How to Dispose of Expired Fire Extinguisher?

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There are four basic types of fire extinguishers for homes and businesses. One is water and foam, dry chemical, carbon dioxide, and halon. Extinguishers are only intended to put out small fires, not a fully engulfed kitchen.

There are five classifications of fire, four of which are common residential and business fires and the other more common in industrial sites.

Many insurance companies are requiring correctly maintained fire extinguishers in residential kitchens, garages, and one per floor, along with smoke detectors. Business and industry have stricter fire code requirements presently. If you have an old out of date or used canister and you want to know how to dispose of fire extinguishers, here are some suggestions.

How to Dispose of Empty Fire Extinguishers

Fire extinguishers have to be regularly checked, maintained, and serviced. If you have a discharged fire extinguisher, or it has been hanging around for 5 or more years, it should be checked. Your local fire department will be able to direct you to where you can get it checked. If it meets current requirements, it can be recharged or refilled.

If your current extinguisher doesn’t meet the requirements, you’ll need to purchase a new one, or two. Some companies that check and refill empty fire extinguishers will dispose of it for you. Otherwise, the fire extinguishers disposal is your responsibility.

If it is antique, you may want to take it home for display. Many people are purchasing vintage extinguishers for collections or decoration, so you could take a picture and post it. It may offset the cost of buying a new one.

You can recycle it, or check with your local landfill, they may take it.

Where to Recycle Fire Extinguishers

You can recycle fire extinguishers in most communities. The canister is usually metal which can be recycled or taken for scrap metal. The cylinder has to be empty, and the hose, top, and trigger removed. If you’re unsure how to prepare it for recycling, most fire departments are very helpful.

Some manufacturers have recycling programs so you could contact them. Some communities have hazardous waste drop sites that will accept extinguishers too.  

You may have to ensure the tank is empty and remove the hose or cone, and trigger before it can be recycled.

How to Get Rid of Old Fire Extinguishers

Disposal of fire extinguishers can be handled through many fire departments. They will often dispose of them for you. If you have one that isn’t empty, but you’re buying a new one, ask a firefighter for a lesson in the proper use of one and discharge your old one.

Manufacturers sometimes have a refund or discount if you return an old one and buy a new one from them. Some dealers or stores extend the same discount, which saves you shipping the old one. You can recycle the metal cylinder and parts, or take them to a scrap dealer for a bit of coin. It’s always best to check ahead and make sure they accept old extinguishers.

Antique or vintage extinguishers have found a collectors market that you can tap into. Exercise extreme caution with old fire extinguishers that may have contained tetrachloride. It is a carcinogen, can be lethal if inhaled, and produces phosgene when heated – which is a nerve gas. If you want to display a vintage extinguisher at home, you should have it professionally emptied and cleaned.

If you don’t have time and you just want to get rid of that old fire extinguisher, call email or text the professionals at Royal Junk. We’re a national eco-friendly junk disposal company providing friendly, affordable junk removal.