Use PVC Pipe to Make Hose Washer

Use PVC Pipe to Make Hose Washer

An inexpensive and easy-to-build hose washer constructed of PVC pipe provides a rapid means for cleaning hose after its use, even in the field. All necessary materials except a female hose coupling are available at any plumbing supply outlet or hardware store.

Operating the washer is very simple. Connect a supply hose to the washer and allow water to How as the hose passes through the drilled washing square or rectangles. A pumper can be used to develop additional pressure to help remove stubborn material.

Putting it together

The following materials are required to construct the washer:

Eight PVC 90-degree elbow fittings

Three PVC 90-degree tee fittings

Readily available PVC pipe is the main component of these washers. Larger model, left, can wash hose up to 5 inches in diameter. Field washer, right, is washing 1 1/2-inch hose.

One male adapter (PVC pipe to standard pipe thread)

PVC pipe

PVC priming and adhesive solutions One galvanized pipe sleeve (same size as male adapter)

A spare female hose coupling Cover material (plywood, plastic or sheet metal)

Two different washers are pictured. One was designed for use around the fire station and is constructed for 1 ½ -inch pipe with a 1 ½ -inch hose fitting. The other is designed to be carried on a pumper and be supplied by a booster line for cleaning hose as it is reloaded in the field. The field washer was constructed of ¾-inch pipe, but ½-inch pipe would serve equally well for the application.

The pipe sleeve should be cut in half to reduce the length of the hose coupling assembly. Have a welder braise one of the halves of the pipe sleeve to the female hose coupling.

Cut the PVC pipe to the proper dimensions for the size washer desired. The washer fabricated for station use was designed to wash hose up to 5 inches in diameter. Its washing rectangles measure 10 x 14 inches each. The washer designed for field hose cleaning will wash hose up to 3 inches in diameter and has washing squares measuring 6 x 6 inches.

Cement the PVC 90-degree elbows to the ends of the top and bottom sections of pipe. Make sure the elbows are lined up in the same direction and configuration (larger PVC elbows have a long and a short end).

Place a tee connection on one side of each of the washing squares, with the tee bottoms facing each other.

Drilling the holes

Before completing the cementing of the sides of each washing square, drill holes along the insides of the washing square sides. I used a 1/16-inch drill bit and drilled holes with a 1-inch spacing. Each hole was angled slightly inward on each washing square to contain the water within the rectangle during operation.

Complete all drilling before the final assembly of the washing squares so the drill shavings can be cleaned out. This is essential. A string tied to a rag and pulled through the pipes does a good job of removing debris.

Once the holes are drilled and the pipes cleaned, complete the assembly and cementing of the washing squares. When the two washing squares (or rectangles) are assembled, connect the inward facing tee fittings to a third tee using short sections of pipe. Finally, attach the male adapter to the bottom of the tee and connect the hose coupling assembly.

Water overspray can be contained simply by draping a salvage cover, floor runner or other impervious material over the washer. If a permanent cover is desired, it should cover the top and sides, leaving the bottom open to allow water and debris to run off. I cut the sides of the field hose washer approximately 1 inch short and cut sections from a rubber innertube to help contain the overspray at the bottom.

The rectangle washer has a pipewithin-a-pipe mounted on one washing rectangle to help center the hose as it is pulled through the washer. The pipewithin-a-pipe acts as a roller.

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