Does your garden hose strongly resemble the anatomy of a snake digesting a rat? Chances are you’re in store for a leak.
Or perhaps your hose has one of those small yet annoying pinhole leaks that spritzes you in the face at the most inopportune times. Worse yet, your hose might be suffering from a more massive leak, which is wasting tons of precious water and leaving you with little or no pressure at the hose end.
If any of the above sounds remotely familiar, you don’t necessarily need a new hose. Try a garden hose repair.
How Hoses Get Damaged
The most common way a hose gets damaged is from stretching. Folks tend to think that just because the hose is more flexible than a run of solid pipe that it can be stretched the extra foot or so to reach that obscure point in the yard.
Wrong! Each time the hose is stretched, the connection at the fitting, which is attached to the hose bib becomes weaker and weaker, until it leaks or becomes detached.
So, don’t yank on the hose. Instead, consider extending the hose by connecting it with another hose using a hose couple. Or, you can locate additional hose bibs at those remote points in the yard.
For added protection, install a rubber sleeve or metal spring guard that surrounds the hose at the location where it attaches to the hose bib. This will help minimize stress at this very vulnerable location.
If you live in an area that gets cold enough to freeze, you want to be sure that the garden hoses are placed in storage. Water residing within the hose can freeze and cause the hose to expand, which will likely result in damaged fabric or perhaps even a leak.
Just as with cold weather, it’s important to keep a hose out of the hot sun. The extreme heat can cause the material to permanently stretch and ultra-violet rays can break down the finish.
To preserve the life of your hose, keep it loosely wound on a suitable hose rack. A large nail, a piece of pipe or other “makeshift” hanger simply won’t do.
Driving over a hose, especially when it’s under pressure, can lead to an early demise. Lawnmowers, sharp garden tools and, believe it or not, some pets can have a devastating effect on an otherwise healthy garden hose.
Never fold over the hose or “kink” it to temporarily stop the flow of water. This is sure to diminish the integrity of the hose.
Garden Hose Repair
Before heading off to purchase a new hose, consider repairing the one you have. Repairs can be simple and inexpensive — certainly less than the cost of a new hose.
There are two common hose repair kits sold. The first is a metal clinch type while the other is a plastic screw-together clamp. Both are reliable, however, the plastic screw-together clamp can be reused over and over — the clinch type cannot.
Use a sharp utility knife to cut out the damaged section of the hose. Try to cut the hose ends as square and straight as possible. This will allow the ends to fit snugly against the repair part for a more secure connection.
Installing a One-Piece Clinch Fitting
To install the one-piece clinch type fitting, force the ribbed shaft at the end of the fitting into the end of the hose. If the fit is too tight making it difficult to get the hose over the end of the fitting, soak the end of the hose in hot water. Lubricating the fitting with a little soap will also help.
Once the fitting end is pushed into the hose, use pliers to squeeze down the individual metal fingers that surround the hose.
Repeat this procedure to attach the mating length of the hose to the remaining end of the fitting.
Installing a Screw-Type Clamp
The screw-type clamp works essentially the same way as the clinch-type fitting. The difference: Instead of pliers to squeeze down on metal fingers, a screwdriver is used to screw plastic clamps to either side of the repair.
Leaks at hose ends are generally caused by damaged brass fittings. Threaded fittings can also be replaced.
There is a trick to replacing fittings. You’ll want to be sure to get the right part — either male or female.
Metal clinch-type fittings are available for hose ends too. Push in fittings can also replace threaded fittings. Slip a metal hose clamp over the hose, insert the fitting and tighten the clamp.