Garden hose might seem like a simple commodity item, but purchasing the right type can make your watering job easier.
Hoses come in many different lengths with the most common being between 25 and 100 feet. Of course, you can hook several up together if needed, but it’s sometimes more convenient to have just one the correct length. Having a hose that’s too long can also be a challenge as a hose full of water can be cumbersome and awkward to move around.
The diameter of a hose determines how much water can flow through it. Sometimes a thin ½ inch hose doesn’t allow enough water for a sprinkler to reach its full range, especially if it’s long. The larger diameter ones pass more water, but they’re also heavier and more expensive.
A few companies are advertising compact hoses that shrink when empty or coil up on their own. It’s a great idea, and I have purchased several of them only to be disappointed. The ones that coil are so thin that they only supply enough water for watering individual flowers. It would take forever to do a large area, and the stream wasn’t heavy enough to wash my car. There are several newer ones that have soft walls that shrink without water. These look promising.
A well-constructed hose will last for years. To choose, look at the quality of the couplings and the construction of the hose walls. Better built ones have brass couplings and sometimes have ergonomic shapes that make tightening connections easier. Also, look for hoses that are kink resistant. It’s real frustrating when you are watering your flowers and every time that you move the hose it kinks. Then you have to put down the nozzle, walk back to the kink, straighten it out, and start again. I called the customer service number for one of the hose companies about it; they said that it was because I coiled my hose when I put it away, and that left twists. I won’t leave my hose out on the lawn, so I still coil it; I just got a heavier kink proof hose.
Some hoses are made of just plastic or vinyl walls. Unreinforced hoses usually don’t last long and will eventually blow up like a balloon and burst. Better hoses have plies of reinforcement in the sidewall, the more plies, the stronger the hose. More plies also make the hose less likely to kink.
My biggest problem with hoses always seems to be in stretching it out to where I need to water and rolling it up when I’m through. A few companies make rollup storage units. They’re a great idea, but make sure that you get one that’s strong enough. Over the years, I have been given a few as gifts, and they just can’t handle the weight and stiffness of a long hose.
Store your hose coiled on the ground or on a special hanger that distributes the weight, hanging on a peg or a nail can damage them. Freezing with water in them is also very hard on the sidewalls and can cause early failure.
The most common hose problem is loss or damage to the washer, a round piece of rubber or plastic that goes inside the coupling. Replacements are very inexpensive and easy to install. It’s a good idea to keep a few on hand. If you spring a leak, there are repair kits made. Most involve cutting away the damaged hose and reconnecting the two ends with a connector kit.