A hose is an essential component on any spray rig. You want a hose you can depend on and a hose that will last. Here are some key features to consider when you’re looking to invest in that crucial piece of equipment for your rig:
Measurements: Typically a commercial turf sprayer uses 300 ft. – 400 ft. of hose with a pressure rating of either 600 or 800 PSI. Most lawn sprayers use a ½ in. hose. Anything smaller isn’t suitable for the pressure drop, and larger diameters can become quite heavy with the added weight of chemicals being carried through it. The ½ in. hose seems to be the top choice among lawn sprayer operators.
Materials: Hoses are available in a variety of materials but in the turf care industry, they’re mostly a blend of urethane and PVC material because of its exceptional chemical resistance. The urethane additive helps soften the more rigid PVC material to make the hose more flexible. Hoses are available in a spiral one-pass or spiral-two pass. This is the nylon cord that runs through the hose to provide reinforcement. A spiral one-pass runs from one end to the other and a spiral two-pass hose will run from end-to-end and then back again. Usually, in the lawn care industry, a spiral one-pass hose is suitable for the job and will save on costs.
Hose Texture: While some hoses have a smooth exterior, others are ribbed. A smooth hose offers the benefit of pulling through the grass more easily but it won’t last as long. Graham’s hoses offer a ribbed exterior because of the increased durability it provides to the outer coating when it is pulled across concrete. Hoses typically last 5+ years but that can vary depending on storage and operating conditions including temperature fluctuations, dragging across the concrete, being run over by trucks and other instances of wear and tear.
Hose Attachments: A nozzle or spray gun attaches to the hose with a swivel allowing for flexible spray patterns. A crimped end connection can offer a superior fitting and may be required on some hoses. Make sure that you have the proper fitting or coupling to maximize the most use of your hose and product.
Hose Resistance to Chemicals: Several characteristics of a hose affect its ability to withstand breakdown from the chemicals that run through it.
- Temperature:Make sure that your hose is operated within the temperature limits recommended by its manufacturer. Higher temperatures can affect the reaction of chemicals on compounds, ultimately affecting your hose’s performance. Hose pressure is determined at 70 degrees. At higher temperatures, hoses begin to soften which results in lower pressure. Anything lower than 32 degrees could cause the chemicals to freeze and expand, possibly damaging the hose itself.
- Hose Grade/Blend: The material makeup of your hose is also a determining factor in its ability to last when interacting with chemicals. Rubber compounds can cause hoses to flex which may affect its longevity. Often, commercial turf spray hoses have additives like urethane to enhance flexibility for spraying and maneuvering around obstacles. Such additives can affect the hoses interaction with chemicals so when in doubt, test the hose with the chemical it will handle first before using on a job.
- Size: As previously mentioned, the diameter of the hose can also impact the chemical being carried due to pressure changes. Make sure you select the best size hose for your service. Smaller hoses are appealing in their ability to accommodate small gates or fence openings, but it’s important to find a balance between that and pressure requirements. If you’re spraying trees that require higher pressure, a slightly larger diameter may be the way to go.
- End Fittings: A proper end fitting will help you get the most out of your hose. You want a fitting that is secure and properly aligned so there is a seamless transition of the chemical from the hose. Having the correct fitting for the type of job you do will ensure the right amount of pressure and chemical amounts.
Make sure you choose the right hose for your business based on the components above. Expect to pay anywhere between $300 – $1,000 for a hose. A good hose will be able to stand up to the chemicals that run through it on a daily basis without deteriorating. It will also hold up to the constant handling and coiling it will experience in your busy season. When the time comes that you have to get a new hose, you’ll know what to look for when choosing the best replacement.