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How Often do Fire Extinguishers Need to be Hydrostatically Tested?

November 19 Fire Safety

Since a visual inspection alone is not enough to fully determine if a fire extinguisher is in optimal working condition, portable fire extinguishers have to be inspected and hydrostatically tested by a qualified professional. If you are unsure about how often fire extinguishers need to be hydrostatically tested, the professional team from EFAS can help ensure that your fire protection equipment is being properly maintained and tested to meet the highest standards.

Find out how often a fire extinguisher needs to be inspected.

What is Hydrostatic Testing?

Hydrostatic testing is the process of pressure testing rechargeable fire extinguisher components—shell, cylinder, hose assembly, etc.—with a liquid, such as water, in order to ensure that it has no leaks or structural flaws.

How Does Hydrostatic Testing Work?

In order to preform hydrostatic testing on a fire extinguisher, a professional will:

1. Perform a Visual Inspection

The fire extinguishers exterior will be inspected for any obvious flaws that could compromise the overall integrity of the cylinder. This includes looking for worn out or broken cylinder threads, corrosion, large dents, evidence of repair, or evidence of exposure to excessive heat.

2. Remove the Hose & Discharge the Extinguisher

The hose will be removed from the extinguisher and replaced with a hydrotest or recharge adaptor that is specifically designed to capture the contents of the fire extinguisher when it is being discharged. All of the contents will then be discharged so that no traces of the extinguishing agent are left.

3. Remove the Valve

After the fire extinguisher has been fully discharged, the valve will be removed so that the interior of the cylinder can be blown out and then inspected for any flaws, such as pitting, which could compromise the cylinder.

4. Perform a Pressure Test

The cylinder will then be filled with water and placed behind a protective shield or cage for safety purposes, while the hydrostatic test is underway. Using a protective shield or cage allows the cylinder’s test gauge to be safely monitored throughout the test. Any drops in pressure noted during the test indicate the cylinder has a leak and should be removed from service.

Once the test is finished, the cylinder will be drained and thoroughly dried before it is fully reassembled and refilled with the correct extinguishing agent. The fire extinguisher will then be pressurized and the tamper seal and hose will be reinstalled.

When do Fire Extinguishers Need to be Hydrostatically Tested?

Portable fire extinguishers have to be hydrostatically tested every five or 12 years, depending on the type of fire extinguisher. Fire extinguishers that need to be tested in five-year intervals include carbon dioxide, wet chemical, and foam dry system air leakage fire extinguishers, while dry chemical and clean agent extinguishers only have to be tested every 12 years.

If you would like to learn more about how often fire extinguishers need to be hydrostatically tested, or if you are interested in our fire protection equipment and services, please contact EFAS at 604-294-EFAS or toll free at 1-833-294-EFAS or by filling out a contact form on our website.