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REPAIRS : One Leak Doesn't Call for a New Hose, Whether It's Rubber or Plastic

July 09, 1994|From Associated Press

With simple care and easy repairs, your garden hose will last a long time. Care basics

Don't leave a hose lying on the ground between jobs. Drain it and, unless it's on a reel or wall mount, coil it flat on the floor after each use.

* Never hang a hose on a nail, which can crease it. Buy a wall rack or mount an auto tire rim on the wall to serve as a rack. Straighten out kinks and creases.

* Keep the hose in a cool, dry place where it won't be damaged by a car, lawn mower or excessive sunlight. Ultraviolet rays cause vinyl to deteriorate. Don't store in a room where electric motors operate--they produce ozone that attacks rubber.

Temporary repair

If a hose has several leaks, it has probably deteriorated so badly that it isn't worth fixing. But a single leak is easy to fix.

* Clean and dry the hose. Temporarily plug a pinhole leak by jamming a round wooden toothpick into the hole. Snap off the toothpick flush with the hose's outer skin. As the wood absorbs water, it will swell to seal the hole. Then wrap the hole with plastic electrician's tape two inches on each side. Overlap and stretch the tape as you apply it, except for the first lap and last three or four turns, so the hose will bend.

* Also try to seal pin-sized holes by touching them carefully with the glowing point of a heated ice pick.

Long-term repair

To make a more permanent repair to a hose, make straight cuts on either side of the leak with a sharp knife. Take the segment of hose to a hardware store or garden center and select a mender kit whose insert sections match the inner diameter of the hose. The fit should be snug but not so tight as to crack the hose.

* Use a crimp-type mender to fix a rubber hose. Insert one end of the mender into a hose end until it seats well. Wet the hose if the tube is a tight fit. Place the end of the hose on a metal anvil or wooden block and hammer down the prongs of the mender gently and gradually until they grip the hose tightly all around. Repeat procedure on the second piece of hose.

* Use a threaded sleeve mender to fix a plastic hose. Dip the hose ends into hot water to soften. Insert a threaded sleeve into the end of the hose. Push the coupling over the hose end until the hose seats against the shoulder. Push the special key (in the kit) into the notches inside the sleeve. Turn the key until the top of the sleeve is flush with the end of the hose. Repeat with the second piece. Screw the couplings together.

* Clamp-type menders can be used on rubber or plastic hoses.

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