5 Steam Hose Maintenance Tips

Posted by Gabriele Barr on Dec 10, 2019 9:30:00 AM
5 Steam Hose Maintenance Tips

With autumn temperatures returning we are reminded that Old Man Winter is not far behind. Lower temperatures generally mean one thing in the industrial hose world and that is…it must be steam hose season.

With pressures at a minimum of 250psi and temperatures reaching 450 degrees Fahrenheit, we can see the importance of proper hose selection and fabrication. Any company that utilizes steam hose in their day to day operation should know steam hose comes with its risks and rewards. The reward comes with the economic benefits of choosing a proper steam hose for an application and extending the life cycle of the hose, reducing replacement costs and unplanned down time. The burden of course is the risk of a premature hose failure and the potential for damage to property and serious injury to employees. The importance of safety when handling steam hose cannot be stressed enough.

A number of factors are involved with the use and maintenance of steam hose. Following are 5 Steam Hose Maintenance Tips to remember this winter season.

Regular Visual Inspection Intervals

All steam hoses should go thru a routine visual inspection prior to use. This inspection should include checking for wear or damage on the outside cover of the hose. The hose’s end fittings should also be inspected for proper installation. Keep an eye out for excessive rust and wear and tear. If the hose or hose fittings look damaged, do your due diligence to ensure the damage is superficial only, otherwise get a replacement.


The steam hose should be compatible with the application it’s connected to regarding pressure and temperature. Check your manufacturer’s guide to verify the maximum temperature and pressure ratings of your hose. Be sure your steam application will never exceed those maximum limits


How the steam hose is installed to the application is equally important. The distance between two connection points will ensure equal weight and pressure distribution. This practice prevents the hose from kinking thereby allowing for full flow during use as well as extending the life of the hose.

Handling & Storage Requirements

Proper steam hose handling and storage will combat the rigors of use including extending hose life. Factors to consider relate to the environment the hoses are kept in. Exposure to sunlight, chemical vapors and extreme temperature fluctuation can attack a steam hose even when not in use.

Draining Excess Moisture

Another practice to help increase the life of your steam hose is to thoroughly drain your steam hose after use. Be sure to completely remove all moisture before it is stored and maintained at ambient temperatures to avoid a type of tube deterioration know as “popcorning.” Popcorning is damage that occurs to the inner tube of a hose, ultimately caused by absorption of water vapor into hose tube wall. Once absorbed, the trapped water cools while the hose is not in use. Upon future use, that trapped water rapidly expands when it comes into contact with the high temperature steam causing damage to the tube as it tries to escape. The result is a damaged inner tube that resembles popcorn. Over time, continual popcorning will lead to a hose failure when the damage reaches a critical limit.

Final Takeaways

As you can see there are a lot of considerations when it comes to choosing and implementing a steam hose assembly. To mitigate the risks to employees and equipment and the potential financial loss to your business, it’s best to trust industry experts who can teach and advise you during your hose implementation or replacement process. Summers Rubber Company has been dealing with steam hose applications since the company first opened its doors in 1949. Our inside and outside sales teams can talk you through any scenario or questions you might have. From partnering with premier suppliers such as Continental Contitech USA for our steam hose and Campbell Fittings for our crimp steam hose fittings, Summers Rubber Company is ready to safely guide your business through another steam hose season.

Credit for Content: Gary Garza

Topics: hose safety, hose testing

Top 8 Reasons Hydraulic Hoses Fail

Posted by Gabriele Barr on May 20, 2019 8:20:03 AM
Top 8 Reasons Hydraulic Hoses Fail

There are numerous reasons why a hydraulic hose can fail. More often than not, the most common failures are ones that could have been avoided with proper precautions. At Hampton Rubber Company, we utilize OnGuard™ Hose Safety to work closely with customers and educate them on how the program helps you avoid costly equipment downtime, maintenance costs and reassure you that your hoses are working efficiently and safely — all within compliance of OSHA/EPA standards.

