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A garden hose, hosepipe or simply hose is a flexible tube used to convey water. There are a number of common attachments available for the end of the hose, such as sprayers and sprinklers (which are used to concentrate water at one point or spread it over a large area). Hoses are usually attached to a hose spigot or tap.
Garden hoses are typically made of extruded synthetic rubber or soft plastic, often reinforced with an internal web of fibers. As a result of these materials, garden hoses are flexible and their smooth exterior facilitates pulling them past trees, posts and other obstacles. Garden hoses are also generally tough enough to survive scraping on rocks and being stepped on without damage or leaking.
Most garden hoses are not rated for use with hot water, and their packaging will often specify whether or not this is the case. Leaving non-reinforced hoses in the hot sun while pressurized can cause them to burst.
Hoses used to carry potable water are typically made of NSF International-listed polymers tested and shown not to leach harmful materials into the drinking water, such as the plasticizers (phthalates) used in polyvinyl chloride (PVC, or vinyl) hoses.
The term "hosepipe" is chiefly British, South African, and southern US usage; "hose" or "garden hose" is the predominant term in other English-speaking areas. The term "hose" is also used for other types of flexible, water-carrying tubes such as those used by fire departments.
As implied by the name, garden hoses are commonly used to transport water for gardening, lawn care, and other landscaping purposes. They are also used for outdoor cleaning of items such as vehicles, equipment, building exteriors, and animals. NSF-approved hoses may be used for connecting drinkable water to recreational vehicles and trailers.
Whenever a flexible hose is connected to a drinkable water supply, the spigot or tap should be fitted with an approved backflow prevention device, to prevent contaminated water from being siphoned back, in the event of a pressure drop. Many water suppliers require this, and plumbing code may legally require permanently installed backflow preventers.
Porous or perforated hoses
Special hoses designed to leak throughout their length are sometimes used to gently distribute water on a lawn or garden. These hoses either have many small holes drilled or punched in them, or are deliberately formulated of a porous material, such as sintered rubber particles. These "soaker hoses" are a simple, low-cost, crude type of drip irrigation system.
Standards and connectors
Garden hoses connect using a male/female thread connection. Spigots typically have male connectors, and one end of a hose has a captive nut which fits the threads. The technical term for this arrangement is a "hose union".
The thread standard for garden hose connectors in the United States, its territories and Canada is known as "garden hose thread" (GHT), which is 3/4" diameter straight (non-tapered) thread with a pitch of 11.5 TPI. The female thread is abbreviated FHT and the male part MHT which has an outer diameter of 1 1⁄16 inches (26.99 mm). This fitting is used with 1/2", 5/8", and 3/4" hoses. In other countries, the BSP standard is used, which is 3/4" and 14 TPI (male part OD is 26.441 mm or 1.04 in). The GHT and BSP standards are not compatible, and attempting to connect a GHT hose to a BSP fitting will damage the threads, and vice versa.
Each male end of a typical garden hose can mate with the female connector on another, which allows multiple garden hoses to be linked end-to-end to increase their overall length. Small rubber or plastic washers (often confusingly called "hose washers") are used in female ends to prevent leakage, because the threads are not tapered and are not used to create a seal. Sometimes the gaskets stiffen, disintegrate, or fall out of older hoses, which results in pressurized leakage spraying from the hose; simply replacing the washer insert often fixes the problem.
As of 2000[update], the use of quick-connector systems has become more popular. These are fittings that screw into the common hose connectors, allowing hoses and accessories to be easily connected together using a snap-fit system. The connectors may also include an internal valve that is opened by the fitting, so that disconnecting a hose using this adaptor causes the water flow to stop. This greatly eases common tasks by allowing specialized sprayers to be interchanged without requiring two trips back to the spigot for each change.
Methods of storing garden hose
Reeling, coiling, figure-of-eight lay, barreling, lining, hooking, and branching are some of the ways garden hose is stored. Some methods of storing followed by using puts twists into the hose that challenges users. Other methods will not twist the hose. Hiding hoses is not always a good idea; visibility of hoses, especially for fire fighting, could be vitally important; helping neighbors would need to see the stored hose in order to use it to fight a fire.
Health risks from aerosols
In 2014, it was reported that use of common garden hoses in combination with spray nozzles may generate aerosols containing droplets smaller than 10 μm, which can be inhaled by nearby people. Water stagnating in a hose between uses, especially when warmed by the sun, can host the growth and interaction of Legionella and free-living amoebae (FLA) as biofilms on the inner surface of the hose. Clinical cases of Legionnaires' disease or Pontiac fever have been found to be associated with inhalation of garden hose aerosols containing Legionella bacteria. The report provides measured microbial densities resulting from controlled hose conditions in order to quantify the human health risks. The densities of Legionella spp. identified in two types of hoses were found to be similar to those reported during legionellosis outbreaks from other causes. It is proposed that the risk could be mitigated by draining hoses after use.
Alternative uses of old garden hose
Musician and multi-instrumentalist Rahsaan Roland Kirk notably used the garden variety garden hose as an alternative or experimental instrument on several of his albums. The name he used for this instrumentation was "Black Mystery Pipes."
Gardena quick-connect hose fittings
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- Bill Lauer (1 January 2004). AWWA Water Operator Field Guide. American Water Works Association. pp. 209–. ISBN 978-1-58321-315-5.
- Rolf Ekenes (19 January 2010). Southern Marine Engineering Desk Reference. Xlibris Corporation. pp. 134–. ISBN 978-1-4691-1637-2.
- Thomas, Jacqueline M.; Thomas, Torsten; Stuetz, Richard M.; Ashbolt, Nicholas J. (2014). "Your Garden Hose: A Potential Health Risk Due toLegionellaspp. Growth Facilitated by Free-Living Amoebae". Environmental Science & Technology. 48 (17): 10456–10464. doi:10.1021/es502652n. ISSN 0013-936X.