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I laid out a soaker hose system for my garden this year. Unfortunately a few weeks ago I went to turn it on and noticed a loud spraying sound coming from one area, when I removed some mulch the water shot approximately 10 feet up in the air.

It shouldn't be too hard to find the hole, but what is the best way to fix it? Its a soaker hose, so the repair does not need to be water tight, but it should be enough that it maintains the pressure in the rest of the hose and will stay put so the hole doesn't reopen or get larger.

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up vote 16 down vote accepted

You could get one of these self-fusing silicone tapes that are used to fix minor plumbing and hose leaks. You should be able to find it at any hardware store and they cost about 5$.

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Now coming to using them, it's a double sided adhesive tape which can be a bit tricky at first and you'll need to do it carefully, else it won't sit tight.

  1. First, locate the hole in the hose. This should be very easy -- turn the water on (maybe not full blast) and pull up the hose from under the mulch. You can use little tape bits or whatever to temporarily mark the spots and then turn off the water.
  2. Dry the outside of the hose thoroughly and if you can unhook it from the mains, do so and blow the water out. The surface should be completely dry, without moisture.
  3. Now comes the hard part - wrapping it around the hose. Peel a little bit (3") and hold it firmly against the hose, about 2-3" away from the hole (or one end if it is a longish crack and not a hole). Now start wrapping it around the hose and moving to the other end till you're 2-3" away from the hole or the other end of the crack and keep peeling the clear tape as required.
  4. You should maintain at least 50% overlap each time you wind around the hose. Note that these things stretch quite a bit, so make sure that you pull it really well as you wind it. This is very important because the "self-fusing" nature or the reason why it sticks is because the double sided adhesive prevents it from slipping when it tries to unwind itself due to the tension from the stretching. The friction helps keep it tightly bound. If it were loose, it'll simply separate.

Be careful to not peel off more than you can wind at once. Otherwise, you'll soon realize that it gets all twisted and sticks to itself in ways that you can't get it undone.

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+1 For making me aware of "self-fusing silicone tape". I no longer need more "duct tape", I need "self-fusing silicone tape" :) – Mike Perry Sep 16 '11 at 19:15

I recommend paying a visit to your local hardware shop, large DIY store... and pick up a "hose repair kit" (or a "splice connector" might also work for your needs), it should cost no more than a few $'s and will enable you to fix the hose properly.

Another alternative, if the hole isn't that large, repair the hose with a bicycle tire repair kit...

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I bought air tubing at the hardware store that was was big enough to fit fairly snug inside the soaker hose. I cut off a 4 inch piece of the air tubing, covered the outside liberally with silicone adhesive and pushed it halfway into one end of the severed soaker hose. Then I pushed the other severed end onto the other half of the air tubing until the severed ends met. I let it cure and viola, effective splice.

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There are drip irrigation parts that the soaker hose fits into. The one you want is usually called a compression 'coupling'. They should only be $1 each - some are pricey online (sort of boutique drip irrigation prices). Go to an irrigation supply store, or even some large box stores have them. They are much cheaper than any of the other suggestions, as well as reliable, durable, and you can take them apart and reconfigure them. Just make sure it's the right size. There are various size couplings - the link shows one, but you can get a few sizes. The photo shows threads (on the outside) but inside the tube is a sort of funnel - that is the compression fitting. When you force the hose into it, it's really hard to get out. But not impossible. That's how people make drip or soaker systems. To attach them put them in the sun for awhile (the soaker hose) and it will be easier. http://www.mrdrip.com/146-Soaker-Hose-Parts-Kit_p_410.html

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Oh, I should have mentioned that you cut the soaker hose at the point where the hole is, then re-attach the hose via the coupling. There are also little hole 'goof'' plugs that are meant for drip hoses (a harder plastic) type hose you punch holes into and put in an emitter. These plugs may work. But the hole has to be pretty small. dripworks.com/product/14GP1/… – Eric Deloak Dec 4 '15 at 22:55

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