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  1. #1
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    May 2005
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    1,087
    Location
    Eastern WA
    Tractor
    Jinma JM354

    Default Refilling Dry chemical Fire Extinguishers

    Can a guy buy the chemical and refill his own fire extinguishers? Has anyone done this ? What's all invovled in doing this? bjr

  2. #2
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    130
    Location
    GA/ western NC
    Tractor
    Kubota L3010DT

    Default Re: Refilling Dry chemical Fire Extinguishers

    I refilled dry chemical fire extinguishers in the Air Force for a short time and for a private company for about a year. This was thirty years ago. Most non-industry (home owner) extinguishers now are throw aways and use mostly plastic valves and other parts. I know that many are still refilled by professional companies but I wouldn't think the small ones would be worth it.

    To refill them the valves are taken apart and cleaned along with the "O" rings and threads in the cylinder. A weighed charge of the correct type powder is added and everything is put back together and pressurized with dry nitrogen. The cylinders are also inspected for a hydrostatic test date that has to be with a certain range. Used to be ten years I think. Then they are checked for leaks. I have never heard of a source for the powder for sale to an unlicensed dealer and doubt you can find anyone to sell it to you because of liability issues. Be careful if you try it...they can blow up.

  3. #3
    Veteran Member
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    Jul 2005
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    1,924
    Location
    NH seacoast & Coos County
    Tractor
    Kioti DK45S

    Default Re: Refilling Dry chemical Fire Extinguishers

    bjr, I service about 1200 fire extinguishers a year, refilling at least 300. The biggest problem that you will encounter is pressurizing to 195 psi. We use bottled nitrogen via a regulator. Air works if it's dry enough. You can buy the powder from any of the manufacturers but unless you're filling quite a few it won't be economical. We buy 2 tons per delivery in 5 gallon/45lb buckets. The yellow pages should provide a service center near you if you have just a few extinguishers to fill. If there's nothing in the yellow pages look at the extinguisher tags in a dept store (the ones on the wall for emergencies - not the ones for sale), many stores rent extinguishers with a service contract & will have a vendor label. If you fill your own you need to completely disassemble & clean the valve, which is easy to do. If not completely clean the pressure will bleed off. Send me a PM if you want more detailed info. Mike

  4. #4
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Posts
    438
    Location
    Adna, WA
    Tractor
    kubota

    Default Re: Refilling Dry chemical Fire Extinguishers

    It is not worth any where near the hassle let alone the cost.

    As mentioned plastic head ones are throwaways, and the time and effort to clean and refill a metal head extinguisher is way time consuming. Also if you refill the extinguisher it can now virtually only be for use at your home. Not your business or commercial vehicle,because you are not certified.

    Make it easy on yourself and go to Costco and buy a new 10 pound one for $17.99 or so.

    steve
    Kubota L3430HST with 723 loader and 6'bucket, Greenline 6", 9" & 12" post hole digger, Land Pride 5' Brush hog, toothbar, 72" land Pride box blade, canopy, Kuhn 6' rototiller, 8' landscape rake, post driver, WOODS BH90x with hydraulic thrumb.

  5. #5
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
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    1,924
    Location
    NH seacoast & Coos County
    Tractor
    Kioti DK45S

    Default Re: Refilling Dry chemical Fire Extinguishers

    It's myth buster time....

    Fire extinguishers will not explode during filling unless significantly overpressurized and/or corroded which should be detected by a visual inspection.

    Refilling requires no license or certification.Applicable codes require the person to be "knowledegable".

    Refilling is not complicated. Admittidly I have a vacuum filling station, but can service 20 lb stored pressure extinguishers all day at 10-12 per hour.

    Many plastic head extinguishers are refillable.

    Vendors will sell you powder & parts. Most want you to use their brand of powder which is a good idea since the flow characteristics suite their design and are not all powders are chemically compatible.

  6. #6
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    130
    Location
    GA/ western NC
    Tractor
    Kubota L3010DT

    Default Re: Refilling Dry chemical Fire Extinguishers

    As long as we are clearing up myths...Fire extinguishers can and do explode during routine refilling. See the Kidde recall at this site... http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml05/05589.html and also many local governments and some states do require licensing and certification to refill any fire extinguisher.

  7. #7
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Posts
    62
    Tractor
    John Deere 790

    Default Re: Refilling Dry chemical Fire Extinguishers

    my .02 - if you don't know the last time the bottle was hydro tested and you haven't done it before then either have a reputiple business refill it for you or toss the old one and splurge 30 or 40 bucks on a new one.
    John Deere 790
    70 series FEL
    LandPride back blade
    Woods XT160 - 6' brush hog

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