Maybe you missed that bag of firecrackers hiding behind your patio chair, or perhaps Nana vetoed the whistling fountain that gives her a headache. We can't fathom having leftover fireworks, but it happens. When the next opportunity strikes, will it be safe to use them? If so, how do you keep them in good condition until then?
The answer might be a little more nuanced than you think, so let's take a closer look at how you can safely use your fireworks and keep those precious pyrotechnics in good shape for as long as possible.
Do Fireworks Expire When Stored?
The short answer is: sometimes. When it comes to fireworks, how long they are stored is usually less important than how they're stored. If you take care of them, fireworks can last a LONG time. After all, we still treat antique explosives with great care.
You can often find an expiration date on the packaging, which makes your job easy. But remember, expiration dates on fireworks are like expiration dates on food — they're suggestions. We're not telling you to expect fireworks from the '70s to be good as new — but take expiration dates with a grain of salt.
If you left your fireworks in a muggy garage where they got jostled around next to the kids' baseball gear, the expiration date probably isn't very helpful anymore. If you follow proper storage suggestions, you can likely expect 5+ years out of your fireworks.
How to Know If Fireworks Are Expired
So you have a box of fireworks, but you're not sure if they're expired. Let's put our common sense to use! Grab the fireworks and look for:
- An expiration date: An expiration date can give you an idea of the firework's shelf life. Can't find one? Try calling the manufacturer. If you're very far past the expiration date or haven't stored the firework properly, you might be better off getting rid of it or keeping a HEFTY distance and a lot of water nearby when you set it off.
- Damage: If there's damage to the body of the firework, it probably won't work as expected. Damage to the packaging is probably okay as long as the firework itself isn't banged up.
- Discoloration: We hate to judge a book by its cover, but discoloration on a firework usually tells us a bit about how it's been stored. Moisture and heat from sunlight — aka the mortal enemies of a firework — can cause discoloration. It generally points to a dud or a safety risk.
How Should You Store Fireworks?
If you know you won't be using your fireworks for a while — we admire your self-control — you can keep them in good condition with proper storage. Follow these steps:
- Label your fireworks.
- Buy high-quality products.
- Place them in an airtight container.
- Place the container in a place that is cool, dark and dry.
- Don't jostle them around.
How to Dispose of Old Fireworks
If you have some old fireworks lying around, throwing them in the trash could cause safety hazards, especially for the folks working in waste management. Instead, you'll need to completely submerge the fireworks in water until saturated. Smaller fireworks will only require about 15 minutes, but large ones are best left overnight.
Double-wrap the firework in plastic wrap or plastic bags to keep them from drying out before placing them in the trash or dropping them off at your local waste facility,
We won't tell you how to live your life, but if you're determined to set off fireworks that you're not 100% sure about, take the proper precautions. Use common sense, and don't light them in a tight space or near dry, flammable plants. Keep a hose or a full bucket of water on hand in case the firework doesn't go off. You'll need to douse it before you can dispose of it.
Keep Those Sparks Safe With Red Apple® Fireworks
Fireworks are an amazing product, but storing them isn't as easy as chucking them in the closet until you're ready. You'll need to be a responsible pyro. Store them properly, take the proper precautions and start with high-quality products. We can help with that last one.
At Red Apple Fireworks, we put our heart and soul into those big booms. We handcraft and design all of our fireworks so you can rest easy knowing you're buying quality in a tube. As long as you store them well, you can expect long-lasting fireworks — assuming you can resist lighting them off for more than a week.