How to Choose and Use Hydraulic Hoses for Extended Service Life During Winter Months 

How to Choose and Use Hydraulic Hoses for Extended Service Life During Winter Months 

When hydraulic hose assemblies fail, it’s usually because of improper hose and fitting selection from the start. By not choosing the right hydraulic hoses and fittings, you run the risk of pressure surges, tube erosion, fluid incompatibility, abrasion or breakdown from chemical exposure.  

Other effects of failed hydraulic hose assembly include:  

  • Safety implications 
  • Decreased production 
  • Burns, fires or explosions 
  • Injury to exposed body parts 
  • Wasted material 
  • Environmental damage 
  • Inefficient machine operations 
  • Premature equipment failure 
  • Increased capital costs 

One leaked drop of hydraulic fluid per second is equal to 420 gallons over a 12-month period. (Source: Machinery Lubrication) 

In the winter months, extremely cold temperatures can permanently damage your hydraulic hoses and lead to failure. Some examples of hydraulic hose assemblies that are used in the winter include snow and ice removal vehicles, fleet vehicles and machinery installed outside of your facility.  

Below, we share insights on hydraulic hose selection specific to cold conditions.

Using the STAMPED Method for Cold Weather Hydraulic Hose Selection  

Tired of losing money when your equipment is down? If your equipment relies on hydraulic systems, hose failure is inevitable but you can extend the service life of your assembly. Get the most out of your hydraulic hoses by choosing hydraulic components with the tried-and-true S.T.A.M.P.E.D method.  

When choosing the proper hose and/or fitting for your hydraulic assembly, it’s important to consider the following: 

Consider the inside diameter and length of your hydraulic hose as well as any application requirements. Additionally, take into account the recommended hose thickness to reduce pressure loss and provide optimum flow. Once you measure for the hydraulic hose length and diameter, you can then choose fittings based on system pressures, flow rates and environmental factors such as temperature.  

Your hydraulic hose assembly will have temperature limitations for safe and reliable hydraulic hose use. Operating at either end of the temperature limits (hot or cold) can impact flow and degrade hose material, reducing service life and increasing safety risks.

In winter months, it’s also important to consider the external temperatures your hose assembly will be exposed to. When hoses are exposed to low temperatures, they can become hard, stiff and inelastic, or even decompose.  

During indoor use of hydraulic hose assemblies, certain considerations must be made regarding how and where the system is used. Abrasion, vibration, chemicals and mechanical load are all important factors to consider when choosing your hydraulic hose.

However, outdoor applications add another layer of complexity to hose selection as assemblies may be exposed to water, moisture, salt or extreme temperatures. Be sure to choose the right hose material to stand up to the rigors of the outdoors. In addition, select fittings that are specially coated or manufactured to minimize corrosion or material breakdown.  

The type of fluid that will be conveyed through your hydraulic hoses require compatible hoses and fitting materials that can stand up to winter weather. Media such as hydraulic fluid has a freeze point of about -10°F, but even temperatures above the freeze point can cause fluid to thicken and create flow restriction.

Eaton Weatherhead shares their Fluid Compatibility Chart here. 

Extreme temperatures on hydraulic hose components can affect operating pressures in your hose assembly. For example, cold weather can make rubber components brittle, compromising the entire hydraulic system even when running at recommended operating pressures. Be sure to examine hydraulic hoses, seals, fittings and mountings for any signs of wear or damage when heading into the colder, winter months.  

End connections are the weakest link in your hydraulic assembly and must be chosen with care. Selecting the wrong fittings or clamps can result in poor holding strength, leaks and blow outs. Winter conditions can also impact the integrity of your assembly, with cold and increased moisture wreaking havoc on rubber hoses and seals. Be sure to use fittings and components designed specifically for extreme conditions and always keep some extra on hand for repair.  

Delivery criteria during winter months may differ from regular use. In addition to the regular requirements from the customer, testing, certification phases and shipping, consider any implications winter conditions may have on equipment, hydraulic hoses, fittings and maintenance schedules. Be sure to routinely inspect and test hydraulic systems and look for worn out fittings, clamps or damaged hoses.  

Related: Choosing the Right Hydraulic Fitting Using the STAMPED Method.  

Have questions on improving the reliability and life of your hydraulic systems?  

Give us a call at 314-638-6500 OPTION 4. 

How to Winterize Hydraulic Systems for Longer Service Life 

Prepping for the cold, winter months? We share some tips for winterizing your hydraulic systems for improved reliability and performance, even when the temperature drops. 

  • Choose the right rubber blend for hydraulic hoses.  
  • Keep equipment and hydraulic systems clean. 
  • Replace any hoses that show signs of wear, cracks or abrasion. 
  • Wrap exposed components with thermal blankets or protective sleeves.  
  • Use fluid with the right viscosity for winter conditions.  
  • Eliminate trapped moisture.  
  • Start with a warmup before operating equipment. 

Related: Premature Hydraulic Hose Failure Costs and Prevention Tips 

Give us a call at 314-638-6500 OPTION 4 and speak to a knowledgeable representative today! 

Superior Industrial Supply knows how important it is to have access to the hydraulic hoses and fittings your operations demand. It’s why we specialize in hydraulic hose assembly and repairs as well as industrial and MRO supply and fastener selection. Give us a call at 314-638-6500 OPTION 4 or 800-783-6501 and let us know how we can help you find the products, services and advice you need.