Fire extinguishers are a legal requirement for most buildings and vehicles worldwide. Their importance to saving lives and properties can’t be overemphasized while they usually come filled, they don’t forever, making it necessary to refill or replace your fire extinguisher. So, how much does it cost to fill a fire extinguisher?
The cost of filling a fire extinguisher starts from $20 and varies based on factors such as class and size. Extinguishers come in five classes specifying the fire they can suppress. These are Class A to D and K. You may need to inspect before filling, and it’s best to let a professional handle it.
It’s not all kinds of fire extinguishers that you can fill. Some are single-use which means you dispose of the container once you’ve used them. Here, we discuss the classes of fire extinguishers, the cost of buying one, and the process for filling and inspecting it.
Classes of Fire Extinguishers
Fire extinguishers vary depending on the fire they’re built to kill. While some can combat more than one type of fire, there are no universal fire extinguishers capable of suppressing all kinds of fire. This is because each fire differs in what can end it. However, there are fire extinguishers that can suppress more than one type of fire. You can easily tell this by looking at the label on the extinguisher. Your purpose for getting the fire extinguisher will determine the type. For example, industrial fire extinguishers are usually multipurpose, while an office building can be good with a fire extinguisher capable of ending fires common to offices. Here are the classes of fire extinguishers:
1. Class A Fire Extinguishers
This extinguisher is suitable for ordinary combustible fires such as those fuelled by wood or paper. Extinguishing Class A fires is quite simple, and there is multiple firefighting agent that you can use. This includes water mist or a clean agent, which will suffocate the fire.
2. Class B Fire Extinguishers
These extinguishers are for flammable liquids such as gasoline, oil, and grease. The best way to suppress these fires is to use clean agents or CO2. These options will suffocate the fire by removing the oxygen needed to continue blazing, thereby extinguishing it. Most people use Clean agents as they don’t leave any residue after use.
3. Class C Fire Extinguishers
The class C extinguishers are safe for electrical fires, i.e., fires resulting from electrical appliances. It also uses CO2 or clean agents, ensuring that the extinguisher doesn’t add any conductive material that could further inflame the fire. Clean agents are chemicals of various types. They are generally non-toxic but will reduce the oxygen content of a room to a level where it won’t support combustion but will still be enough for a person to breathe within the area.
4. Class D Fire Extinguishers
Class D fires are fires from combustible metals such as titanium and magnesium. There’s a need for an extinguishing agent that won’t react with the burning metal to extinguish this type of fire. So, these types of fire extinguishers use a dry powder agent capable of smothering the fire and absorbing the heat.
5. Class K Fire Extinguishers
Kitchen fires are class K fires and can stem from cooking fat, oil, or grease. The appropriate fire extinguishers use a wet chemical agent that includes potassium to suppress the fire.
Cost Of Buying a Fire Extinguisher
Fire extinguishers vary in price based on their use. Depending on the brand, you can get a single-use fire extinguisher that can fight class A, B, or C fire for around $20 or even less. But multi-use fire extinguishers cost more. This could be between $35 to $75 based on the number of use and the brand. The cheapest extinguishers are single-use fire extinguishers designed for cars and the kitchen. These can cost around $10 – $20, depending on where you get them. The most expensive, of course, is the industrial fire extinguishers that can suppress all kinds of fire from class A – D. These can cost between $300 to $800 depending on various factors. You can distinguish them from the regular fire extinguishers because they usually have yellow tanks, which say they can suppress class D fires.
Filling and Inspecting a Fire Extinguisher
The cost of filling fire extinguishers usually depends on the type in question. Here are the common types and the cost of filling them. The cost can also vary based on the size of the tank. Generally, the cost of refilling a fire extinguisher starts from $20 and can be much higher depending on several factors. Fire extinguishers have to be inspected at least once a year to make sure it’s in good working condition. To know whether you can refill your fire extinguisher, check if it has a plastic or metal valve assembly.
You can only refill those with metal valves. Make sure you do it at a fire service station or fire extinguisher servicing company unless you have the skill for it. Doing it yourself when you’re not capable could lead to the fire extinguisher leaking and becoming ineffective when it’s needed. Also, this could make you legally liable if another person tries to use it in case of a fire and it doesn’t work.
Check the tampers seal first to know whether you need to refill the fire extinguisher. If it’s broken, you should inspect it to ensure it’s still working and hasn’t leaked. Then you should check the pressure gauge to see where the middle is facing. If the needle faces the middle of the green zone, it’s properly pressured. If it’s facing the red zone or anywhere near it, you should recharge it. There’s also a need for internal inspection of your fire extinguisher every five to six years depending on the brand.
The cost of filling will depend on the size, class type, and usage. The weight and size are determined by the weight of the extinguishing agent rather than the container or any other components. It’ll cost around $40 to inspect a unit.
It doesn’t cost much to fill a fire extinguisher, and this is usually the best thing to do for fire extinguishers meant to serve a building. However, in the case of personal fire extinguishers, you can simply opt for a single-use fire extinguisher as they come cheap enough for the purpose.