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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 and its territories is known as "garden hose thread" (GHT), which is 3/4" diameter straight (non-tapered) thread with a pitch of 11.5 TPI (male part 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. Outside the United States, 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.
Alternative uses of old garden hose
An expanding literature is recording alternative uses of garden hose.
Gardena quick-connect hose fittings
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