You can extinguish electrical devices with several types of fire extinguishers. Each fire extinguisher has its own advantages and disadvantages. In this article we will specifically look at the advantages and disadvantages of extinguishing electrical appliances.
Powder fire extinguisher: you can extinguish electrical appliances with a powder extinguisher. A powder extinguisher has a high extinguishing power and is not electrically conductive. The main disadvantage is that after using the powder extinguisher, you have to remove this powder with an industrial cleaner. If the powder comes in contact with skin, it may cause irritation. In addition, the powder, which contains salt, could creep into the device, or a nearby device. This salt can/will attract moisture and this can/will destroy your device. In other words, powder causes a lot of collateral damage.
Foam fire extinguisher: a foam fire extinguisher does not have any insurmountable disadvantages, although you must ensure that you keep a distance of 1 meter when extinguishing electrical fires and only use the extinguisher on systems up to 1000 volts. More than sufficient in almost all situations. An adjustment in the nozzle interrupts every drop of the effluent with air. This results in a mist that is not electrically conductive. Not only does it cause less collateral damage, a foam extinguisher usually has a longer spray time, making it almost always a better option than powder extinguishers. Foam extinguishers however are not frost-resistant (but special foam-fat extinguishers are!).
CO2 fire extinguisher: the CO2 fire extinguisher is the Ferrari of fire extinguishers because it doesn't leave any collateral damage, so the electrical device and the environment will suffer minor damage. The disadvantage is that the fire-fighting power is lower, the CO2 fire extinguisher is heavier and more expensive, and can extinguish a limited number of fire classes. A CO2 fire extinguisher must also be handled correctly, because CO2 itself is very cold and can cause burns if it comes into direct contact with the skin.
In short: unless you are in a server room, we recommend a foam extinguisher because it's a good and affordable all-round extinguisher. If you want to completely avoid any collateral damage, then CO2 fire extinguishers are the best option.
For server rooms, a CO2 fire extinguisher is the right choice. You can read more about this in our article Which fire extinguisher for server room?