When you do a lot of cooking in your kitchen, it is always a good idea to be prepared for the unlikely event that a fire will break out. As part of your fire safety efforts in your home, you may already have a fire extinguisher within reach.
However, you do not want to be caught one day in a fire with an extinguisher that does not have enough pressure to deliver its fire-suppressing contents. Along with a low-pressure reading on the gauge, below are a couple of signs that you should have your fire extinguisher checked by a professional to see if it needs to be recharged.
1. Impact on the Cylinder Was Hard Enough to Dent the Metal
While inspecting the exterior of your fire extinguisher, the first sign for which you should look is denting on the cylinder. If the unit was dropped or struck with enough force to dent the metal, the seal within the extinguisher may have been broken.
If the seal is broken because of impact, the pressure within the cylinder will drop. When you attempt to use it during a fire, there will not be enough pressure built up, and little to no contents will be ejected from the nozzle. If you find any dents, you should have the extinguisher's pressure tested to see if it needs to be refilled.
2. Leaks or Corrosion Found Around the Nozzle or Valve Neck
Another sign you should look for when inspecting your fire extinguisher is the presence of leaks or corrosion. These types of damage are most often found around the nozzle or neck of the valve where it attaches to the cylinder.
Even if the extinguisher is not noticeably leaking, the presence of corrosion indicates that there is or was a slow leak. Without its full contents, the extinguisher will not have enough pressure built up inside. It should be taken to a service to be cleaned, repaired, and recharged.
Besides a dented cylinder and leaking or corroded nozzle and valve neck, if you have used the extinguisher in the past or have had it for years without ever using it, you should have it checked to see if it needs to be refilled. To ensure that you are ready in case a fire breaks out in your kitchen, as soon as possible, take the unit to a fire extinguisher recharging service to have them verify the pressure, clean the valve, and refill it.
Contact a fire extinguisher recharging service if you have additional questions.