Tips for Working with Hose Clamps

Small hose clamps

Clamps can come in very handy on a variety of projects. When it comes to do it yourself plumbing projects, using clamps can be an essential part of making sure your project comes out the way you want it to. There are a number of different clamps, each is designed to be used in a different situation. Hose clamps come in a variety of types and sizes. Where spring hose clamps might be needed, wire hose clamps might not work, for example.

What are hose clamps?

Hose clamps are used in situations where pressure needs to be applied evenly. These are most often used in cars and home appliances where the level of pressure is constant and moderate. That moderate pressure is spread out over the entirety of the clamp and they do come in a variety of materials and sizes. They can produce a great seal when there are no gaps along the clamps. They can also be used to replace duct tape or heavy duty zip ties. Hose clamps are not recommended for high pressure areas. It is essential that the barbs be clean and free of any scratches or nicks.

What are the different kinds of hose clamps? What are their different uses?

Spring Hose Clamps: These are made from a strip of steel. This is cut into a cylindrical shape and has several protrusions, which are bent outwards. To use the clamp, pliers or other tools are used to press the exposed areas towards each other. This simple hose clamp is often used in the coolant systems for cars where other clamps may not fit. This is also one of the simplest kinds of clamp.

Worm Gear Clamps: These are also called screw or band clamps. These are made of galvanized (stainless) steel. They consist of a steel band with a screw pattern. A clamp is attached to the hose and the loose end is fed into the space between the screw and the band. As the screw is turned, the band is fed into the worm drive which tightens. They have been around for a very long time. Royal Navy Commander Lumley Robinson invented the first worm gear hose clamp in 1921. These are often employed for emergency situations where a temporary fix is needed.

Wire Clamps: These are made from some kind of heavy wire, most often this is steel, that has been bent into a U shape.

How Do I Measure a Hose Clamp?

When changing or replacing a hose clamp, it is important to measure the diameter of the hose correctly. Take a piece of string and wrap it around the outside of the hose. Measure the length of the string at the points where the edges meet. What you have measured is the circumference of the hose. To get the outside diameter, you need to use the mathematical formula of circumference = 3.14 (pi) multiplied by the diameter. Basically, you divide the number you discovered by measuring your string by pi. That is the size of your ideal hose clamp. As with most projects, a good rule to follow is to measure more than once. It only takes a few seconds to measure a string a second time. Also, you can use whatever you prefer, either inches or millimeters but make sure all of your measurements are in one and that you do not measure inches only to buy millimeters. Measuring this way will make sure all your spring hose clamps are the right size for your project.

A word of caution when working with hose clamps, do not cut a hose that is stuck in the clamp. By doing this, you can damage the barb by scratching or nicking it and then the clamp will not be as reliable.

Hose clamps are very versatile. Because they do come in a variety of materials and sizes, they can be very helpful when working on a number of pluming, automotive and other household projects. Getting used to working with them is easy and they can help make any project work out more smoothly. Whether you are using spring hose clamps or wire hose clamps, the right one will make your life a lot easier.

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