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The Fluid Systems Engineering and Management Blog

by Swagelok Northern California

Why Hoses Fail and How You Can Prevent It

by Jeff Hopkins, on 3/6/19 8:45 AM

Refineries can be extra tough on hoses, so take extra care to extend useful life

"Hoses assembled on-site by mobile suppliers often are not pressure-tested prior to installation, and may pose a real safety risk."



Refineries are hazardous environments for hoses. Heavy equipment and moving parts can damage assemblies and end-connections, leading to costly leakage and putting people at risk. It may not take long for a hose leak or break to cost you tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. Here are some common reasons why hoses fail, and how you can get more years of life from them.

Hoses don’t get the attention they deserve

Most customers have specifications on tubing, fittings, and valves on pressure-containing systems and adhere to them, but hose is rarely given the same consideration. That’s alarming because hose is part of a pressure system, too, and is one of the most likely components to fail.

Reconsider your requirements

Today a lot of companies are trying to get more production from their machines and processes, which can mean greater system pressures, temperatures, and vibration. In such cases, hoses that no longer meet the original design requirement should be replaced with products rated to a higher standard. When selecting new hose, pay close attention to the allowable pressures and safety factor. For instance, Swagelok designs all of its products with a 4:1 safety factor, but tests show we often far exceed even these requirements.

The risks are real

Hoses assembled on-site by mobile suppliers often are not pressure-tested prior to installation, and may pose a real safety risk. Steam can be invisible, high-pressure fluids can shoot out, and dangerous gases can be inhaled by anyone walking by where a hose has failed. When you think of the potential consequences of failure, you see why customers superior quality makes a difference.


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It’s easy to make improvements

Put your staff through fundamental training every few years to keep them aware of correct procedures for hose installation and maintenance. Engineers and designers should also have a high-level understanding so that potential risks can be minimized when designing an application or system. Following best practices from the start can prevent the majority of the problems we encounter.

Simple steps to simplify hoses

1. Organize a meeting to discuss your current hose usage on-site. Together, you and your trusted supplier can formulate a plan of attack and determine if a site audit is needed.

2. Set a preventive maintenance schedule. By monitoring hoses and forecasting their future life, companies can reduce the risk of injury and downtime. Work with your supplier to determine the ideal time to replace hoses preemptively.

3. Standardize on fewer selections. Customers often have multiple applications where the same hose can be used, but they are unaware of it. By standardizing sizes, lengths, and end-connections across your operation, it is possible to greatly reduce the number of critical spares needed and lower your costs at the same time. An on-site audit is the place to start.

Ask an Expert

The more hose and flexible tubing in your fluid system, the more important it is to make it last longer and performs better. Depending on the size of your operation, a proactive approach to managing hose can cost-justify within months. It starts by talking with one of our Hose Advisors.

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We perform under pressure

Your fluid systems can't fail—and they can't leak. That's why Swagelok Northern California offers mission critical solutions for the petrochem, semi, power, and oil and gas industries around the Bay Area and into NW Nevada. We manufacture and assemble reliable, customizable components that get the job done. Contact our team today to learn about custom solutions for your plant or refinery.

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