Imagine this. After doing a ton of fun modifications to your car or truck, you realize you should probably get an extinguisher. You go to the hardware store, pick one up for $20, and install it in your build. You feel great because you have taken that extra step to protect all your hard work. Then the worst-case scenario happens, you are out on the trail or track and you see smoke coming from your engine! You pull over, grab your extinguisher, and you put out the fire quickly. However, in the aftermath, your engine is covered in a fine, white power. You do a quick internet search and realize the dry chemical you just discharged in your very special, and very expensive build is corrosive and can possibly damage your electronics.
We get calls all the time from people who have had been through this exact scenario and don’t want to deal with the extensive clean-up, and potential damage again. They often run an online search for "fire extinguisher no mess" or "fire extinguisher no residue" and our HalGuard comes up. Perhaps that is what led you to this blog post!
We offer our HalGuard clean agent line specifically for automotive use because we understand all the hard work automotive enthusiasts put into their projects. And we understand the heartbreak of losing months or years of work to a fire. Our HalGuard extinguishers contain a clean agent gas that is non-conductive, non-corrosive, and leaves no residue. It’s a fire extinguisher rated for flammable liquids and electronics, the two most common fire hazards in an automotive environment. So it’s safe to use in your engine and it’s an ideal fire extinguisher for live electrical equipment. The agent inside is liquid while under pressure, but once discharged the liquid rapidly turns into a gas, flooding the area.
HalGuard vs CO2
Some customers have asked about the difference between the clean agent in our HalGuard extinguishers versus a CO2 extinguisher, and which fire extinguisher is best for a car. While both provide similar hazard ratings (flammable liquids and electrical) and leave no mess, there are a few main differences that we feel make HalGuard a better choice for the automotive environment.
- HalGuard causes no thermal or static shock to electronics, whereas CO2 does carry this risk.
- HalGuard extinguishers carry a much lower PSI compared to CO2. 125psi vs 800-900 psi respectively.
- HalGuard extinguishers have a longer discharge range than CO2, meaning they allow you to stand at a farther, and safer, distance when putting out a fire.
- CO2 extinguishers are more bulky and heavy than HalGuard extinguishers of the same UL rating. Also, CO2 extinguishers are not offered in sizes below 5 lbs.
The most important factor is your personal safety so it is important to consider how each of these agents extinguishes the fire. Putting out a fire requires interrupting the chemical chain reaction of fuel, heat, and oxygen. CO2 extinguishers work by displacing the oxygen in the area. This effect of displacing oxygen makes them less safe to use in confined spaces where a person is present. HalGuard disrupts this reaction by cooling the fuel source. This difference makes it safer to use in confined spaces, however, you should always air out the area as soon as possible after extinguishing the fire.
Some Myths You May Have HeardThere are a lot of myths and urban legends around fire extinguishers and the different types of agents. Unfortunately, HalGuard and the agent inside are no exception. Some of these are pure fantasy while others are a result of people getting the different types of extinguishers confused.
Myth 1 - HalGuard extinguishers will remove oxygen and suffocate you
As we learned earlier this is a risk with CO2 extinguishers because they displace oxygen in the area. This is not how HalGuard works.
Myth 2 - HalGuard is heat-seeking and will be drawn to the fire
If you watch a UL test or demonstration of a HalGuard you might be tempted to think this. Because it’s a gaseous agent it fills the area and is great at getting into nooks and crannies. This makes it great for fighting ‘hidden fires’ in hard-to-reach places. While it is technically not ‘heat seeking’ it has the advantage of being able to better penetrate small spaces and areas that might be missed by traditional dry chemical extinguishers that simply coat the surface area.
Myth 3 - Will my HalGuard fire extinguisher explode in a hot car?
We often get this question. This myth has some basis in reality but there are very few cases and it has never happened with any of our products. The rare cases we have seen involved non-UL-listed products made of low-quality materials. All the extinguishers in our product line are UL listed and made with all metal parts for key components. They undergo a rigorous testing process that includes a pressure test three times the operating pressure. If your extinguisher is frequently subjected to temperatures above 120 degrees you should have the 6-year maintenance done annually as frequent exposure to these temperatures can cause premature wear on the seals. While they won’t explode, a damaged seal can lead to leakage.
Myth 4 - Are HalGuard extinguishers effective on Class A fires?
Our HalGuard fire extinguishers are UL Listed and rated for flammable liquid fires (class B) and for live electrical fires (class C). Unlike our 2.5 lb. and larger MaxOut extinguishers, our 1.4 lb., 2.5 lb. and 5 lb. HalGuard extinguishers are not rated for fires involving common combustibles like wood, paper and rubber (class A). However, the extinguishing agent in HalGuard IS rated for class A fires, and as the Youtuber, Just Plane Silly discovered recently, even our smallest 1.4 lb. HalGuard extinguisher can extinguish several small class A fires.
See our blog post 7 Common Automotive Fire Extinguisher Myths for more.
What Else You Need To KnowBy now you probably realize all the practical advantages of a HalGuard extinguisher. But our motto is ‘safety can be exciting!’ So we offer our HalGuard in red, black or chrome finish.
We recommend the 2.5 lb. size for most vehicles. However, if you are extremely limited on space and cannot accommodate this size the smaller 1.4 lb. is still sufficient. If you have a larger truck, van, RV or trailer you should consider the 5 lb. size as you will get more than twice the firefighting power of the 2.5 lbs size. Our general guideline is to go with the largest size your vehicle will accommodate.
We also offer an array of optional mounts that boast quick-release features and look sleek and clean. Our Extreme Duty mounts are designed for the toughest applications and can withstand inertia loads in excess of 27G, with a quick-release pin and flag feature our customers love. The ProLock is another popular option, made from machined billet aluminum with a lever-action locking/release mechanism that is quick and easy to use.
Other fun facts about HalGuard
- It has a relatively high boiling point of 80.6 degrees Fahrenheit, which gives it an advantage over other clean extinguishing agents, which tend to have lower boiling points and therefore evaporate sooner.
- It is also used in aviation and can be found in sizes from a 2.5 lb. handheld portable extinguisher to a 150 lb. wheeled unit extinguisher for the flight line. If it meets the most demanding aviation standards, you know you are getting the best for your vehicle.
While having any fire extinguisher is certainly better than nothing, it is worthwhile to put a little bit of thought into which type is best suited to your needs. For high-value vehicles, those with a lot of modification and even daily drivers it pays to have a quality extinguisher that will not make a mess or cause damage. You want to protect your investment and your life with something high quality that will not cause you further headaches aside from fire damage. For these scenarios, HalGuard is the right choice.
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