Proven lifesavers for gas station owners, breakaway valves are devices used to protect fuel system lines and dispensers from damage due to excessive separation loads (for example, in the case of fueling drive-away incidents). They do that by disconnecting at a predetermined pull-strain load, which for most systems range between 25% and 50% of the hanging hardware’s normal strength, and instantly sealing both ends of the break.
In addition to protecting fueling equipment, they also prevent any subsequent spills that may otherwise result from such events, averting environmental contamination risks.
After being uncoupled, breakaway valves can be reconnected by simply pushing them back together with the hose assembly. If, however, the damage is extensive and a breakaway valve has been damaged to the point where it might not be fit for reuse, it must be replaced immediately before the operations at the pump can be resumed.
How can you replace a breakaway valve that has been damaged in a pull-away accident?
Following is a step-by-step guide for replacing a damaged breakaway valve for your reference. Please make note that the information below is not a substitute for technical expertise, and one should only use this guide for educational purposes. If you have a damaged breakaway valve that needs replacing, contact a certified gas station service professional to have it replaced.
Steps to replace a damaged breakaway valve
- Turn off the power to the dispenser to which the valve was connected. This is done in order to avoid personal injury during service.
- Next, place some obstacles around the worksite to block vehicle access to the dispenser. Display a signboard at the entrance of your gas station to let customers know that there is work going on at one of the pumps, and they should avoid using it.
- Move the dispenser’s shear valve to the “close” position.
- Empty any liquid product from the hanging hardware into a container. Make sure the container is approved for storing petroleum products.
- Remove the hanging hardware from the dispenser (whip hose, fueling nozzle and the damaged breakaway).
- Thoroughly inspect all components of the hanging hardware as well as the outlet on the dispenser/pump to ensure no other part has been damage during the accident.
- Replace the damaged breakaway with a new one.
- Reassemble the hanging hardware and reconnect it to the dispenser (whip hose should be connected last).
- Move the shear vale back to the “open” position.
- Turn on the power to the dispenser.
- Test run the dispenser to ensure there are no leaks and that the equipment is dispensing properly.
- Remove the barricades around the worksite.
You can now resume normal operations at the pump. And yes, don’t forget to make an entry into the maintenance logbook. This will help you remember when the breakaway valve was installed and when it needs to be replaced in the future. Breakaway valves need to be replaced after a certain period of time, even if they may not be damaged to ensure safe pump operations.
This brings us to the end of our post; we hope you find it helpful.
A BONUS read: For Fuel Retailers: Why You Should Join a Gas Station Association