Hose replacement parts and repair kits are available everywhere: hardware stores, home improvement centers and plant nurseries to name a few. However, before you begin shopping for repair kits, measure the diameter of your hose.

Repair kits are made for specific hose sizes. The two common hose sizes: " and ". Hose repair kits are typically used to replace either the male or female end of the hose or to repair a leak anywhere along the length of the hose.

There are several types of hose-repair kits. Some are made of solid brass, some are made of stamped brass and yet others made of plastic or fiberglass.

One solid brass type fitting uses an adjustable hose clamp to hold the fitting to the hose. The tubular ribbed end of the fitting is inserted into the hose. Then, the hose clamp is firmly tightened around the outside surface of the hose and over the ribbed shaft to hold the new fitting firmly in place. The hose clamp assembly can be reused in the event that the hose springs another leak. As far as we're concerned, there is only one drawback to the adjustable hose clamp system - if you aren't paying attention, you can easily cut yourself on the clamp assembly.

A compromise to the adjustable hose clamp is the solid brass fitting that incorporates a two-piece solid metal clamp where the two pieces are held together with a pair of recessed screws. This fitting is slightly heavier than the adjustable clamp type, but the chance of a cut hand is eliminated. The two-piece clamp type fitting also is available in solid brass and fiberglass and all plastic.

Another type fitting - and the one that has been around the longest - is the stamped brass claw clamp kit. This fitting is much flimsier solid brass fittings that we previously mentioned, but also is less expensive to purchase and is easy to install. Unlike solid brass, a stamped metal fitting will easily bend when driven over by a car. If you're careful, that might never be an issue. The fitting holds pretty well. This style of fitting cannot be reused.

Making an actual repair with any of the fittings mentioned requires a cut made square to the length of the hose. Use a utility knife to easily slice the hose. Be careful, as a utility knife is razor sharp. By the way, a square cut will allow the hose end(s) to fit snugly against the repair fitting for a more secure connection.

To install the one-piece clinch-type fitting, force the ribbed shaft at the end of the fitting into the end of the hose. If the fit is too tight, making it difficult to get the hose over the end of the fitting, soak the end of the hose in hot water. Lubricating the fitting with a little soap also will help. Once the ribbed shaft is fully inserted into the hose, use pliers to squeeze down the individual metal fingers that surround the hose.

The screw-type clamp works essentially the same way as the clinch-type fitting. The difference: instead of using pliers to squeeze down on metal fingers, a screwdriver is used to attach plastic clamps to either side of the repair.