1. Tube Erosion

Hydraulic hose tube erosion often causes external leakage. Tube erosion is typically caused by a concentrated high-velocity stream of fluid or by small particles in the fluid.

2. Fluid Compatibility

System contamination and external leakage can be a direct result of fluid incompatibility. Incompatible fluids will cause the inner tube of the hydraulic hose assembly to deteriorate, swell, and delaminate (divide).

It is important that you make sure that the hose you order must be compatible with the fluid being moved. It is also important to make sure that while the fluid is compatible with the inner tube of the hose, that it is also compatible with the outer cover, fittings, and even O-rings as well. To ensure that your medium is the correct one for your hose, please check OnGuard™ Asset Management’s Chemical Resistance Chart for hose.

3. Dry Air / Aged Air

The inner tube of hoses can develop numerous tiny cracks due to aged or dry air. This type of hose failure is sometimes hard to spot because your hydraulic hose will still remain flexible. Typically there are no signs of cracking on the hose under the fittings.

To avoid aged or dry air problems, confirm that your hose is rated for extremely dry air. Hoses that have inner tubes of PKR or EPDM rubber are preferred for these specific applications.

4. Minimum Bend Radius

Hose assemblies can fail relatively quickly if the minimum bend radius is not met.

In vacuum or suction applications, for example, if the bend radius has been exceeded the hose may tend to be flat in the bend area. This will hinder or restrict flow. If the bend is severe enough the hose may kink. To prevent bend radius hose failures, double check the recommended bend radius. Replace hose assemblies and change routing, length, or fittings to route the house within the published minimum bend radius if they do not comply.

5. Insertion Depth

When a hose assembly is not properly assembled, it can create very dangerous situations. Fittings need to be pushed on completely to meet the proper insertion depth. If insertion depth is not met, fittings can blow off and leave a failed hose assembly behind. The last grip in the fitting she is essential to the holding strength of the hose assembly.

6. Improper Assembly

Contamination can cause several problems for a hydraulic hose assembly. If not properly flushed, metal particles and debris can settle inside the hose. This abrasive debris left inside the hose will contaminate the hydraulic system. This contamination can also cause small fractures to occur on the inner tube of the hose assembly, resulting in leakage.

To prevent hose failures from contamination, the hose must be properly cleaned before inserting the fittings. The inner tube should be “squeaky-clean” before fittings are inserted. After the fittings are crimped, be sure to cap the ends in order to keep the hose clean and avoid recontamination during transport.

7. Heat Aged

Overheating a hose assembly can cause hose failure by causing the hose to become very stiff. The inner tube hardens and begins to crack because the plasticizers in the elastomer will break down or harden under the high temperature.

In some cases, the cover may show direct signs of being dried out. The hose assembly may remain in its installed shape after being removed from the application and if flexed, an audible cracking can be heard.

To prevent overheated hydraulic hose assemblies, confirm that hoses are rated for the temperatures required by your application. Also, reduce ambient temperatures or use heat guards and shields to protect the hose from nearby high-temperature areas.

8. Abrasion

Hydraulic hoses are put through rigorous applications every day, which eventually take their toll. If not inspected on a regular basis, abrasion can cause a hose assembly to burst or leak.

The cover of your hose is meant to protect it. So signs of damage to that cover or reinforcement layers should warn you that something is wrong.  With a little background knowledge and training, many hose failures can be prevented.

OnGuard™ Hose Safety offers hose safety training and hose product seminars on a regular basis. We know you can’t afford the downtime at factories by traveling, so we often provide safety training on-site at customer designated locations.  We train staff from every department including maintenance, engineering, safety/environmental (HSE) and manufacturing teams.

Topics: hose safety, hose testing

Hampton Rubber Company is Virginia’s prime source for providing complete fluid solutions. Established in 1961 and with over 3 million dollars of on-hand inventory, Hampton Rubber serves both commercial and military markets. Our vast amount of experience, quality products, and passion for excellence continue to set us apart from others. When it comes to complete fluid solutions, Hampton Rubber is your “Trusted Advisor”.

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