Hozelock Aquastop – maybe not such a good idea

I have always been a fan of Hozelock products and have used them for many years with no complaints. Perhaps some of the competing products might also offer reliable service, but I have no intention of trying them when I am happy with this brand. The one time we tried a different make of hose, it did not last even one day – as soon as the pressure was applied, the hose developed bulges and leaks in several places, even though we did not have high water pressure – and we have never tried another make since. Hozelock products tend to be a bit pricey, especially in the garden centres, but going online to somewhere like www.garden4less.co.uk, one can find a good range of products at much lower prices. One Hozelock product I have had to remove from my watering system, though, is the Aquastop connector.

Hozelock Aquastop connector; white insert with O-ring below

These connectors might sound like a good idea – an end connector for the hose that allows it to be disconnected from end fittings such as spray guns without water gushing out. I have benefitted from this, when, for example, switching from a spray gun to connect to soaker hoses, saving me the trouble of going back to the tap to shut off the supply, or avoiding a good soaking when I am too lazy to bother.

The main difference between an Aquastop connector and the standard sort is the addition of a captive plastic insert. When disconnected, the water pressure forces one end of this insert up against a shoulder. A rubber O-ring provides a seal, thus cutting off the supply. When connected to, for example, a spray gun, the spigot of the male connector presses on the insert, moving the seal away from the shoulder, letting the water flow.

Acquastop connector, showing the reduction in bore caused by the insert

Although it sounds like a good idea, aside from the increase in cost, there is a possible drawback that one should consider before using them. The pictures show that the insert constitutes a substantial blockage. This inevitably results in a loss of flow. Whether this is significant might depend on various factors such as water pressure and lengths of hose. In our case, we have been frustrated for some time with poor flow, which makes watering a chore. We bought some standard fittings and compared the flow on one of our hoses, timing how long it took to fill a bucket to a given level. We found a dramatic improvement with standard connectors: what took one minute with the Aquastop, took only 40 seconds with standard connectors. Fortunately, the plastic from which the insert is manufactured is fairly soft, and readily snipped off at the seal end, with side cutters or a similar tool. Once removed, the full bore is opened up. I have added another 4-way tap connector to our watering system, so that we no longer need to remove the spray gun from this hose.

Although the Aquastop connector might sound like a good idea, one does not often need to disconnect the hose to change end fittings, and taps can be turned off without so much bother. The additional cost might not be a significant factor, but the drop in pressure may well be. I now wonder why I thought they were a good idea in the first place, and have happily snipped the plastic insert away on a handful of connectors.

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