Fire Extinguishers in Cold Outbuildings

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Fire Extinguishers in Cold Outbuildings

Postby Ekiwinox » 07 Dec 2016 23:01

If it is 12 degrees outside and I have a fire extinguisher in an unheated out building will it still work if I need it?
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Re: Fire Extinguishers in Cold Outbuildings

Postby kmussack » 08 Dec 2016 05:03

Another question to which the answer is; it depends.

Generally yes, some extinguishers will still work.
Modern dry chemical type extinguishers (ABC) are pressurized using nitrogen and although that charge will be of reduced pressure at lower temperatures it should still dispense the contents.
Carbon Dioxide extinguishers at low temperatures won't be as energetic but they should still function.
Pressurized water extinguishers may be another matter entirely. Don't expose these devices to sub freezing temperatures, ever. I know there's an antifreeze mix for them but don't count on it.
Clean Agent? Frankly I'm not sure.

When I get into work today I'll take a look at NFPA 10 and update this post with some real facts.
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Re: Fire Extinguishers in Cold Outbuildings

Postby Joe » 08 Dec 2016 08:46

GREAT question!
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Re: Fire Extinguishers in Cold Outbuildings

Postby kmussack » 08 Dec 2016 09:28

From NFPA10, Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers, 2013 Edition;

6.1.3.11 Fire extinguishers shall not be exposed to temperatures outside the listed temperature range shown on the fire extinguisher label.


Outside my office door is an extinguisher cabinet containing a dry chemical fire extinguisher. (ANSUL Sentry)
On its label it says;

SUITABLE FOR USE AT TEMPERATURES FROM -65 DEGREES F TO +120 DEGREES F


6.1.4.1 Fire extinguishers containing only plain water shall be protected to temperatures as low as -40 degrees F by addition of an antifreeze that is stipulated on the fire extinguisher nameplate.


At 12 degrees F your extinguishers, assuming they are in good working order, should function as advertised.

(Please be aware that extinguishers must be serviced periodically. Without this service there's no guarantee that they will work.)

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Re: Fire Extinguishers in Cold Outbuildings

Postby whls4legs » 08 Dec 2016 10:47

Wonderful. It's 11 degrees here today.

A good point. Never take them for granted. We hump half of them to a 'fire supply', (they have used fire engines, so I am not allowed to go, or there would be one in my yard), place in Springfield yearly. Regardless of the gauge reading. Rotation.

Catching and stopping fire at the outset saves lives and property. However, prevention is the habit to get into.
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