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How to Defrost a Frozen Gas Nozzle

Updated on December 4, 2012
Image courtesy of Rawich @
Image courtesy of Rawich @

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.

First you must be able to determine if it 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 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 which 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 and 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 wear the gas or even worse, spray it into your face.
  • You have to be patient, what you want to happen here is to 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 it 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. This is how to defrost a frozen gas nozzle and it is a suggestion only.

If this 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 you feel that your gas nozzle is frozen and a service company comes out to replace the nozzle, you can keep the faulty/frozen nozzle as a backup for a short period of time only.

If you decide to keep the frozen fuel nozzle there are points you need to remember:

  • Do not keep it in your store, it is a fire hazard.
  • You can only store the nozzle for a short period before it deteriorates beyond usability.
  • Once these nozzles have been introduced to fuel the membranes are activated and do not like being left dry.
  • If the used nozzle has sat too long when you attempt to use it again it may leak like a sieve.

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. These are only suggestions on how to defrost a frozen fuel nozzle and should be used with caution, use at your own discretion.


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 - your odds for a frozen fuel nozzle are higher in cold temperatures.
  • If your temperatures were mild during the day where things were able to melt a bit and the temperature goes below the freezing point again in the evening, your odds can get higher for a frozen fuel nozzle.
  • Try to keep snow off of your nozzles if at all possible. Sometimes the wind blows and it's not always possible so once in a while a quick trip outside to dust the snow off can help when your gas station is not busy.


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    • Magdelene profile image

      Magdelene 4 years ago from Okotoks

      Thanks for stopping by teaches, great input. No, this is not something I would recommend just anyone try, you are dealing with fuel. But, if a gas station store owner or manager is interested in learning how to do this they should get their service provider to show them how to do this if they feel unsure, but do want to learn.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Magdelene, I think this is very useful to many cold weather people. I don't trust myself to use this method, safer to let the professionals do it. Interesting and unique post. Well done.

    • Magdelene profile image

      Magdelene 4 years ago from Okotoks

      :-) yeah well, it goes to show what industry I might be involved in. keeping in mind these people don't often search the internet to figure out how to defrost their frozen gas nozzles. Thanks for stopping by Bill, we'll chat again sometime soon.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      If I stick around HP long enough, I'll see it all in the way of topics. This one was so "out there" that I had to read it. I lived in Alaska for a year, so I know about frozen gas nozzles...but I never expected to see a hub about it. :) Good job!