How To Choose The Right Fire Extinguisher For Your Home
For many people, purchasing a fire extinguisher follows one of two ways: either they decide that they need one after a close call, or they heed another person’s advice and decide to buy one before such a close call. If you’re here, someone has likely told you it’s time to invest in a fire extinguisher for your home or business.
Choose The Right Fire Extinguisher For Your Home
You know you need an extinguisher, but which type? This can be difficult for non-firefighting types because there are different fires and, therefore, different extinguishers. Luckily, figuring out what kind of fire extinguisher you need isn’t as hard as it seems. This post breaks it down into six simple steps:
Ensure The Extinguisher Is Safe To Use On Electrical Fires
You can use fire extinguishers to put out nearly every small fire, but they’re not so great at dealing with electrical fires. If you have an electrical fire in your home and try to use a fire extinguisher as the only form of defense, it probably won’t work. That’s because power surges and lightning strikes cause most electrical fires. Such fires require professional advice on a suitable extinguisher because they’re dangerous. So, you might want to consider this when you’re out to get an extinguisher
Furthermore, this guide by OpenHouse on home fire safety and prevention, among many other reliable sources you can find over the Internet, can help you decide on the perfect extinguisher for your home use.
Use The Correct Type Of Extinguisher
There are different types of fires—one kind involves flammable liquids (fuel), another involves flammable solids (waste), and another involves flammable gases (electrical).
The best way to handle each kind of fire is by using a specific kind of dry chemical or carbon dioxide fire extinguisher: a water extinguisher for fires involving flammable liquids; a powder extinguisher for fires involving flammable solids, like paper or cloth; and, foam extinguishers for electrical fires or those involving combustible gases, such as propane. Understanding how this works will help you choose a suitable fire extinguisher for your home.
Choose The Right Class Of Fire Extinguisher
Fire extinguishers are typically labeled with a rating or class. The first thing to look for is the class of fire that your extinguisher can handle. If you have a kitchen fire, don’t waste your time looking at Class A extinguishers because they’ll not help you put out an oil-based blaze (a K-rated model best handles those).
A Class A extinguisher is suitable for fires involving paper, wood, and cloth—basically anything made out of natural materials. You might find these in classrooms or other areas with an elevated risk of paper catching fire due to accidental sparks from experiments or fireworks. They’re also commonly used when putting out campfires.
Class B extinguishers, on the other hand, are designed specifically against flammable liquids, such as gasoline and diesel fuels. However, keep in mind that such types aren’t usually equipped with high-capacity pressure systems, so only use them on small surface spills until further notice.
Pick A Fire Extinguisher That Looks And Feels Durable And Reliable
When buying a fire extinguisher, look for a well-made and sturdy one. The best way to do this is by picking up the fire extinguisher and feeling how heavy it is. If it feels too light, then it might not be worth your money.
The best extinguishers are made with stainless steel, so they tend to be more expensive than plastic ones. The metal helps protect against corrosion when the chemical inside the extinguisher comes into contact with moisture from outside air or water from sprinklers or hoses used by firefighters during an emergency. This mixture could cause them to break down prematurely, especially if made out of cheaper materials, like plastic.
Choose One That’s Easy To Maintain
You’re going to need to keep your fire extinguisher clean and dry. This will help ensure that it lasts as long as possible. If you have a small space, consider investing in a rechargeable fire extinguisher, which is more environmentally friendly than disposable ones. Also, ensure you test your fire extinguisher regularly to be charged and ready for use if needed.
Finally, make sure the space where your fire extinguisher has been designated doesn’t change. This way, everyone in the household will know where the emergency equipment is located (and who to call when they need help). Also, replace expired units with new ones as soon as possible—don’t wait until they expire.
Opt For Fire Extinguishers With A Firm Warranty Policy
If you ever have to use your fire extinguisher, it’s imperative that you can trust it’ll do its job at that exact moment. If a fire extinguisher malfunctions, it could put your home or business in danger.
When choosing a fire extinguisher, opt for models with solid guarantees and warranties that cover replacement parts, labor costs, shipping costs, and the life of the extinguisher itself. A warranty should last at least five years, if not longer, and cover all of these things.
Some companies offer lifetime warranties on their products. However, these are often limited to just one free replacement during this period (typically about ten years). The best policy covers more than one free replacement over an extended period, such as ten years’ coverage on parts and labor, at no additional cost.
Consider How Often Your Extinguisher Needs Refilling
You should also consider how often your extinguisher needs refilling. Most models will include some sort of indicator that lets you know when it’s time for a refill. If yours doesn’t have one (or if you’re not sure), check every few months to make sure there’s not too much pressure inside it (that could lead to an explosion). If there’s too much pressure in the tank, this could be dangerous, so remove any excess water before refilling.
While there are many factors to consider, it’s essential to keep in mind that any type of home fire extinguisher can be effective if it’s used correctly. Before selecting one, however, make sure you know how to operate an extinguisher properly should a fire start. It may also help you narrow down which kind is best suited for your needs. And, although fire extinguishers can be helpful tools when used correctly, they should not replace other safety measures, like smoke detectors and escape ladders.
Thank you for reading!