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GARDENING : Repairs and Care Extend Life of a Garden Hose

November 03, 1990|From Reader's Digest

With proper care and simple repairs a garden hose can last many seasons.

Here are some care-and-repair tips:

Use a reel-on-wheels to keep your garden hose unsnarled and easy to transport. If you want to hang the hose on a wall, use a reel or a curved holder. Hanging it from a nail will crease it. When using a hose, straighten out kinks and creases as soon as you discover them. A pinched hose will soon crack.

Don't leave a hose lying on the ground between jobs. Drain and loosely wind it up after each use. Keep it in a cool, dry place where it won't be damaged by a car, lawn mower or excessive sunlight. Vinyl hose, especially, should be sheltered from the sun's ultraviolet rays, which cause vinyl to deteriorate.

Repairing a Garden Hose:

If a hose leaks at a coupling, replace the washer.

You may be able to seal pin-sized holes by touching them carefully with the glowing point of a heated ice pick.

You can also make a temporary repair of a small leak with plastic electrical tape. Clean and dry the hose. Overlap and stretch the tape as you apply it. Don't stretch the first turn and the last three or four turns of the tape. If a hose has several leaks, it has probably deteriorated so badly it isn't worth fixing.

To make a more permanent repair, buy an inexpensive repair kit at your local hardware store or garden center. Simple hose menders use a connector that is clamped or crimped in place to form a permanent joint. Also available is a coupling set that allows you to take the hose apart at that joint. This is clamped or crimped in place or it may be screwed in place with a special threaded insert. Here's how:

1. Make straight cuts on both sides of the leak with a sharp utility knife. Take a segment of the hose to the hardware store and select a kit whose insert sections match the inner diameter of the hose. The fit should be snug but not so tight the hose cracks.

2. If you're using a crimp-type mender, insert the corrugated tube into the hose end until it seats. Wet a rubber hose if the tube is a tight fit. Place the hose on a wooden block. Hammer down the prongs gently and gradually until they grip the hose tightly all around. Repeat this procedure on the second piece of hose.

3. To fix a plastic hose, use a coupling set with threaded inserts, which comes in a kit. After cutting away the damaged portion of the hose, dip the cut hose end into hot water to soften it. Then follow the kit instructions to attach a coupling to each of the hose ends being joined. Screw couplings together to complete the repair. In addition to the crimp-on and insert-type hose menders, you can use ones that are simply held on by clamps.

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