How To Dispose Of An Expired Fire Extinguisher

Fire extinguishers are a very important safety tool you should always keep on hand in your home, especially in the kitchen. Auto-Out states that there are nearly 5 million cooking fires reported annually, with grease fires resulting in one of every five fatal cooking fires.

This is one of the many reasons that keeping a working fire extinguisher in your home is extremely important. Fire extinguishers, though, only work for so long. According to Fire Pros, you should replace your fire extinguisher at least once every 12 years. The older the extinguisher gets, the more pressure it loses, and the less effective it will be — something you certainly don't want when faced with a kitchen fire. Other than time, damage to your fire extinguisher, like a broken seal, broken handle, missing pin, damaged hose, and general signs of wear, are all indicators it's time to get a new one. While you can easily get a new fire extinguisher at most home improvement stores, disposing of your old one isn't as simple.

Contact your local fire department

How you dispose of your fire extinguisher largely depends on the condition it's in, explains Guardian Fire Protection Services. If your fire extinguisher is completely empty, for example, you can simply recycle it like steel. In this case, you should first squeeze the handle and ensure there isn't any more pressure or product inside. Then, remove the head so it's obvious that it's empty. At this point, it's just a steel canister, and you can take it to a recycling center.

If the canister isn't empty, though, you have to dispose of it as hazardous waste. As Conserve Energy Future points out, the pressurized chemicals in the canister can become explosive if not properly handled and disposed of. You should first contact your local fire department, as they may offer fire extinguisher drop off services. If they don't, contact a hazardous waste facility and schedule a drop off.