Reusing old materials in creative ways allows us to reduce waste while also saving money on projects. Garden hoses are a versatile item that can be repurposed for many uses around the home. With some simple steps, I transformed my worn-out garden hose into a useful set of wiring to power several outdoor lighting projects.
Gather Materials and Assess the Hose
The first step was to collect the needed materials:
- Old garden hose (at least 25 feet long)
- Wire cutters
- Wire strippers
- Spade terminal crimping tool
- Male and female spade terminals
- Electrical tape
I made sure to thoroughly inspect the hose for damage. Small cracks or holes could allow water to seep in and cause electrical issues. I looked for any rubber degradation, brittleness, cracks, holes, or other signs of wear. A visually intact hose is ideal for this project.
Cut the Hose into Long Strips
Once I found a suitable old but structurally sound garden hose, I used the wire cutters to cut long straight strips to be used as wiring:
- I cut the hose into 10 strips, each 5 feet long
- The longer the strips, the fewer connections needed
- Strips should be cut as straight as possible to lie flat
Cutting the garden hose into long, straight strips created the basic material that I would turn into flexible outdoor wiring.
Strip the Plastic Covering from the Ends
With the hose cut into strips, I used the wire strippers to remove the plastic outer covering from both ends of each strip:
- I stripped about 3 inches of covering from each end
- Stripping exposes the inner rubber tubing and metal wiring
- The metal wiring acts as a conductive core
It's important to strip the plastic coating without cutting the rubber tubing so the internal wiring remains intact.
Attach Spade Terminals
Next, I used the spade terminal crimping tool to attach a spade terminal to each stripped end:
- Crimp a terminal to capture exposed wiring
- Attach both a male and female spade terminal
- Make sure the crimped connection is tight
Attaching terminals allows each hose wiring strip to easily connect to other lights and fixtures.
Before going any further, I tested conductivity through each hose strip:
- Connect the male and female terminals on each strip
- Use a multimeter to test for a complete circuit
- Check for no shorts which could cause issues
- Troubleshoot any problem strips
Verifying conductivity ensures my hose wiring will operate safely and properly when connected.
With each strip tested, I weatherproofed the terminals and connections:
- Wrap each terminal with electrical tape
- Provide an extra layer of tape on the crimped section
- Seal connections between strips
- Tape helps prevent moisture damage
Weatherproofing the connections will allow my hose wiring to stand up to the outdoor elements.
Run Hose Wiring to Lights
Finally, I attached my hose wiring to run between outdoor lighting fixtures:
- Connect male and female terminals between strips
- Run lengths to desired fixtures and devices
- Use hose clamps to attach lines along walls/fences
- Connect to outdoor lighting
The completed hose wiring cleanly powers my outdoor lighting while blending into the environment.
Repurposing a worn-out garden hose provided me with the flexible, durable wiring needed for lighting and power outside. With a little time and effort, I was able to transform trash into a useful tool for my projects. If you have an old hose, give wiring projects like this a try!