Realizing that your garden hose has burst can be a frustrating experience, even more so when it happens repetitively. Before investing more money in a new hose, you’ll want to determine why your garden hoses keep bursting and take steps to prevent it from happening again.
The most common reasons garden hoses burst include high water pressure, a clogged spray nozzle, and improper hose storage. Soft hose material, kinks, and infrequent garden hose usage can also contribute to bursts and breakages, as can knots and extreme temperature changes.
This guide will walk you through the reasons why your garden hoses continually burst and offer solutions to each issue, ensuring that you prevent bursting in the future.
1. The Water Pressure Is Too High
The most common culprit when a garden hose bursts during use is excessively high water pressure.
Every garden hose has a pounds per square inch (PSI) rating. This rating corresponds to the maximum amount of water pressure the hose can withstand without breaking or bursting.
Most households have outdoor fixtures that produce a maximum water pressure of 80 PSI. In comparison, the average garden hose has a maximum PSI limit of between 200 and 600 PSI.
Still, if you crank up your outdoor water spigot to its full output, there’s a chance that the water rushing from the faucet and through your hose can exceed the PSI rating. This is especially true when hoses are knotted or severely kinked in multiple spots.
How To Fix
In most cases, ensuring your hose is straightened (and kink-free) can help you avoid bursts related to high water pressure.
So before you turn on your outdoor spigot, take the time to uncoil the hose and check it for kinks. Of course, running a low-to-medium rate of water through your hose is a great way to work out kinks.
But if your garden hose has one (or several) kinks, you’ll want to increase the water flow to work out those kinks slowly. Going from zero to maximum pressure can quickly result in a burst hose!
If you would like to learn more on how to keep your garden hose from kinking, check out my article: How to Keep a Garden Hose from Kinking
And if your uncoiled, unkinked garden hose has burst despite your precautions, it’s likely time to invest in a water pressure gauge.
2. The Spray Nozzle Is Clogged
Another issue that can contribute to bursting is a clogged spray nozzle.
After all, when water can’t flow freely from the end of a garden hose, the pressure inside the hose builds and builds. Like an overfilled water balloon, the hose bursts when the pressure exceeds the material’s maximum PSI rating.
Therefore, if you’ve been struggling with constantly bursting garden hoses, check your spray nozzle for signs of damage or blockages.
You can also place the spray nozzle beneath an indoor faucet, with the face pointing down into the sink, and observe the water flow through the head’s openings. If water droplets struggle to make it through the nozzle head, you’re likely dealing with a blockage.
Unfortunately, quite a few things can lead to a clogged spray nozzle. But some of the most common culprits include:
- Mineral build-up (calcium and magnesium from hard water)
- Physical contaminants (leaves, sticks, small rocks)
How To Fix
Removing the spray nozzle from your garden hose after each use and storing it in an enclosed area like a garden shed or indoor drawer can help you avoid blockages. But you may also need to de-mineralize the spray head occasionally, especially if your home uses hard water.
Hard water mineralization often resembles a chalky white crust inside your hose nozzle. This build-up may also have tinges of green, black, or yellow.
You can remove these minerals by soaking your hose spray nozzle in a bowl or bucket of white vinegar. After allowing the spray head to soak for at least thirty minutes, use an old toothbrush or soft-bristled scrub brush to remove any caked-on scum or minerals.
Afterward, you can rinse the spray head with warm water. Repeat the soak-scrub process if any minerals or discoloration remain. Alternatively, toss out a blocked hose spray nozzle and replace it with a brand-new one!
3. You Store Your Garden Hoses Outdoors in Sunlight
The average gardener stores their garden hose outdoors on a hose reel. While this storage location is convenient, it isn’t the safest place for your hose.
Stationary hose reels that sit in sunlight most of the day can be particularly problematic.
That’s because hoses of all materials can weaken over time when exposed to UV rays, leading to premature bursting and breakages. Even thick rubber hoses can begin to degrade when exposed to sunlight!
So, storing your garden hose in a spot with plenty of sunlight may inadvertently increase the hose’s bursting risk.
How To Fix
The best way to prevent bursting due to UV damage is to keep your hose stored indoors or in a sheltered place when it’s not in use.
If you don’t already own a garden shed or set of enclosed outdoor shelves, you might want to consider investing in one. Not only are these storage solutions a fantastic place to keep your hose away from damaging UV rays, but they can also help keep your garden tools in tip-top shape!
You can also invest in a wheeled hose reel that’s easy to move around your yard.
4. Your Garden Hoses Are Made of Thin Fabric
Collapsible garden hoses (also called expandable hoses) have become quite popular over the last few decades, as they’re lightweight and easy to store. But most of these “shrinking” hoses are made of fabric like polyester and nylon.
Imagine that you’ve been asked to rip a soft cotton shirt. Though you might struggle slightly to tear it, especially without a prior cut to get you started, you’ll likely be able to rip it apart far more easily than a thick piece of metal or solid rubber.
This concept also applies to collapsible hoses. Though these garden tools are convenient, they tend to break far more easily than thicker materials like rubber or metal.
So if you’ve been buying budget-friendly collapsible hoses only to find that they break after a few uses, you’ll want to consider opting for thicker materials the next time you shop for a replacement hose.
How To Fix
Though thick garden hoses (made of stainless steel or rubber) might be heavier than collapsible ones made of nylon or polyester, they’re far more durable and resistant to bursting.
Multi-layer garden hoses made of thick, durable materials are the best choices.
5. You Use Your Garden Hose Infrequently
Generally, most gardeners will use their garden hose at least once weekly. Even those without backyard gardens or container plants might use their hose every week to water their lawns.
