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Fire extinguisher replacement interval?


She25
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The three 1kg fire extinguishers on my boat are probably 10 years old (installed by previous owners). All are happily sitting with pins in the green.

Do I need to replace these at some point? Is there any official guidance on this?

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5 minutes ago, She25 said:

The three 1kg fire extinguishers on my boat are probably 10 years old (installed by previous owners). All are happily sitting with pins in the green.

Do I need to replace these at some point? Is there any official guidance on this?

There used to be some sort of dating on them but I think if they appear alright and showing green these days they will pass BSS. However how much do they cost? how much is your boat worth? How much do you value your stuff on the boat for a few quids worth of fire fighting capability such as it is..

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If they are in the green, and visually in good order they will generally pass, but not if there is an expiration date on them that has been exceeded. Expiry dates used to be quite common I think, but no extinguisher I have purchased in the last 10 years or so has had one.

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Thanks chaps. I thought the same - no expiry date, so assume if in the green they're still good. Cheap enough to replace however so maybe I'll do that. Seems a shame to just chuck the old ones though.

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4 minutes ago, She25 said:

Thanks chaps. I thought the same - no expiry date, so assume if in the green they're still good. Cheap enough to replace however so maybe I'll do that. Seems a shame to just chuck the old ones though.

Dont chuck em.

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Mine were coming up to nine years old and I replaced them.  They still showed the needle in the green, but I couldn't feel the powder move when I inverted them so did wonder if it had settled too much.  Anyway, replaced them but kept the old ones as extras.  You never know when you will need one!

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7 minutes ago, mross said:

If they are dry powder try and feel if the powder is still 'loose' inside.  Over time, the powder can become compacted by vibration.  On some you can unscrew the top and poke about.

Extinguishers with an indicator are usual "stored pressue" types. Unscrewing the top will release the pressure rendering the extinguisher unservicable. There is also the risk of personal injury, and one hell of a mess to clear up.

Compacted power can be prevented by regularly removing the extinguisher from its clip and giving it a good shake whilst holding it upside down. Failing that hold it upside down and tap the base with a rubber mallet.

  • Greenie 1
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32 minutes ago, dor said:

Mine were coming up to nine years old and I replaced them.  They still showed the needle in the green, but I couldn't feel the powder move when I inverted them so did wonder if it had settled too much.  Anyway, replaced them but kept the old ones as extras.  You never know when you will need one!

When we bought the boat the surveyor said it is a good idea to shake the powder type fire extinguishers monthly, to stop the powder from compacting down and eventually solidifying. That way they should last until the pressure drops into the red.  I shake them on the first of every month.

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1 hour ago, She25 said:

Thanks chaps. I thought the same - no expiry date, so assume if in the green they're still good. Cheap enough to replace however so maybe I'll do that. Seems a shame to just chuck the old ones though.

My old ones are still showing green so I have put one in the garage and the other 2 in cars.

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18 minutes ago, Eeyore said:

Extinguishers with an indicator are usual "stored pressue" types. Unscrewing the top will release the pressure rendering the extinguisher unservicable. There is also the risk of personal injury, and one hell of a mess to clear up.

Compacted power can be prevented by regularly removing the extinguisher from its clip and giving it a good shake whilst holding it upside down. Failing that hold it upside down and tap the base with a rubber mallet.

I'd always assumed there was a propellant cartridge inside the extinguisher under the trigger. 

Given the different fire risks on a boat, wood, carpet, electrical, gas, diesel, are the standard dry powder extinguishers up to the task or should we have different types in different places. If you see what I mean.

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59 minutes ago, mrsmelly said:

Dont chuck em.

No, use them on the fire first and if they don't work go and get the new ones!

If you dont believe they will work whats the point in keeping them. If they are in the green they still have the right amount of gas in them so haven't leaked, the powder cant escape without you setting them off. The best thing to do is give them a dam good shake every 6 months to make sure the powder is lose.

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My question has come about because I'm selling the boat, and the survey was particularly thorough (more so than the one I had when I bought it!).

If there's a chance they won't work (fully expect they've never been shaken monthly, certainly not since I've had it) there's no point in keeping them as spares. I'll contact the company and they can collect / recycle them or something.

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If buying replacements don't forget to check the A & B ratings - IIRC some 1kg extinguishers have lower ratings than others depending on the actual powder, and that they carry one or more of the BSS listed symbols

 

Springy

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2 hours ago, She25 said:

My question has come about because I'm selling the boat, and the survey was particularly thorough (more so than the one I had when I bought it!).

If there's a chance they won't work (fully expect they've never been shaken monthly, certainly not since I've had it) there's no point in keeping them as spares. I'll contact the company and they can collect / recycle them or something.

Can the company not service/check them ours (admittedly in a land based business) are checked/serviced annually by the firm and it is recorded on the extinguisher.

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9 hours ago, F DRAYKE said:

I seem to think that Midlands Chandlers did or do a part X on fire extinguishers.

They do. Recommended replacement interval is 5 years on my latest batch. Mike Carter used to have an extinguisher head with the needle in the green sector.

And no cylinder attached to it...

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18 minutes ago, mross said:

What did it cost?  Is this just an incentive where they discount new extinguishers if you bring your old ones in?  Or do they actually service them?

 

No it was just a discount off a new one.  A fiver on each, I think, really only ma,king them compatible with price elsewhere.

Can't see any immediate evidence they are still offering it though.

You would not want to have serviced version of what we traded in.  Two of ours didn't even have, (i.e. never had), gauges.  They apparently still met BSS requirements despite that, as they had the right marks and no expiry date, despite a manufactured date in the last century!

 

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As Alan said a £5 discount per extinguisher, I needed 3 new ones as the BSS examiner failed the old ones even though they were in the green but they were past the expiry date. I seem to remember they worked out around £13 pound each for 3 with 3 traded in. There wasn't any signs offering the trade in, I just asked the staff.

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Our powder ones had reached the end of their life so I replaced them with A3F foam ones. They are slightly bigger that the equivalent powder ones but when discharged they do not make such a mess. They also do not have powder compaction problems. They do satisfy the BSC requirements,

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