Hose Care

Hoses are an extension of your plumbing system and should be treated accordingly. They are normally sold in lengths of 25, 50, 75, and 100 feet. Shorter hoses have greater per-foot costs than longer ones, but are easier to drain and coil. The volume of water delivered by a hose per minute drops as its length increases. For the fastest water flow, use a hose that is as close to the exact length you need rather than one that is too long. The construction of the hose plays a big role in performance and endurance. Rubber hoses are the most flexible and stay pliable at the lowest temperatures, but they are also the most expensive. High-quality reinforced vinyl hoses are also flexible at low temperatures, and are resistant to abrasion and bursting. Good quality hoses will have heavy brass couplings. Those with flattened hexagonal or octagonal edges are the most crush resistant. If you can't find a hose with brass couplings, galvanized steel would be the next choice. The least desirable would be plastic.

The most popular hose diameter is 5/8-inch. Larger diameter hoses, such as 3/4 inch and 1 inch are also available. Unfortunately, they are also heavier to handle. The smaller the diameter, the less water the hose will deliver in a given period. When coupling hoses of different diameters together, attach the largest one closest to the faucet. The smaller hose will help maintain pressure as the water is forced into it.

Proper care of your hose will lengthen its life considerably. Never let a hose kink. Any kink becomes a weak point and the hose will tend to kink there repeatedly. Coil up the hose after each use and put it away. This will reduce its exposure to ultraviolet light and the resulting photodegradation. Nylon and vinyl hoses are more subject to the deteriorating effects of ultraviolet light. Avoid leaving the hose stretched across the driveway where it can be run over on a regular basis. Bring the hoses indoors in the fall. If you must leave the hose outside for the winter, be sure to drain it before cold weather sets in and causes the water inside to freeze and expand.

A commonly asked question about hoses is how much water does a hose deliver. Most household water pressure runs about 40 pounds per square inch (psi). A 100 foot long, 5/8-inch diameter hose will deliver 11 gallons of water a minute. The following table compares different hose diameters and water volumes at different pressures.

Number of gallons of water discharged per minute from a 100-foot hose at different psi.
Psi at hose inlet1/2 in5/8 in3/4 in1 in

Hoses are a convenient way of getting water from point A to B. Quality construction and a little care can lengthen its life considerably.

This article originally appeared in the June 28, 1996 issue, p. 111.


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