Fix Your Leaking Hose Reels (Don’t Throw Them Away!)
Every spring, the streets are lined with leaking hose reels, waiting for garbage trucks to pick them up and haul them off to the landfill. It’s frustrating to see the waste, and equally as frustrating to know how much it costs to buy a new one. Hose reels are heavy duty plastic, so they will last a very long time–except when they leak, which makes them wasteful and pretty useless. (Many of my references will be to Suncast products, since both of my leaking hose reels were from that brand.)
What Causes Leaking Hose Reels?
If you’re here reading this, chances are you’ve experienced water spraying everywhere on the inside of your hose reel “box.”
Most likely, you’re having the same problems I had. And, guess what? They’re fixable! I had two different versions of Suncast Hose Reels–one in the front yard, one in the back.
They both had the same issue, even though the pieces were slightly different. There are few ideas on what causes the leak.
- Have you left your hose reel in freezing temperatures?
- Is the connector being torked with too much pressure?
- Does having a seam in the plastic compromise the durability?
Does anyone have the answers to these questions? It could be a combination of all three…but, at the end of the day, who really cares? All you want is to fix it so you don’t have to spend a fortune on a new one. Am I right???
Find the Problem
More than likely, if you have leaking hose reels, the problem is with the “In/Out Tube.” This is typically found on the interior of your hose reel box, where you thread your hose before rolling around the cross brace/flange system so you can easily roll/unroll. That plastic piece that your hose is threaded to is usually the culprit. Unroll your hose completely, but leave it threaded. Turn on your water. The leak will be easy to find. You don’t even have to do that–typically, you will be able to see the crack by moving it with your hand slightly.
If it’s the connection that seems to be leaking…
You might just need to tighten your hose. If the connection is rusted, you can repair hoses with pretty inexpensive elements. See the process.
Get Your Tools
The process of taking apart these hose hideaway boxes is pretty simple.
- Rubber Mallet
- Flathead Screwdriver
Take It Apart
The goal of this is to expose the “In/Out Tube” so it can removed and replaced, as well as the exterior “clip + inlet” pieces.
Two things you should always do when you are trying to repair equipment:
- Don’t throw pieces away until the replacements have been ordered and installed properly.
- Record or photograph the disassembly process–it’s a great resource when you get the replacement pieces delivered.
After you unroll the hose and unthread it, put it aside. It’s time to disassemble the “cross brace & flange.” Use your flathead screwdriver to break the pressure of the cross brace–the cylinder between the two flanges or “wheel-like” side pieces. There’s probably no hardware, usually these are just “fitted” together.
Tap the end of the screwdriver at one end of the cylinder where the two halves are joined together, to cause the cylinder to come apart–you will have to do that a few times, moving all along the joined sections. Trust the process, it will come apart. (And, when you are ready, it will go back together.)
You’ll want to remove the “In/Out Tube” from the cross brace/flange. On the outside of the box, where the leader hose attaches from the spigot, you’ll have a piece with a colored “clip” which you’ll need to remove.
Use your screwdriver to pry that clip out. This will help with the disassmbly of the unit.
Set aside the “in/out tube” from the inside & the “clip + inlet” pieces from the outside of the box. Save everything so you can ensure that you order the right replacement pieces.
Ordering Replacement Parts
For one of my leaking hose reels, I was able to find the original sticker on the inside lid–luck was on my side. If you don’t have that information available, you’ll want to visit the Suncast website to browse the products. There are a number of hose reel versions. It helps to have your pieces handy to cross check what you’ll need to order.
I used my “broken” pieces to identify which part number I needed. If you have a brand different than Suncast, you can use the following steps as a basic idea of how to find your replacement parts:
I visited the Suncast website and did a search for “replacement parts.” Here is the page you’ll need: Replacement Parts
On that page, you’ll find a section to take you to the In/Out Tube Replacement Parts.
There is a photo gallery with detailed pictures of the In/Out Tubes, listing the SKU. This is important. That SKU is how you’ll find what you need on the order form. Pay attention to details, like whether or not you have brass fittings on yours, or just resin, which will be like that heavy duty plastic. In some cases, you can buy the “kit” which includes the In/Out Tube + the Inlet & Clip, or just certain pieces of the kits. You can also call suncast for more information.
After you identify the products you need, fill out the order form on that page–the SKU is listed for each offering on the order form.
Assemble Your Hose Reel
When your replacement parts show up, it’s time to assemble your hose reel!
You’ll need the same tools as you used when you took it apart. Most kits will come with petroleum jelly. You’ll follow the directions to put some on the In/Out Tube.
The In/Out Tube is partially inserted into the flange. Then, that piece is put inside the box to connect it to the inlet, which goes onto the exterior of the box, putting the “Clip” in place to hold everything together.
The cross brace is pieced back together, putting the two halves in position, pressing them into each other. You may need to apply more pressure with the rubber mallet. They will snap in place.
Connect your leader hose from the spigot to the Inlet. Connect your garden hose to the In/Out Tube. Use pliers if necessary to ensure the hoses are tightened as they should be.
Turn on the water, and watch with amazement as your hose reel works properly again!