Your trusty garden hose is vulnerable to damage from an almost endless list of sources. Being left outside in the hot sun can lead to drying and cracking; pets or woodland creatures may claim it as a chew toy; an errant pass from a lawn mower or other garden tool can leave it in shreds. If you discover a leak, kink or other flaw in an otherwise good hose, you can attempt to repair it before spending the money to replace it. Read on to learn how to make relatively simple, cheap garden hose repair fixes to common hose issues.
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Garden Hose Repair Tip 1: Tape up tiny holes
If you find a small hole in your hose—likely the result of being punctured by a nail or a pet’s tooth—you can usually repair it using standard electrical tape. With its PVC base and powerful rubber adhesive, electrical tape offers flexibility, insulation and resistance to adverse conditions.
To apply this fix, turn off the faucet, disconnect the hose and dry it well with a towel. Tag the leak with a permanent marker and wrap it well with electrical tape, taking care not to apply it so tightly that it alters the shape of the hose and reduces water flow. Reconnect the hose to the water supply and turn it on to ensure that the tape has done its job.
Garden Hose Repair Tip 2: Use a hose mending kit for major tears
If your hose has a substantial tear from catching on a sharp object or cracks due to weather exposure, a hose mending kit is the best solution. These kits include a short tube made of metal or plastic designed to replace the damaged segment of hose.
With mending kit in hand, shut off the water, disconnect the hose and cut off the damaged section with garden shears or a hose cutter. Fasten the connectors of the hose mender to the cut ends of the hose and tighten the collars by twisting them clockwise. Reconnect the hose and restore the water supply to check for a watertight seal.
Garden Hose Repair Tip 3: Try a new gasket
The hose coupling is the metal or plastic piece on either end of a hose that connects to a water source on one end and a nozzle, sprayer or sprinkler on the other end. If you notice persistent dripping from either of these connections, you may have a loose or leaky gasket.
To replace the gasket, cut off the water supply, disconnect the end with the leak and remove the gasket from the coupling using needle-nose pliers. Push the new O-ring gasket inside the coupling with your fingers and reconnect the hose to check the new seal.
Garden Hose Repair Tip 4: Replace a damaged coupling
If replacing the gasket doesn’t eliminate the leak, you may need to replace the coupling itself. Couplings can become bent by contact with lawn equipment or other heavy objects, making it impossible to maintain a watertight seal.
To replace your coupling, you’ll first need to determine whether you need a male or female coupling. Make sure you also purchase the correct diameter to fit your hose. Once you’ve turned off the water and unhooked the hose, use a hose cutter or shears to cut off the damaged coupler and insert the cut end of the hose into the new coupling. Twist the collar clockwise to tighten it and reconnect it to a water source to make sure the repair is solid.
Garden Hose Repair Tip 5: Prevent future damage
To avoid having to repair or replace your hose in the future, follow these guidelines to prevent damage and keep the hose in tip-top shape:
- Don’t leave your hose outside in extreme temperatures or other bad weather. Long-term exposure to harsh sunlight or freezing cold can contribute to cracking and other blemishes.
- Store your hose on a reel cart to prevent kinks and keep it from being damaged by pets and lawn equipment.
- After using your hose, shake out any water remaining inside, since water left sitting on the gaskets can shorten their life.
- If you do end up buying a new hose, opt for long-lasting, damage-resistant rubber over vinyl.
Read our post Tips for Choosing the Best Garden Hoses for more information on selecting the perfect garden hose.