How to Use Hose Clamps

Black hose clamps

There are many different hose clamp sizes and types available, depending on what you are needing one for. A hose clamp or clip is the small rounded device that is typically used to attach and a hose on to another fitting like a barb. Hose clamps can usually only be used when moderate pressures are in play. Clamps are a little to weak to withstand high pressures. For higher pressures, compression fittings or thick crimp fittings are what is typically used. Hose clamps are also used for other things besides hoses. They’ve become quite a multi use tool over time being used as duct tape and other house hold items. One tutorial showed large hose clamps being used to secure mason jars to planks of wood to store bathroom essentials. There are different hose clamp sizes and types as mentioned above so let’s go over a few of those.

  1. Screw Clamps
    These are probably the most common type of clamp. These clamps are made of stainless steel and contain a thread pattern that has been pressed. On one end there is a screw. The clamp is wrapped around the hose and then put through the screw. Once the loose end has been fed through the captive screw, the screw is turned which threads the clamp further into the screw, securing it tightly around the pipe. The typical hose clamp sizes that are used for screw clamps are about half an inch in diameter and larger. Different kinds of clamps are used if the hose is smaller. The benefit of this type of clamp is that it is flexible and doesn’t damage the pipe even if it is screwed on to tightly.

  2. Spring Clamps
    This type of clamp is made from a strip of spring steel. One side of the clamp has one protrusion in the center and the other side has two protrusions coming from it. The strip is rolled into a circle so that the protrusions interlock as they are rolled up. In order to use this type of clamp, the protrusions need to be pressed towards each other using pliers or something similar in order to increase the diameter of the clamp. Once the clamp has been slid onto the hose and then the barb, the tabs can be released and will automatically compress the hose onto the barb. Again, these types of clamps are not very compatible with higher pressure applications or large hoses. These hose clamp sizes work better with hoses only a few inches in diameter.

  3. Wire Clamps
    These clamps are made out of heavy wire, usually something like steel and are made first into a U shape. After the U has been formed, a ring can be made by overlapping one end with the other. After this, the ends are bent outward and cut off. A nut is attached to one end and a screw to the other. After the clamp is inserted on to the pipe, the screw is tightened so that the overlapped ends are pushed apart. This tightens the ring area of the clamp. These types of clamps are used mostly on things like automotive radiator hoses or things that require quite a lot of tension and heat. The steel required to make these clamps are able to withstand high levels of heat making them perfect as automotive hose clamps.

  4. Ear Clamps
    Again using stainless steel a band is formed into one of more ‘ears’ of the clamp and then placed over the very end of the pipe. When all of the ears are closed, it deforms, pulls the band and causes it to tighten. This will permanently change the shape of the clamp so it cannot be reused. However, if done properly, the way the clamp is made to function, there will still be a little flexibility to the clamp to allow for tolerance variations when necessary due to weather, temperature and other factors.

There are other clamps and methods that can be used, such as compression fittings or push fit fitting but these devices are not commonly referred to as hose clamps and even when used on a hose, have a slightly different type of function. Hose clamps are easily found in hardware stores across the country and are used for many different things.

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