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Gardening : Extending the Life of Garden Hose

August 07, 1994|READER'S DIGEST BOOKS | Associated Press SPECIAL FEATURES

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

Here are some tips:

--To keep your garden hose unsnarled and easy to transport, use a reel on wheels. Store it in the garage or shed.

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

--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.

--Keep the hose in a cool, dry place where it won't be damaged by a car, lawn mower, or excessive sunlight. The sun's ultraviolet rays cause vinyl to deteriorate.

--Don't allow water to freeze in a hose. Bring it indoors for the winter. But don't store it in a room where electric motors operate--they produce ozone which attacks rubber.

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

Here's how to repair a garden hose:

Temporary fixes

--Clean and dry the hose. Temporarily plug a pinhole leak by jamming a round wooden toothpick into the hole. Snap the toothpick off 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 2 inches on each side of the leak. Overlap and stretch the tape as you apply it, except for the first lap and last three or four turns of the tape 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 utility knife. Take the segment of hose to a hardware store or garden center and select a hose 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 this 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 them. Insert a threaded sleeve into the end of the hose.

--Push the coupling over the hose end until the hose seats against the shoulder inside the coupling.

--Push the special key (included in the kit) into the notches inside the sleeve. Turn the key clockwise until the top of the sleeve is flush with the end of the hose. Repeat with the second piece of hose.

--Screw the couplings together to complete the repair.

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