A fire extinguisher should last for between 5 and 15 years. Regular monthly checks of the pressure gauge are recommended, according to Real Simple, to ensure that the fire extinguisher is still operational.
A fire extinguisher is a good idea for any home, and often a requirement for small businesses. These bright red canisters contain a flame retardant under pressure, which is what propels it from the extinguisher when the lever is compressed. However, fire extinguishers do not have an infinite lifespan. The average extinguisher remains in good condition between 5 to 15 years. It is also a good idea to check that the needle on the pressure gauge is in the green zone, which indicates that the pressure is still good. This lifespan varies greatly depending on its condition.
There are a number of factors which can affect the condition of a fire extinguisher, drastically shortening its lifespan. The rubber hose or valves may crack or break open, the locking pin on the lever may come out, or the lever itself may be loose or broken. Fire extinguishers in small businesses and public buildings should be inspected on a monthly or annual basis to ensure that they are in good working condition. Once inspected, they receive a sticker with the inspection date. If that sticker is out-of-date, then consider the fire extinguisher suspect.