharge.

Step 3: Inspection and Recharging

A fire protection services provider will inspect your extinguisher to identify potential wear or damage.

Should there be any need for repairs, these will be taken care of before the recharging commences, ensuring the unit’s integrity remains intact.

The licensed technician will then proceed with the following steps:

  1. Safely depressurizing the extinguisher
  2. Emptying the old extinguishing agent
  3. Cleaning the canister’s interior
  4. Renewing any worn-out parts
  5. Refilling with the appropriate agent
  6. Repressurizing the unit to the correct level
  7. Performing a series of tests to confirm functionality

Once these steps are completed, an inspection tag displaying the service date will be affixed, confirming the unit’s working order and compliance with local fire codes.

Understanding the Recharging Process

Grasping the intricacies of the fire extinguisher recharge services underscores the indispensability of professional expertise.

This meticulous procedure encompasses the following:

  1. Carefully venting the residual pressure
  2. Dismantling the valve assembly and its various components
  3. Conducting an exhaustive examination for any signs of wear or damage
  4. Precisely replenishing with the specified extinguishing agent for the extinguisher type
  5. Accurately reasserting the pressure gauge to its optimal range
  6. Executing a conclusive operational test to affirm the unit’s working condition
  7. The final step involves detailed documentation, including affixing an Inspection Tag with the service date, to maintain a log of upkeep and adherence to local fire codes.

Can You Recharge a Fire Extinguisher Yourself?

The simple answer is a resounding no.

Attempting to recharge a portable fire extinguisher is strongly discouraged and fraught with hazards. The risk of an explosion due to mishandling the high-pressure device is a genuine concern. In addition, using an incorrect extinguishing agent or failing to achieve the correct pressure could make the extinguisher ineffective or lead to malfunction during a critical moment.

Lacking the necessary expertise, even a seemingly successful refill doesn’t ensure that the device has undergone a thorough inspection for defects or potential malfunctions.

The Consequences of Not Recharging Your Fire Extinguisher

Ignoring the maintenance of your fire extinguisher can have serious implications:

  • Ineffective in Emergencies: An undercharged extinguisher won’t perform when needed, risking safety.
  • Legal Issues: Neglecting extinguisher maintenance can lead to legal penalties.
  • Costly Damages: The expense from fires due to faulty extinguishers can be immense.

How to Choose a Reputable Fire Extinguisher Service Provider

When needing a fire extinguisher service, choosing a provider that values safety and reliability is essential. At Industrial Fire TX, we pride ourselves on delivering expert service in recharge, inspection, hydrostatic testing, and repairs. Our commitment to transparent pricing ensures our customers are fully informed and never face unexpected costs.

Other Maintenance Considerations for Fire Extinguishers

Maintenance of fire extinguishers includes consistent monthly inspections and an annual inspection certified according to NFPA 10. Some models also require a six-year internal inspection and regular hydrostatic testing.

The Bottom Line on Fire Extinguisher Recharge Costs

Safety and adherence to regulatory standards must always be prioritized over cost alone when evaluating the costs associated with fire extinguisher recharge services. While cost is essential, ensuring that your portable extinguishers are properly maintained and recharged by certified professionals should always be the top priority in fire prevention.

Frequently Asked Questions about Fire Extinguisher Recharging

How long does a recharge take?

A skilled technician typically recharges a fire extinguisher in under an hour. Delays occur if extensive repairs or hydrostatic tests are needed.

Can I transport a used fire extinguisher for recharging?

Yes. Secure it in your vehicle to prevent movement. Some companies may even offer pick-up and delivery.

Are there environmentally friendly types of fire extinguishers?

Yes:

  • Water mist units combat Class A types of fires (ordinary combustible materials, such as rubber, cloth, paper, wood, and many plastics).
  • “Clean agent” types minimize residue and environmental impact.
  • Some models feature recycled materials.

How do I dispose of an old fire extinguisher?

Follow these steps:

  • Check with your local fire department.
  • Try a hazardous waste facility.
  • Consult a fire extinguisher service.
About the Author

Industrial Fire

We are a family-owned and operated business. Industrial Fire has proudly served Houston, Texas, for over seven decades. Fire protection technology has changed a lot since we started doing business in 1945. Still, one thing hasn’t changed, our commitment to providing our neighbors in Houston, TX, with the best fire protection services and equipment available.