There's a fire extinguisher in my apartment that has been neglected to be inspected in years. I was planning to finally drive to get it checked, but noticed the gauge is in the red area showing high pressure. Now I'm concerned about it exploding.

Is it safe to manipulate with so that I can bring it to a car, drive it somewhere, take it out and get it checked? If not, what should I do to maximize my safety?

(I should mention that while it's in the red area, it's near the start of it.)

  • 1
    Get a fire extinguisher company to look at it. They have the knowledge that you obviously don’t and insurance coverage. If you interfere with it and damage the surroundings you might be liable…
    – Solar Mike
    Apr 9, 2022 at 9:50
  • Or even the local fire department.
    – crip659
    Apr 9, 2022 at 10:47
  • 2
    Most pressurize containers will have pressure change with temperature change. Pressure rises with temperature rise, so if it is in a warmer section(sun, heater), moving it to a cooler section of the room/home should drop the pressure some.
    – crip659
    Apr 9, 2022 at 12:46
  • 2
    A dry chemical fire extinguisher pressurized with air (or nitrogen) should have an overpressure relief, e.g. a burst disc. (Firefighters don't want extinguishers exploding in fires.) Nothing in the device should cause the pressure to rise other than Boyle's law changes due to increased temperature. Other types of extinguishers, e.g. pressurized water, may have other failure modes due to internal corrosion, ... . As noted in Encerwal's answer there is a considerable safety margin engineered in to allow for high temperatures during shipping and handling. What type do you have? How old is it?
    – HABO
    Apr 9, 2022 at 14:15

1 Answer 1


If it's a consumer-grade (non-refillable, non-serviceable, use once) that is your personal property, just buy a new one, and discharge and dispose of this one if it concerns you. Be aware that it will make a mess when discharged, so choose an appropriate location for that. You can enlist the aid of your local fire department as suggested in comments, but the slight overpressure (or misreading gauge) will solve itself as soon as you discharge it. If it's serviceable, same, but then get it serviced & refilled. Note that you cannot "partly discharge it" to relieve the excess pressure and then return it to service - the valves won't seal without a full servicing, and it will leak down to uselessness (as well as not having its full rated charge.)

If it's the responsibility of or owned by the apartment building/complex, ask them to get it dealt with. It's their responsibility, not yours.

To the best of my recall typical extinguisher pressure vessel test pressures are at least twice the operating/service pressure, so "near the start of the red" is not anywhere near "about to explode."

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