Do I Need a Home Fire Extinguisher?


Having a home fire extinguisher on hand is an invaluable tool for keeping your family and property safe from fire-related damage. It is important to choose the right type of fire extinguisher, as they come in various capacities and are designed to combat different types of fires. Taking the time to properly install the fire extinguisher makes it easily accessible in case of an emergency and helps ensure that you can safely and quickly respond to a house fire.

Types of Fire Extinguishers

Fire extinguishers come in different classes to designate the specific kinds of fires they are best at extinguishing. There are five main types of fire extinguishers. These include:

  • A Fire Extinguishers: Used for materials such as cloth, wool, and paper.
  • B Fire Extinguishers: Designed to be used on combustible flammable liquids such as grease, gasoline, oil, and oil-based paints.
  • C Fire Extinguishers: Used for electrical equipment such as appliances, tools, and other devices that can be plugged in.
  • D Fire Extinguishers: Designed to be used on flammable metals, D fire extinguishers are usually found in factories.
  • K Fire Extinguishers: Used on vegetable oils, animal oils, and fats in cooking appliances. Typically, these extinguishers are found in restaurants, cafeterias, and catering businesses.

Out of these types of fire extinguishers, types A, B, and C are best suited for homes. There are also multipurpose fire extinguishers labeled as “B-C” or “A-B-C” that can be implemented in homes as well. Before purchasing a fire extinguisher for electrical fires, be sure it is a C or ABC fire extinguisher. Using the wrong class of fire extinguisher can worsen a fire.

Recommended Fire Extinguisher Size

Aside from different classes, fire extinguishers also come in different sizes. Selecting the appropriate size for you home can help you maneuver quickly with the right fire extinguisher to protect you and your loved ones.

In general, the heavier a fire extinguisher is, the more extinguishing power it holds. However, moving a 10-pound fire extinguisher can slow you down in a stressful situation. In terms of home use, a 5-pound canister is recommended. This size is easier to move with and can be used comfortably in smaller rooms such as the kitchen.

How Many Fire Extinguishers Do I Need in My Home?

It is recommended to have at least one fire extinguisher near your kitchen. If your home has multiple levels, installing a fire extinguisher within each level is recommended as well. Keep kitchen fire extinguishers near the entrance of the kitchen. This allows you to keep it away from danger but also easily accessible. The same rule applies for fire extinguishers around other parts of your home. Installing fire extinguishers near exits and entrances allows you to easily use it while having a clear path to exit if needed.

How to Use a Fire Extinguisher

Installing a fire extinguisher in your home is only the first step. Learning to use a fire extinguisher and teaching others in your household to feel comfortable with this necessary safety tool is also critical.

Fire extinguishers can be used by following four steps, known as PASS:

  • Pull the pin and hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointed away from you. This will release the locking mechanism.
  • Aim low and point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
  • Squeeze the lever evenly and slowly.
  • Sweep the nozzle from side to side.

Always call the fire department before using your fire extinguisher. It’s important to also remember that not all fires can be put out yourself. If you determine that you cannot extinguish a fire, leave the house immediately with your family members and pets. Close the door to contain the fire and do not enter until firefighters have determined it is safe to do so.

Fire Extinguisher Maintenance

Fire extinguishers generally last about 10-12 years. Some models can be professionally recharged to extend their life. However, if a fire extinguisher is stored in temperatures below -40 degrees or above 120 degrees Fahrenheit, it may degrade more quickly.

Fire extinguishers should be checked once a month after installation. If your fire extinguisher is stored in a location where it is more prone to damage, you should inspect it more often. As you maintain your fire extinguisher, be sure to:

  • Make certain that the locking pin is intact
  • Check inside and around the nozzle for rust, leaks, or obstructions
  • Examine the pressure gauge to make sure it is in the operating green range
  • Clean the outside of the fire extinguisher to keep it free of dirt, oil, dust, or grease

Equipping your home with the proper fire extinguisher(s) and taking other safety measures can help protect you, your family, and property from fire-related damage. Being aware of why a home fire extinguisher is important and how to properly use one can make all the difference in the event of an emergency. With the right preparation, you can confidently respond when faced with the threat of a house fire.

If you have further concerns about home safety or need electrical installations and maintenance, reach out to Lightning Bug Electric. Our team has over 25 years of experience ensuring that your electrical system is safe and effective.

Call (404) 471-3847 or contact us online today!