Taking The Guesswork Out Of Gas Hoses
Often hidden from view in the commercial kitchen is one of the more important components of gas equipment—the gas hose. Gas hoses connect incoming gas supplies to equipment pieces. These products are often in precarious locations and usually lack attention. For the safety of everyone in the vicinity, take the time to match the right hose to the application and hire a qualified service technician to do the install.
Read on to learn errors to avoid when installing gas hoses, and what to look for when specifying them.
Better Safe Than Sorry
For safety reasons, all gas hose manufacturers recommend that only qualified service technicians handle installation. Installing a gas hose improperly can lead to injury or worse either at the time of installation or any time after. Connection may seem to be simple—just use a pipe wrench and some pipe thread compound to install new or replace an old gas hose—but there’s no substitute for experience. Technicians have a working knowledge of component placement and secure connections, properties of the gas, limitations how far and in what way equipment can move (how the hose is allowed to twist and bend affects its life expectancy), and adequate hose sizing to ensure the right gas flow, which is critical to the proper operation of the equipment.
Improper installation can be characterized in many ways. Mark Humenansky, National Sales Manager of Dormont, says, “The most common mistake we encounter is a failure to install or maintain the restraining cable for the hose.”
A proper restraining device must connect the equipment to the wall. The ANSI Z21.69 Standard section 1.7.4 states: Connectors when used on caster-mounted equipment shall be installed with a restraining device, which prevents transmission of the strain to the connector. But this standard may also apply to movable equipment, even if it doesn’t sit on casters, because a technician may move it for service or an employee may reposition it for cleaning. Basically, unless you bolt down the equipment, choose a moveable-rated gas connector hose.
Not having the right length of hose can be aggravating for a technician, especially when it comes to working on the piece of equipment. If the hose is too short, moving the equipment out far enough to work on it becomes an issue. If the hose is too long, there is a tendency for it to twist and get caught under the wheels or on other things. Having the gas shut-off valve in the wrong place is a common issue as well. When the valve is not placed near the equipment, turning off the gas quickly in an emergency could be a hazard.
There are some other obvious no-no’s when installing gas hoses, like having them over or near a direct heat source, installing them backwards, forgetting to use swivel connectors when appropriate, using quick-disconnect connectors (indented for taking the equipment out of service without the use of tools for moving or cleaning purposes) instead of a shut-off valve, and restraints that are too long and fail to limit how far out you can pull the equipment, straining the gas hose. A good service technician will avoid these pitfalls and suggest the best and safest confi guration.
Designed To Deliver
Manufacturers offer hoses in a wide range of sizes, lengths and types. The most common sizes are ½-in., ¾-in. or 1-in. diameter; though they do come in virtually any size and can even be custom-made. The lengths are as diverse as the sizes; lengths range from 12 in. to 72 in. and, again, can be customized by some manufacturers. The most common hose is ¾-in. diameter x 48-in. long as it will typically allow for movement beyond the front edge of most cooklines while still staying securely connected.
Additionally, manufacturers design different hoses for mobile equipment when compared with stationary pieces. These hoses typically better handle wear and tear. Never use a stationary hose with mobile equipment.
Manufacturers construct hoses in different ways. PVC coatings are either dipped in a vat or cast from a die by being extruded or forced under pressure to make a sleeve. The inner tubing itself can be corrugated fl ex tubing or a series of high-strength stainless rings. Azie Khan, CFSP, V.P. and G.M., AllPoints Foodservice, says, “Companies that take pride in their gas hoses have introduced more options to reduce risks by using antimicrobial PVC coating to address bacteria, mold and mildew caused by humidity in commercial kitchens.”
Some other common properties are 360° swivel connectors and braided stainless construction. Makers may individually weld end nut fittings or press them onto the hose by a machine. Steven Cho, Marketing and Technical Sales Manager of Easyflex USA, notes, “End-users should focus on the quality of the hose itself.” Each construction process has its benefits depending on the specific application.
Check each company’s website or sales literature for details on how it manufactures and tests products. Regardless of which manufacturer you use in the U.S., all products must meet certain CSA 6.16 criteria to be legally sold in this country. A product earns certification only after rigorous testing proves its reliability.
Function Over Form
Linda Siegler, Eastern Regional Sales Manager-Foodservice Division, T&S Brass, says “Hoses should be purchased based on a field history of quality and performance.” Do your research and choose manufacturers with gas hoses that have a good standing history in the field.
Compare products and decide what configuration will work best for your specific application and budget. Remember safe and reliable functions are the most important qualities.