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Dispose of fire extinguishers - so you do everything right

  • The norm
  • Brandklassen
  • identification
  • Types of fire extinguishers
  • Extinguishing agent & service life
  • maintenance
  • Dispose of fire extinguisher

Fire extinguishers have an expiry date - Once purchased, they stand there and are forgotten: fire extinguishers. For the one they are annoying inventory, for the other they are life-saving. Unfortunately, fire extinguishers have an expiration date if they have not been used before. Expired fire extinguishers can not work properly in an emergency. So either, if possible, recharge or dispose. In this guide you will learn everything you need to know for the handling and disposal of the fire extinguishers.

Not nice, but necessary

Fire extinguishers are truly no eye-catcher. Anyone who thinks he has to make his fire extinguisher more attractive or stylish, that is already said here at this point that the red color is prescribed. Most of them are in private households somewhere in a corner, in the basement or in the garage. No matter where, the unloved objects are somehow always in the way. Even more, they delight us when we find you in clearing out. The question always remains: where to go "> The norm

Portable fire extinguishers have been approved in Germany since 1992 according to DIN NORM DIN EN 3. In 2005, the newly created fire class F (= edible fat) made a revision necessary. If your fire extinguisher is still approved according to DIN 14406, you do not need to dispose of it immediately. These devices are still approved in Germany. The main innovation of DIN EN 3 is testing the extinguishing capacity of a fire extinguisher. Checked today is no longer based on test objects on the capacity. Next omitted the code letters on the devices. Identification letters stand for the extinguishing agent, ie "W" for water or aqueous solution or "S" for foam.


Fire classes indicate the suitability of extinguishing agents in portable fire extinguishers, or more simply: What can I extinguish with my fire extinguisher? The most famous representative of its kind is probably the ABC fire extinguisher. It clears solids, liquids and gases. But if the cooking oil catches fire, then an ABC fire extinguisher is useless and in the worst case can increase the fire.

Tip: DO NOT extinguish burning frying fat with water! This is the worst thing you can do. With such a deletion attempt, they cause an enormous fireball, which will cause the heaviest injuries and fire damage. Even blankets, even fire blankets, are often overwhelmed by the heat of burning grease. Extinguish a burning frying pan or fryer exclusively with air deprivation. This can be achieved by covering the burning pan with the appropriate lid. Also remove the pan from the stove and turn it off.

There are currently 5 fire classes:

A = solids
such as wood, paper, coal or car tires

B = liquids
such as gasoline, resins, waxes, ethers or alcohols

C = gases
such as methane, propane or hydrogen

D = metals
such as magnesium, aluminum

F = edible fat
Especially for fires of oils and fats.

The fire class E (= electrical low-voltage systems) was abolished. All today's fire extinguishers can be used in low-voltage systems. Incidentally, the applicability to fire classes also applies to extinguishing sprays or fire blankets.


Fire extinguishers have five title blocks according to DIN EN 3.

  • the word fire extinguisher, the capacity, type of extinguishing agent and its extinguishing power
  • the instruction manual in written form and as a pictogram and the fire classification for which the extinguisher is suitable
  • the warning for use in electrical installations
  • the description of the extinguishing agent, the propellant, the functional range, the type designation and the number of the approval or approval number - the latter consists of the corresponding DIN standard and a number (In Germany, all fire extinguishers must have an approval number.)
  • the information about the manufacturer

Types of fire extinguishers

Here, a distinction is made according to the type of pressure generation. Today one encounters especially on Aufladelöscher and permanent pressure extinguishers (permanent extinguishers).


Charge extinguishers consist of two containers: one for the extinguishing agent and one for the propellant gas. When using this extinguisher, a connection must first be established between the two containers. The propellant gas must first pressurize the extinguishing agent. Depending on the extinguishing agent (carbon dioxide, powder or water), it may take up to 18 seconds for the necessary pressure to be generated.

When permanent pressure extinguishers are extinguishing agent and propellant together in a container. So there is a permanent pressure. Therefore these devices can be used immediately. He is also built much less technical effort. These extinguishers represent the reasonably priced standard class. They have the disadvantage that the container is constantly under pressure. This can cause the propellant gas to escape and make the extinguisher unusable. Therefore, maintenance is highly recommended here.

