Magdelene lives in southern Alberta and has broad and varied work experience.
You’ll want to know how to defrost a frozen fuel nozzle if you own or manage a gas station where temperatures get below zero. There are going to be times when your gas station is not all that busy and enough time may add up for ice to form on your fuel nozzles.
The remedy for a frozen fuel nozzle is gas line antifreeze; I'll tell you below how to use it properly.
First, you must be able to determine if the problem is actually a frozen fuel nozzle; here’s what to look for:
- One sign is that the gas nozzle will continuously click off after every couple of cents' worth or so.
- You won’t really see anything on the nozzle to indicate ice.
- On the underside of the fuel nozzle there is a breather hole that you can fit perhaps a toothpick into, and this is where the ice generally builds up.
- If ice gets into this breather hole, it tricks the nozzle into thinking that the gas tank is full and it will automatically shut off; this is a safety measure that is built into gas nozzles.
Once you have determined the cause to be a frozen gas nozzle, this is how you would proceed:
- The power to your gas pump should be off while attempting this gas nozzle defrost technique.
- Hold the nozzle with the spout pointing up, slowly pour gas line antifreeze down into the spout, and wait at least a couple of minutes. Make sure you do not accidentally press the gas trigger lever on the nozzle while doing this; you don’t want to spray the gas onto your clothes or face.
- You have to be patient. Wait for the gas-line antifreeze to work its way back up to the breather hole.
- Attempting to pour the antifreeze into the breather hole on the underside of the nozzle is nearly impossible. You need to be patient and let the antifreeze do the work for you.
- If the problem is a frozen fuel nozzle, using gas line antifreeze in this manner works 50–60% of the time.
- DO NOT decide to light up a cigarette while you are waiting for the gas line antifreeze to work. Do not stop paying attention to the nozzle you are holding. Do not attempt to defrost a fuel nozzle yourself if you are not familiar with the safety precautions required when working with gas equipment.
Gas Nozzle Testing After De-Icing
Once you have waited a couple of minutes or so, you can try pumping gas into a vehicle gas tank or jerry can once again; if the flow stays steady and does not kick off after a couple of cents, you have been successful.
If this procedure does not work, I would recommend calling a gas pump equipment service company. There will be times where you will have to replace that fuel nozzle. I do not recommend you attempt to remove the faulty nozzle yourself unless you are qualified to do so.
If a service company comes out to replace a frozen or faulty nozzle, you can keep the old nozzle as a backup for a short period of time only. If you do that, remember:
- Do not keep it inside your store; it is a fire hazard.
- You can only store the nozzle for a short period before it deteriorates beyond usability. Once the membranes have been activated by use around fuel, they do not react well to being dry.
- If the used nozzle sits for too long, it may leak like a sieve when you attempt to use it again.
If in doubt, always call a certified fuel equipment service company. Be inquisitive and ask what the issue was; read your work order and see what was required and if it was indeed a frozen fuel nozzle.
Conditions That Favor Frozen Fuel Nozzles
Be aware that the fuel pump nozzle clicking off every few seconds when trying to pump gas can mean a completely different problem, which will require a visit from your service provider.
- If the temperatures are not below the freezing point, it is not likely to be a frozen gas nozzle.
- If you do not have a canopy covering your fuel pumps and snow or freezing rain can get directly onto them, the odds are higher that your problem is a frozen fuel nozzle.
- If your temperatures were mild during the day, allowing things to melt a bit, and the temperature goes below the freezing point again in the evening, the odds are higher that your problem is a frozen fuel nozzle.
Try to keep snow off of your nozzles. Blowing snow may make that very difficult, but a quick trip outside to dust the snow off can help when your gas station is not busy.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.