When the faucet-attachment-end snapped off of my favorite long hose last week, I glumly piled it like a dead boa constrictor onto a pile of scrap wood. Not that I would have been happy if a boa constrictor was even in my backyard, but you get the picture. It had died young and full of potential. I couldn’t bring myself to the point of total disposal yet.
Then, I remembered about the hose repair theory I had learned of a couple of years ago. I had never repaired a real hose, only made a custom length soaker hose (be sure to read the end of the story on this page before you try to make your own custom soaker hose). Could this translate into making my beloved hose functional again?
D&B Supply happened to be on my list of errands because we needed chicken grain. While there, I stopped by the sprinkler aisle and saw several options offered for hose repair. I was pretty sure that I didn’t want the plastic ones. There were some metal repair pieces with the same kind of ends that I had purchased before, a circle of flayed metal pieces that needed to be bent down over the hose. What caught my eye, though, was the plain brass ends that came with pipe clamps.
There were multiple sizes. I decided to make my best guess based on reaching back into my mind and visualizing the hose. 5/8 inch hose ends were the middle choice. It looked right, which, based on my past guessing about various diameters and circumference really meant nothing, but I wanted to go home with something. Even if I had the hose in front of me, I’m not sure it would have helped. I would just have to see what fit.
Back at home, the hose was much harder to cut than the soaker hose. My Cutco scissors did it with some careful and slow pressure. The resulting end was nicely clean and even.
I am fairly new to using pipe clamps, but I did recall that they need to be over the hose (or pipe) before putting things together. And I remembered that the whole point of the clamp is to slip it back up onto the overlapping connection. It was easy to tighten the pipe clamp with a screw driver.
Thinking it was just too easy and it would all leak as soon as I turned the water on, I hooked it up anyway. The only tweak that was needed was to screw the end more securely to the faucet. I had done it! Wouldn’t the dear husband be surprised!?
Now, I was inspired. I needed a couple more soaker hoses and there were some broken ones behind the shed. The main hose sections were in good shape. Unlike the older soaker hoses that were degraded by the build up of mineral deposits and a few years in the sun, these pieces were just the result of enthusiastic digging with a large shovel.
I neatly trimmed the shorn end of the soaker hose. This hose still had the screw cap end in tact. It was originally an extra long soaker, so was now a good length for one of my raised beds. All it needed was the end to screw the water supply into. This was the opposite scenario of what I had to do when I made my custom soaker hose for the straw bale garden.
When it was all hooked up, the soaker hose was leaking a lot. I checked to see if I had pressed all the prongs down. I wondered if I had pressed them too hard and made holes in the soaker hose. I mentally compared it to the previous custom hose making and conjectured that this type of repair piece had worked then because it was for an end point, where there wasn’t so much water pressure. I went to do something else for a while.
When the dear husband came home, I explained my trouble and my hypothesis. We decided to cut the offending attachment off and start over. Only this time, we put a pipe clamp on the soaker hose first, to have handy for back up.
I had been using regular pliers to crunch up the prongs, but my husband suggested the channel locks we had bought earlier that year. Definitely easier. But it still leaked. It seemed that it just couldn’t close up around the end of the soaker hose completely enough.
So, we slipped the pipe clamp up over the hose where it could be tightened over the metal inside. I still had only my screw driver. My husband asked me why I wasn’t using “my” nut driver. He had “given” it to me when we working on the temporary washing machine repair using a bicycle inner tube…
The nut driver was able to get the pipe clamp much tighter than the screw driver. And that was with me doing the turning to tighten things. Now the soaker hose is completely functional. I tested it by watering the raised bed for a couple of hours.
So, it is my theory that the best hose repair ends are the ones used with pipe clamps. They are the most universally useful and they hold up under pressure. The good news is that pipe clamps only cost a few cents each, so it will be easy to find some to use with the couple of pronged hose repairs ends that I still have left over from my plans for custom soaker hoses the first time. It looks like it may be a useful theory, too.