What Are Water Fire Extinguishers Used For and How to Use Them

A water fire extinguisher is a type of fire extinguisher that uses water as the extinguishing agent to suppress and extinguish Class A fires involving ordinary combustible materials.

Water fire extinguishers are commonly used for Class A fires, which involve ordinary inflammable materials like wood, plastics, cloths and papers. They are an effective tool in combating fires in residential, commercial, and public settings.

Equip yourself with knowledge about water fire extinguishers and their uses. Be prepared to handle Class A fires effectively and protect yourself and your surroundings.

What Are Water Fire Extinguishers Used For

How Do Water Fire Extinguishers Work?

Water extinguishers are mainly used to suppress Class A fires. They utilize water as the primary extinguishing agent to suppress and extinguish fires. Here is a breakdown of how water extinguishers work:

Cooling Effect

Water is an excellent conductor of heat. When applied to a fire, it absorbs heat energy from the fire’s surroundings. This heat absorption lowers the temperature of the fuel and the surrounding area.

It reduces fire’s intensity and limits its ability to sustain combustion. The cooling effect is crucial in removing the fire’s heat source and preventing further spread.

Smothering Effect

Water extinguishers also create a smothering effect by displacing oxygen. As water is sprayed onto the fire, it forms a barrier between the fuel and the surrounding air, cutting off the fire’s access to oxygen. 

Since oxygen is necessary for combustion, depriving the fire of this essential element helps to suppress and eventually extinguish it.

Vapor Dilution

Water helps dilute flammable vapors in the case of fires involving flammable liquids. When water comes into contact with flammable liquids, it vaporizes and rises as steam. 

This steam helps to dilute the concentration of flammable vapors above the liquid, reducing their flammability and making it more difficult for the fire to sustain itself. 

By lowering the concentration of flammable vapors, water extinguishers contribute to fire suppression and prevent reignition.

Spray Nozzle or Hose

Water extinguishers are equipped with a spray nozzle or hose mechanism. This allows the user to direct and control the water flow onto the fire. 

The nozzle helps create a concentrated stream or spray pattern, enabling effective coverage of the fire and targeting the base where the fuel is burning most intensely.

Heat Absorption and Conversion

In addition to absorbing heat, water undergoes a phase change from liquid to vapor during the firefighting process. This phase change absorbs a significant amount of heat from the fire, contributing to cooling and extinguishing the flames.

How To Use Water Extinguishers?

To use a water extinguisher effectively, follow these simple steps:

When To Use A Water Fire Extinguisher?

Extinguishing Class A flames, which involve flammable solids like paper, wood, and textiles, is the sole purpose of water fire extinguishers. 

Both commercial and residential environments, such as living rooms and bedrooms, can benefit from their use.

However, it is important to note that water fire extinguishers should never be used on electrical fires. Water conducts electricity, which can result in severe damage and electrical shock hazards. 

To effectively tackle electrical fires, it is recommended to pair a water extinguisher with a CO2 fire extinguisher, which is specifically designed for electrical equipment.

Are Water Fire Extinguishers and Foam Fire Extinguishers Used in Similar Situations?

Water fire extinguishers and foam fire extinguishers are both commonly used for combating fires. However, the specific situations in which they are used may differ. While water fire extinguishers are typically effective on Class A fires involving ordinary combustible materials, foam fire extinguishers are more versatile. They can tackle Class A and B fires involving flammable liquids, such as gasoline and oil. This foam fire extinguisher usage explained highlights their ability to smother and cool the flames, making them suitable for a wider range of fire incidents.

Precaution to Maintain For Water Extinguishers

Maintaining water extinguishers is essential to ensure their reliability and effectiveness in case of a fire emergency. Here are some precautions to maintain water extinguishers:

Regular InspectionsConduct routine visual inspections to check for visible damage, signs of corrosion, and pressure gauges.
Refilling and RechargingRefill or recharge water extinguishers after partial or full use to restore their full capacity.
Protecting from Freezing TemperaturesStore water extinguishers in areas where temperatures remain above freezing to prevent freezing and damage.
Proper Storage and AccessibilityStore water extinguishers in easily accessible locations, free from obstruction, and with clear signage.
Professional ServicingEngage professional fire extinguisher servicing for periodic maintenance, inspection, and testing.
Training on Proper UsageEnsure individuals responsible for using water extinguishers receive proper training on their usage and limitations.
Avoiding ContaminationDo not add additives or substances to the water in the extinguisher to prevent contamination and maintain its effectiveness.
Retiring Expired ExtinguishersRetire and replace water extinguishers according to the manufacturer’s recommended expiration date or when they fail inspection.


Hope now you know how water works as a fire extinguisher and how you can use them. Also, the discussion on the type of fire, and water works should be worthwhile for you.

If you want to read more about fire extinguishers and many other things about it then read our other discussions. Thanks for reading from us.