Selecting and Using Fire Extinguishers For Your Home

Every house should have a minimum of one fire extinguisher, located in the kitchen. Better still is to put in fire extinguishers on each degree of a house and in every potentially hazardous area, including (besides the kitchen) the garage, furnace room, and workshop.

Pick fire extinguishers by their dimension, class, and evaluation. “Size” refers to the weight of the fire-fighting compound, or charge, a fire extinguisher contains, and generally is about half the weight of this fire extinguisher itself. For normal residential usage, extinguishers two and a half to five pounds in size usually are adequate; these weigh five to ten pounds.

“Class” refers to the kinds of fires an extinguisher can put out. Class A extinguishers are for use only on ordinary combustible materials like wood, paper, and fabric. Generally, their charge consists of carbonated water, which is inexpensive and adequate for the task but rather dangerous if used against dirt fires (the pressurized water may spread the burning grease) and electric fires (the water flow and wetted surfaces can become electrified, providing a possibly fatal shock). Class B extinguishers are for use on flammable liquids, including oil, grease, gas, and other compounds.


Class C extinguishers are for electrical fires. Most contain dry ammonium phosphate. Some Class C extinguishers contain halon gas, but these are no longer made for residential use due to halon’s adverse effect on the earth’s ozone layer. Halon extinguishers are recommended to be used around expensive electronic gear such as computers and televisions; the gasoline blankets the fire, suffocating it, and then evaporates without leaving chemical residue which could ruin the gear. Another benefit of halon is that it expands into hard-to-reach areas and around obstacles, quenching fire in areas other extinguishers cannot touch.

Many fire extinguishers include compounds for putting out mix fires; in fact, extinguishers classed B:C as well as ARC are more widely available for home use than extinguishers designed only for individual types of fires. All-purpose ARC extinguishers usually would be the best choice for any household placenonetheless, B:C extinguishers put out grease fires more efficiently (their charge of sodium bicarbonate reacts with fats and cooking oil to produce a wet foam which smothers the flame) and so should be the primary choice in a kitchen.

“Rating” is a measurement of a flame extinguisher’s effectiveness on a given type of fire. The higher the score, the more effective the extinguisher is against the class of fire to which the score is assigned. In fact, the rating system is somewhat more complex: rating numbers assigned to a Class A extinguisher suggest the approximate gallons of water needed to rival the extinguisher’s capacity (as an instance, a 1A score indicates that the extinguisher works and about a gallon of water), whereas amounts assigned to Class B extinguishers indicate that the approximate square footage of fire which can be extinguished by a mean nonprofessional user. Class C extinguishers carry no ratings.

For security on an whole floor of a house, buy a comparatively large extinguisher; for instance, a model rated 3A:40B:C. These weigh about ten pounds and cost approximately $50. In a kitchen, choose a 5B:C unit; those weigh around three pounds and cost approximately $15. For increased kitchen security, it is probably better to buy two little extinguishers than just one larger model. Kitchen fires usually start small and are easily handled by a small extinguisher; smaller extinguishers are more manageable than bigger ones, especially in confined spaces; and, because even a partially used extinguisher has to be recharged to prepare it for additional use or replaced, having multiple smaller extinguishers makes better economic sense.

A 5B:C Amp is also a good choice for protecting a garage, where grease and oil fires are most likely. For assignments, utility rooms, and related places, acquire IA: lOB:C extinguishers. These, too, weigh about three pounds (some weigh up to five pounds) and cost around $15. In all circumstances, purchase just extinguishers listed by Underwriters Laboratories.

Use mounting brackets created for your purpose; these attach with long screws to wall studs and allow extinguishers to be instantly eliminated. Rather than the plastic brackets that come with many fire extinguishers, consider the sturdier sea mounts accepted by the U.S. Coast Guard. The correct mounting height for extinguishers is between four and five feet above the ground, but bracket them as large as six feet if needed to keep them out of the reach of young kids. Don’t maintain fire extinguishers in closets or someplace from sight; in a crisis they’re likely to be missed.


Purchase new york fire extinguisher inspection which have pressure gauges that let you check the condition of the charge at a glance. Inspect the gauge once a month; have an extinguisher recharged where you purchased it or through the neighborhood fire department if the gauge indicates it’s dropped pressure or after it has been used, even if just for a couple of seconds. Fire extinguishers that cannot be recharged or have outlasted their rated life span, which is printed on the tag, must be replaced. In no case should you keep a fire extinguisher more than ten years, whatever the maker’s claims. Regrettably, recharging a smaller extinguisher often costs nearly as much as replacing it and may not restore the extinguisher to its original condition. Wasteful as it seems, it’s normally better to replace most residential fire extinguishers rather than have them recharged. To try it, discharge the extinguisher (the contents are nontoxic) into a paper or plastic bag, and then discard both the bag along with the extinguisher in the trash. Aluminum extinguisher cylinders can be recycled.

Everyone in the household except young kids should practice with a fire extinguisher to find out the technique in case a fire breaks out. A fantastic way to do so is to spread a huge sheet of plastic on the floor and use it as a test place (the contents of the majority of extinguishers will kill grass and stain pavement). To operate a fire extinguisher correctly, stand or kneel six to ten feet in the fire with your back to the nearest exit. (If you can’t get within six feet of a fire due to smoke or extreme heat, don’t attempt to extinguish it; leave the house and call the fire department.) Then squeeze the handle and extinguish the fire by sweeping the nozzle from side to side to blanket the fire with retardant until the flames go out. Watch for flames to rekindle, and be prepared to spray again.

