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We are talking about getting fire extinguishers for the various areas of our house. One place where it seems a fire extinguisher would be a good idea is the garage. I also plan on adding a shed to the property this summer, and I would like to put a fire extinguisher in there as well.

However, our garage is uninsulated, and it is not uncommon for the winter temperature to go below 0F. So, I am concerned how the cold will affect the extinguisher.

Will regular exposure to cold damage the unit? (e.g. My lawn mower catches on fire during the summer, will the extinguisher still work properly?)

Will it still be able to put out a garage fire effectively during freezing temps, or will the fire suppressant be frozen solid?

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Remember to put your fire extinguisher where you can reach it if there's a fire. For example, if it's over the stove and there's a stove fire, it's out of reach. Try near a doorway, so you can get it without entering the burning room. –  Jay Bazuzi Feb 10 '11 at 2:10
    
I'd be more concerned about heat than cold. I know you're not supposed to keep them in your car in the Summer due to temperature range restrictions. Have never heard any cold temperature warnings. –  Brian Knoblauch Feb 14 '11 at 13:10
    
The max storage temp on an extinguisher seem to be 120F. It is certainly possible to exceed that in a car on a hot day. –  msemack Mar 8 '11 at 12:12
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2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Anecdotal I guess, but I've had a fire extinguisher out in my barn for years now and it's never been a problem. Being in Michigan, it regularly gets below 0F. Granted, I've never actually tried to use it, but I think the freezing point of the chemicals in there is way below zero.

ETA:

Looking at this page it seems like the operating temp of a typical ABC extinguisher is going to be -65F to 120F.

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I was struggling to find the info on Kidde's web site, but never thought to look at Amerex. And the datasheet for the Amerex extinguishers does confirm that OPERATING temp is indeed -65F to +120F (I was concerned about storage vs operating temp). amerex-fire.com/pages/… –  msemack Feb 11 '11 at 14:05
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Keep in mind that garage fires tend toward burning liquids (gasoline, paint, etc.) and electrical equipment (vehicle wiring, shop tools, air compressors, etc.). These are class B and C fires, so you want a fire extinguisher that is higher rated for those fire classes.

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