The Boating Forum - Will fire extinguishers freeze?

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View Full Version : Will fire extinguishers freeze?

01-21-2009, 06:45 AM
I was in the boat last night just to check things out. I realized i forgot to take both of my fire extinguishers out for the winter. It has been extremely cold (for here anyway) over the last few weeks. We had low's of 5. Will they be ok for next year... obviously i'll check the gauges. Just wondering if they freeze at any certain temp or if the chemical structure changes to render them useless. If not, am I ok to leave them in for the winter, or is it "best practice" to take them out.

I was very lazy this year. I usually empty the boat completely... everything that isn't screwed down comes out. This year, all i took out were the rods and tackle so they could get their winter service. I even left all my electronics onboard.

01-21-2009, 07:27 AM
ABC extinguishers aka dry chem are fine. It's only the non treated type A's that freeze.

01-21-2009, 07:29 AM
Will fire extinguishers freeze?

I don't believe so, they contain dry chemicals. Fire extinguishers are carried in or on cars and trucks subject to freezing temperatures.

To be sure, you can check the documentation that came with them or contact the manufacturer.

01-21-2009, 07:56 AM
Around here (NH) I see extinguishers carried on the *outside* of trucks all the time. Like Ron said, there's nothing in them that can freeze. They'll be fine.


01-21-2009, 08:57 AM
Only "Pressurised Water" fire extinguishers are at risk of freezing. They re good for wood and paper.

I have not seen one of these sold new, ever. But I am only 47 years old. There may be specialty circumstances where these are still the prefferred type but you would know if that applied to you.

Good luck!

01-21-2009, 09:08 AM
Halon freezes at -256
Carbon Dioxide at -71
nitrogen at - 320
so don't worry about it

01-21-2009, 10:23 AM

I have 3 of them type A's. One is treated not to freeze and hangs from the cabinet of my welder. When needed they do not make the mess a dry chem will. Yes they should only be used on a type A fire. (paper/fabric/wood, ect) You would be amazed how well they work as the stream penetrates what's burning and gets deep to the seat of the fire. Of course these are not used on a boat but every home should have one IMO.

It's knowing what's burning and then what to grab that's important. If in doubt or not 100% sure, grab an ABC rated unit.

01-21-2009, 11:02 AM
I work for a RailRoad and we leave Chem. ext. outside all winter long, never a problem.

01-21-2009, 09:54 PM
I think my ABC from Montgomery Ward is frozen. It still reads good on the gauge.

01-22-2009, 06:10 AM
While you are looking at the extinguisher, take a moment and turn it upside down, shake it a while and loosen up the will compress the innards and reduce the effectiveness of the least that is what I read somewhere.

01-22-2009, 06:20 AM
you should shake up dry chem extinguishers about once a month or so on a boat or every few months in a other condition. The dry-chem tends to pack at the bottom of the tank and does make it less effective. On a boat, the pounding tends to pack the dry-chem faster, thus the need to shake it up more often.

I don't believe this is an issue with halon and other engine mounted automatic chemicals that are not being used (someone speak up if this isn't correct)

01-23-2009, 08:09 AM
catfoiler - 1/21/2009 11:08 AM

Halon freezes at -256
Carbon Dioxide at -71
nitrogen at - 320
so don't worry about it

Yea, as long as we have this "Global Warming" thing going one we should be safe! ;)

01-24-2009, 07:29 PM
Check the nozzle for mud dauble nests - had to use a pencil to clean it out!

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