Chimney Fire Extinguishers

If you operate a fireplace or wood-burning stove, then keep on hand two or three oxygen-starving sticks, available at fireplace and woodstove dealers. In the event of a chimney fire, then tossing the sticks to the fires will quickly quench a fire in the chimney flue or stovepipe.


Choosing the Right Fire Extinguishers

Often, somebody who needs a fire extinguisher may purchase an ABC fire extinguisher without giving much consideration to the actual fire dangers that they will need to protect against. While purchasing fire extinguishers, you have to understand a few things about extinguishers to be able to make an informed decision, specifically, the fire course you need to safeguard against and special requirements you need to consider (pc electronics, by way of instance).

Class A – Fire extinguishers rated for Class A fires possess a green triangle with an “A” at the centre as well as a pictogram of a garbage can and wood burning. These extinguishers are used to put out fires for common combustibles like paper, fabric, rubber, and some plastics (materials that render ashes when burnt, hence, the “A”).

Class B – Fire extinguishers rated for Class B fires have a red square with a “B” in the center in addition to a pictogram of a gasoline can using a burning puddle. These extinguishers are utilized to extinguish fires for flammable liquids like gasoline, lubricating oil, gas, and lots of organic solvents found in laboratories (things found in barrels, and therefore “B”).


Class C – Fire extinguishers rated for Class C fires have a blue circle with a “C” at the center in addition to a pictogram of an electrical plug in with a burning socket. These extinguishers are used to extinguish electrical fires for energized electric equipment, electric motors, circuit panels, switches, and gear (“C” to get current-electrical).

Class D – Fire extinguishers rated for Class D fires have a yellow pentagram (star) using a “D” at the center in addition to a pictogram of a burning equipment and bearing. These extinguishers are utilized to extinguish fires from metals and metallic alloys like titanium, sodium, and magnesium.

You can get fire extinguishers with one class score or multiple fire course ratings (ABC or BC, for instance).

Fire extinguishing materials

Fire extinguishers use different materials for extinguishing fires. When picking your extinguisher, you have to ascertain what sort of fire you might be fighting and then pick the best extinguishing material for the application.

APW extinguishers can only be used for Class A fires (combustibles such as paper, fabric, etc.); they can’t be used for putting out other types of fires.

Dry chemical: Dry chemicals are used to extinguish A-, B-, C-, or even D-type fires. They work by placing a fine layer of compound dust on the material that is burning. Dry chemical extinguishers are extremely effective at putting out fires. However, dry chemical extinguishers may be abrasive and resistant to electronic equipment and certain other materials.

Carbon dioxide: Carbon dioxide operates by removing oxygen in the immediate area of the flame. For computer, medical and scientific equipment, and aircraft electronic equipment, carbon dioxide would be a better option than dry chemical extinguishers since a carbon dioxide extinguisher leaves no residue.

Metal/sand: Some class D fire extinguishers use sand or metal, such as sodium chloride (NaCl) or powdered copper metal, to smother fires from metals and metal alloys.

Special applications

Some fire hazards require technical extinguishers. Here are a couple examples of these programs.

Metal or sand extinguishers are Utilized to put out class D (metal and metal alloy) fires:

NaCl extinguishers work nicely with fires between magnesium, magnesium, potassium, metals of sodium and potassium, uranium, and powdered aluminum.


Sodium carbonate extinguishers can also be used on fires involving potassium, sodium, and alloys of potassium and sodium. Where stress corrosion of stainless steel is a consideration, this type of fire extinguisher would be a much better option than an NaCl extinguisher.

Powdered copper (Cu) metal is used for fires involving lithium and lithium alloys.
Graphite powder extinguishers are used on lithium fires as well as fires which involve high-melting-point metals such as titanium and zirconium.

Halotron I is a fresh agent replacement for Halon 1211, which was prohibited from use because of its ozone depleting properties. Halotron I extinguishers are used for extinguishing fires in computer rooms, clean rooms, and in which telecommunications equipment or electronics are found. Halotron leaves no residue and is nonconducting but is significantly more expensive than carbon dioxide. It must be noted that Halotron I shall no longer be produced after 2015.

FE-36 (CleanGuard) extinguishers are another clean agent replacement for Halon 1211. FE-36 extinguishers are somewhat less poisonous than Halon 1211 and Halotron I and allegedly don’t have any ozone-depleting potential. FE-36 can be used for fires in computer rooms, clean rooms, and where telecommunications equipment or electronics are found. Unlike Halotron I, FE-36 is not intended for phase-out.

Nonmagnetic fire extinguishers: Wherever strong connectors are in use, as an example, close magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometers (NMRSs), nonmagnetic fire extinguishers should be selected. The strong magnetic fields created by this type of equipment can cause steel cylinder fire extinguishers to fly across an area with lethal force.

It is crucial to ensure that you have the right fire extinguishers for your environment or potential fire risks. It can be the difference between whether your fire is removed or triggers a catastrophy.