But it’s also easy to neglect your garden hose, especially during the colder seasons when plants are dormant. When this happens, and your hose is left unattended (especially outdoors), it can develop small cracks that lead to bursting the next time you use it.
Think about it like this—a car tire left alone in a garage for several months can degrade due to a lack of use, humidity, and temperature changes. A rubber garden hose can suffer from the same problems!
Unfortunately, gardeners living in areas that enjoy long winter seasons or periods of plant dormancy can struggle with this problem.
How To Fix
Ensuring that you’re using your garden hose at least once per week is the best way to avoid damages caused by infrequent usage. But this might not always be possible.
If you live in an area prone to cold weather and long winters, you might want to switch from outdoor gardening to indoor container gardening.
Doing so is a fantastic way to avoid garden hose bursts, as you can simply switch to an indoor irrigation system or choose to hand-water plants—no hose needed!
Of course, investing in a hose that can withstand temperature extremes and keeping that hose stored indoors during cold weather may also help it stay in great shape, preventing bursts related to material decay.
6. The Garden Hose Kinks Easily
A kinky garden hose might sound like the setup for a joke, but it’s one of the most frustrating things gardeners deal with when attempting to water large gardens or lawns.
When a hose develops a kink (a sharp bend that results in a flattened portion), water flowing from the outdoor spigot or indoor faucet cannot flow through the tubing and out to the spray nozzle head or hose opening.
Unworking a kink might mean manually flexing and pushing the hose, but you can also use low-pressure water to help push the material back into its original shape. Still, if you’re not careful, this kink can remain and cause water pressure to build up inside the hose, forcing it to burst.
How To Fix
Always try to unkink hoses manually before using water to work them out. Additionally, avoid using high-pressure water to undo kinks in a garden hose.
If possible, you might always want to invest in thick, stiff garden hoses that don’t bend easily. These tend to resist kinks better than thinner, more flexible options, especially those made of latex and fabric.
7. You Don’t Unknot Your Hose Before Using It
In addition to kinks, knots along the length of your garden hose can significantly increase the risk of bursting.
If you don’t store your hose on a reel or spool when you’re done using it, it can quickly end up looking like a jumbled pile of string lights. Though untangling this mess of tubing can be labor-intensive and time-consuming, neglecting to do so can cause the hose to burst when you turn on the water supply.
The concept behind this is similar to one involved in kink-related bursts. When a garden hose is bent or knotted, there’s a blockage preventing the water from flowing out at a safe rate.
Consequently, the pressure inside the hose can increase until the material splits, bursting apart due to the high pressure.
How To Fix
Storing your garden hose away neatly after each use is the best way to prevent knots, and therefore, knot-related bursting. So, if you’re not in the habit of using a hose reel or spool, now is the time to change your ways and embrace a better way of maintaining your hose.
Taking a few extra minutes after each watering session to gently coil your garden hose doesn’t only help extend the lifespan of your hose and prevent breakages. It can also reduce outdoor tripping hazards caused by unspooled, knotted hoses.
8. Your Hose Has Experienced Dramatic Temperature Changes
Keeping your garden hose indoors or in a garage when it’s not in use can help it enjoy the maximum possible lifespan. After all, hoses left outdoors in the elements can experience sudden and damaging temperature changes.
If you’re accustomed to leaving your hose outdoors (on a reel or in a shed), sudden temperature changes resulting from hard frosts or heat waves can weaken the hose material, making it more prone to breaks and cracks.
This concept applies to almost all hoses, regardless of material.
That’s because heat causes molecules to get “excited,” causing them to move rapidly, typically resulting in expansion. In contrast, cold temperatures force molecules closer together, making materials contract.
One of the only exceptions to this general rule is rubber, which expands in cold temperatures and contracts when exposed to heat. Still, the rapid molecular movement that hoses undergo due to rapidly shifting temperatures weakens them.
How To Fix
Storing your garden hose indoors is one of the most convenient ways to avoid temperature-related hose bursts, especially when outdoor temperatures are extremely hot or cold.
However, this option might not be suitable for all.
Investing in a temperature-safe hose might be the better choice if you prefer to store your hose outdoors on a patio or in an enclosed garden shed. Some of these hoses can endure temperatures as low as -50°F (-45.5°C) and as high as 212°F (100°C).
So, if you live in an area that experiences significant temperature changes throughout the year and cannot (or don’t want to) store your hose indoors, this rubber hose could be the ultimate solution to unexpected bursts and breakages.
9. You’re Only Purchasing Used or Old Garden Hoses
If you like to stretch every penny or prefer to keep waste low by purchasing pre-owned items, you might be tempted to buy used garden hoses from neighbors or local sellers.
While this option might be more affordable than going to your local home improvement store and investing in a high-quality hose, it can cost you more in the long run and increase the risk of bursts.
Like purchasing a vehicle from a private seller, there’s often no way to verify the true condition of a used garden hose. Disreputable sellers may attempt to sell broken, burst, or badly damaged hoses at low prices and fail to inform you of the problems beforehand.
So, if you’ve made a habit of choosing pre-owned garden hoses, consider opting for a brand-new one instead. Though you could spend more initially, the long-term benefits make this investment worthwhile.
How To Fix
The only way to avoid this issue is to invest in brand-new, high-quality garden hoses.
Fortunately, the best anti-bursting garden hoses can cost anywhere between $20 and $100, depending on length and type. As such, there’s an option suitable for every budget and need.
Besides, purchasing a new high-quality garden hose might be the most cost-effective solution, especially if you take steps to keep your hose in tip-top condition.
For example, a new hose that’s kept indoors (when not in use), stored properly, and used often can potentially last decades, if not a lifetime. So spending a little more in the short term could save you hundreds of dollars over the course of several years!