ABC Fire Extinguisher Maintenance Schedule Explained!
In recent months we’ve had a lot of questions from clients regarding the Maintenance Schedule for your typical ABC Fire Extinguishers. These ABC Fire Extinguishers are the most common type you’ll find in Warehouses, Facilities, Offices, Schools, Churches, Homes, etc. They come in sizes from 2.5lb to 20lb+ and the “ABC” refers to the types of Fire’s these Extinguishers can be used on which include Paper, Furniture, and Wood along with Flammable Liquids and Electrical Fires. They’re very versatile Extinguishers that can be used multiple times over a span of 30+ years. That being said, there’s certain guidelines we must follow as a Fire Protection Company, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and Fire Extinguisher Manufacturers outline these procedures and they MUST be completed to stay in service and ready for use.
There are 2 very important “Scheduled Maintenances” for these Fire Extinguishers. 6-Year Internal Maintenance and the 12-Year Hydrostatic Test. Both of these procedures require the full discharge and dismantling of your Extinguisher, so they must be done at our Workshop or On-Site with our Mobile Service Units.
The 6-Year Maintenance of a Fire Extinguisher generally take between 30-60 minutes depending on any repairs that may be needed. This includes the discharge of ABC Chemical and Nitrogen into our closed system, a full interior and exterior Inspection (and some replacements) of the Extinguisher parts, welds, valve stem, o-rings, handle, etc. Then a recharge of new ABC Chemical and Nitrogen along with the required documentation, verification of service collar, 6-Year Maintenance Label, and Fire Marshal tags.
The 12-Year Hydrostatic test usually takes between 1-2 hours and includes everything that we do for the 6-Year Maintenance but we also go a step further to ensure the structural integrity of the cylinder by pressurizing it with water to 585 psi. Your typical Extinguisher’s normal operating pressure is 195 psi, so we’re definitely putting some stress on the cylinder to make sure it’s safe to put back into service but it’s also make sure it will perform properly during a Fire Emergency. Once the the Hydrostatic Test is complete, the cylinder must be dried completely then refilled with ABC Dry Chemical and Nitrogen just like the 6-Year test.
(Also remember that a Fire Extinguisher must undergo an Annual Inspection by a Licensed Fire Extinguisher Technician to stay in service. You can learn more about those Annual Inspections HERE.)
So let’s pretend that you bought a brand new 5lb ABC Fire Extinguisher in 2022, what’s the maintenance schedule look like for this?(Assuming that it isn’t used in an emergency)
2022 – (Newly Bought) Annual Inspection
2023 – Annual Inspection
2024 – Annual Inspection
2025 – Annual Inspection
2026 – Annual Inspection
2027 – Annual Inspection
2028 – 6 YEAR MAINTENANCE
2029 – Annual Inspection
2030 – Annual Inspection
2031 – Annual Inspection
2032 – Annual Inspection
2033 – Annual Inspection
2034 – 12 YEAR HYDROSTATIC TEST : Once a Hydrostatic test is performed, the Extinguisher is “reborn” and the scheduled maintenance starts back over at Year 1. This Hydrostatic Test “Rule” also applies if the Extinguisher is Hydrostatically Tested early due to discharge, possible damage, etc.
Please note that these “Scheduled Maintenances” cannot be skipped, it is required by law, if a Fire Protection Company tells you otherwise than you may want to be a little hesitant in using them.
I hope this blog post clears up any confusion you may have in regards to regular maintenance on these Extinguishers. They’re important steps to ensure that your coworkers, volunteers, family, or friends are safe and protected from any Fire Emergency they may encounter.
As always, if you have any questions or need assistance, my phone is always on and our doors are always open (during business hours of course!)
Thanks for reading and stay safe out there!
Brent Bousquet, President
IGH Health, Fire, & Safety
Office: (817) 809-8677
Cell: (817) 797-6348