What Is Hydrostatic Testing Of Fire Extinguishers?

Fire safety measures are essential for every commercial building to keep its occupants and overall facility safe. An integral part of a fire prevention strategy remains fire extinguishers that require regular preventative maintenance, like any other fire suppression system. One of the primary tests for these appliances is fire extinguisher hydrostatic testing. Let’s look at the main features of the fire extinguisher test in the article.

What is hydrostatic testing?

Fire extinguishers’ hydrostatic testing is designed to check the efficiency and safety of pressurized fire extinguishers. Multiple commercial business owners wonder how to test a fire extinguisher – this testing is done on rechargeable tanks to assess the fire extinguisher cylinder’s capability to hold pressure. Hydrostatic fire extinguishers testing also evaluates general strength and any leaks on a cylinder.

What types of fire extinguishers need to be hydrostatically tested?

Any rechargeable fire extinguisher needs to be hydrostatically tested, even though the frequency of testing fire extinguishers depends on their types. Generally, a fire extinguishers test every five years is advisable for wet chemical, pressurized water, and carbon dioxide fire extinguishers. 

On the other hand, testing every 12 years is sufficient for any dry chemical fire extinguishers. If you own a commercial facility and want to schedule hydrostatic testing, determine which types of fire extinguishers are your best bet. Even though most commercial buildings involve dry chemical fire extinguishers, such as ABC, other types of fire extinguishers are typical for commercial kitchen areas and specific hazards.

What are the steps for hydrostatic testing of fire extinguishers?

A typical hydrostatic test consists of several stages:

1. The first phase involves verifying the corrosion presence, as well as the condition of fire extinguisher threads, which is crucial for visual inspection of the extinguisher’s exterior.

2. The extinguisher’s content will be discharged until empty after hose removal and replacement with either a recharging adapter or hydrotest.

3. The next stage is removing the valve and blowing out any traces of fire suppression material by using an air hose.

4. An extinguisher should be inspected internally at the expense of checking the presence of any defects that might affect the ability to maintain pressure.

5. The tank is filled with water, and then it is exposed to pressure between 125 and 150 percent of operational capacity for conducting a pressure test itself. Once the pressure is decreased during a test, a fire extinguisher should be decommissioned as the risk of tank leaks is high.

6. After the water is drained, a fire extinguisher is refilled with a new fire suppression agent.

7. If a hydrostatic test is passed successfully, the appropriate decal will be applied on a fire extinguisher surface.

8. The final testing phases include the re-pressurization of an appliance to a specific operational capacity.

9. Safety components are re-installed at the end of testing, and then a fire extinguisher is put back in the use of a facility.