Charge extinguishers are slightly more expensive to buy, but have lower maintenance costs than permanent extinguishers. Also, your life is longer. It is 25 years, the permanent extinguisher is 20 years. Another advantage of the charger is that they are refillable, with permanent pressure extinguishers is not. After use, a new device must be purchased.

Extinguishing agent & service life

Fire extinguishers are generally overestimated during working hours. Depending on the extinguishing agent and weight, it is between 5 and 50 seconds. Despite this short rather short working time, a fire extinguisher must also have a breaker. Who wants to extend the working time on the weight, so the size - extinguishers must be under 20 pounds heavy.

Carbon dioxide extinguisher:

  • 2 kg: 5 - 10 seconds

Water mist extinguisher:

  • 2 kg: 20 seconds
  • 6 kg: 50 seconds

Water, powder and foam extinguishers:

  • up to 3 kg: 6 seconds
  • 3 - 6 kg: 9 seconds
  • 6 - 12 kg: 12 seconds
  • over 10 kg: 15 seconds

In addition to a "long" service life, water mist eliminators have the further advantage that they are also suitable for fire classification F (edible fat). This is possible because the water is sprayed as a mist. It is not erased in the traditional sense with water.


Fire extinguishers should be checked every two years. The proper function of the fire extinguisher and the safety during use are checked. Permanent extinguishers must also be checked after 10 years in accordance with § 32 Pressure Vessel Ordinance. This review is costly and therefore unprofitable. The inspection is carried out by a certified expert. These are employees of manufacturers of fire extinguishers or independent testing services. You can find them on the Yellow Pages, on the Internet or ask your local fire brigade if they can name you a specialist. The cost of maintenance (excluding spare parts) is between 15 and 30 euros.

Tip: In hardware stores you can buy fire extinguishers as a bargain. These are then not brand name devices and usually permanent pressure extinguishers. These inexpensive extinguishers usually cost about as much as the maintenance. With such a device, it should be considered to renew it completely every two years. However, the disposal costs should also be taken into account. For permanent pressure extinguishers from brand manufacturers, biennial maintenance is recommended. However, one thing remains the same with this type of device: it can only be tested from the outside, ie hose and triggering device for damage, the container for rust attack and a pressure test can be carried out.

Charge extinguishers can be tested so to speak "from the inside". For example, the powder is removed, its condition checked (trickle-free) and the weight weighed. The compressed gas cartridge is weighed and its weight noted on the cartridge. So after two years it can be determined if any gas has escaped.
The seal and the attached badge tell you that the fire extinguisher has been serviced.

Dispose of fire extinguisher

At least after 20 to 25 years, depending on the type of fire extinguisher, the device must be disposed of. After all, you do not want to run the risk of the fire extinguisher not working in the event of a fall. But where does one dispose of a fire extinguisher "> Fire extinguishers are hazardous waste. For one thing, this is due to its housing, which despite the high proportion of steel can be contaminated with pollutants. Above all, however, the fillings (such as foam, powder or carbon dioxide) are subject to disposal.

Fire extinguishers can be disposed of at various locations: Fire prevention companies or recycling centers are the most common points of sale. However, before you bring your fire extinguisher to the recycling center, inquire as to whether your specialist waste disposal company accepts the device. Not every landfill has the necessary approvals to dispose of fire extinguishers. The cost of disposal is about 10 euros on average. It is therefore advisable to take into account price fluctuations and ask questions first. If you can not find a way to dispose of your fire extinguisher in your area, then this is also possible via the Internet. Some fire protection companies offer this service: Simply send the fire extinguisher by mail. - Cost-technically, this variant is the most expensive, not least because the shipping costs must be paid. At the recycling depots prices fluctuate between 0 and 30 euros.

Tip: If you need to dispose of several fire extinguishers, a discussion with a specialist dealer may be worthwhile. If larger quantities are used, there may be a willingness to accept the old devices for free. Here it is particularly useful to know the regular disposal prices in advance.

Take him to the bedroom

If you want to take care of your red fire extinguisher, you should also check the location immediately. Fire extinguishers serve primarily to combat emerging fires. This also means that the fire extinguisher should be at hand. Otherwise there is a risk that the fire has already spread before you have taken your fire extinguisher out of the garage. Since we spend most of our time in the bedroom, you should find a place for your fire extinguisher there. Also remember that guests may need to find and use the fire extinguisher. Fire extinguishers can only save lives if they are findable.

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