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post #1 of 43 Old 12-11-2012 Thread Starter
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CO2 fire extinguisher?

I have a large CO2 fire extinguisher that I am not using. It will fit in an unused space adjacent to my engine space. I could easily rig it to discharge into there. Is there a reason I should not use it on the boat? Halon would be better I guess but I already have this and could use the money on other things. I do have 3 dry chemical extinguishers located, I hope, where they will be accessible in emergencies but the powder would not be fun to clean up should the need ever arise.

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post #2 of 43 Old 12-11-2012
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Re: CO2 fire extinguisher?

CO2 is clean but it is an asphyxiant (it suffocates), so if you ever use it down below, get to fresh air and ventilate the space before re-entering. CO2 flood systems on commercial vessels always have audible and visual alarms. Halon is no longer available due to its ozone depleting effects.
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post #3 of 43 Old 12-11-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: CO2 fire extinguisher?

Jim,

An alarm is a must.

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post #4 of 43 Old 12-11-2012
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Re: CO2 fire extinguisher?

I put in a port which I could direct an extinguisher into the engine compartment, might work with CO2 if it were larger. Less CO2 spread to where you are and I like not using dry chemicals that will gum up the electrics and wiring.

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post #5 of 43 Old 12-11-2012
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Re: CO2 fire extinguisher?

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Originally Posted by downeast450 View Post
I have a large CO2 fire extinguisher that I am not using. It will fit in an unused space adjacent to my engine space. I could easily rig it to discharge into there....

From the foregoing phraseology, I am assuming you mean you could rig the extinguisher to discharge into the engine space. There is no reason not to do that assuming you have an engine cutoff that includes shutting down the engine space blowers. Otherwise the stuff will be vented as fast as it's discharged which would be rather contra-productive.

We have an automatic Xintex Fireboy Halitron system that discharges if the engine space reaches a stipulated temperature. It also illuminates an alarm light; triggers and audible alarm; and, activates the engine shut-down which disables the vent blowers as well. Within the confines of the cabin, the CO2 could displace sufficient ambient air to make breathing difficult or impossible if there is enough of it to entirely fill the space. At roughly 3x the molecular weight of Air however, unless you have a fantastic amount of the stuff, it will mostly lay on the deck until it's disbursed and so shouldn't be a problem. Mechanical (i.e. fan assisted) venting is, however, advisable. We have several CO2 fire extinguishers aboard, as well as Halitron (which is the legal replacement for Halon) such that we have a useful extinguisher in each space aboard the boat.

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post #6 of 43 Old 12-11-2012
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Re: CO2 fire extinguisher?

Halotron release also poses an asphyxiation risk. Portable Halotron extinguishers are marked with the minimum space requirements for use - the minimum room volume. A five pounder, for example, cannot be used in a room less than 700 cubic feet. This is larger that quite a few sailboat cabins.

I have both dry chemical and CO2 aboard, and probably would go for the CO2 first - in the event of an engine fire it would likely snuff it out like a candle, pushing out all the Oxygen without having to shoot directly at the fuel source.

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post #7 of 43 Old 12-11-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: CO2 fire extinguisher?

Our discussion has moved me to consider replacing the bilge blower I now have. The blower that came with the boat is a remote mount squirrel cage that may not be ignition protected. It is mounted outside the engine space. Moving the blower into my engine space, aft of the shaft coupling, by using an ignition protected in-line blower seems to make sense. That space is not currently used and will give me a little more room to mount the CO2 bottle.

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Re: CO2 fire extinguisher?

Down, can you elaborate on what you mean by "ignition protected"?

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post #9 of 43 Old 12-11-2012
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Re: CO2 fire extinguisher?

A friend, who fought a major fire on his boat, said dry chem was useless, compared to CO2. He uses only C02 extinguishers now.

Brent Swain, Boat designer, Builder, and author of "Origami Metal Boatbuilding"
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post #10 of 43 Old 12-11-2012
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Re: CO2 fire extinguisher?

My first choice of hand held to grab would be a Co2 as you do not have a mess to clean. Prevent a fire in the first place is always the best way to fight them. Regards, Lou452
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