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7 Tips to Take Care Of Your Garden Hose In Winter

Jan 09, 2024

Zephyr Watering

Proper winter care for your garden hose can ensure a long life. If hoses are not properly maintained, freezing temperatures can cause them to crack and burst. Follow these 7 essential tips to protect your garden hose throughout the cold weather months:

1. Disconnect and Drain the Hose

Always be sure to disconnect the hoses from spigots, faucets, and sprayers before freezing temperatures move in. Completely drain all remaining water out, leaving no moisture left sitting inside the hose. If any water is left over after freezing it can expand and crack or burst the hose lining.

2. Coil Hoses for Storage

After you drain it, neatly coil up the hose to remove any kinks. First, hold the end and loop the hose into large equal coils onto the ground. Avoid sharp bends. Then, with ties or velcro straps secure the coiled rubber garden hose so that it keeps its shape. Only the properly coiled prevent crimping damage over winter.

3. Protect with Hose Covers

To give yourself even greater protection, put your coiled hose inside a weatherproof hose cover or bag. Crop covers made of sturdy vinyl or poly will suffice. The cover protects the hose away from UV rays, dust and other winter dirt that can harm it. Be sure to pick a cover suitable for your exact garden hose length.

4. Store in a Sheltered Spot

During the winter, put your covered hose in a shed, garage, or basement. Always store hoses away from the elements. Do not let them stay outdoors in bad weather. Choose a protected location away from direct sunlight, rain, and wildlife that may chew on it. Don't leave it to sit directly on a concrete floor, which may be wet. Hang on a wall or an elevated surface when possible.

5. Install Insulating Hose Bib Covers

Cover outdoor faucets and spigots with insulating covers to prevent your pipes from freezing. This prevents pipes from bursting anywhere beyond the spigot connection point. Choose a bib cover that fits tightly over the faucet and water supply line. Tighten the velcro or drawstring. Be sure to check from time to time that the cover is still in place all winter.

6. Weatherize with Antifreeze

To further winterize the garden water hose itself, fill it with RV antifreeze after draining. This nontoxic antifreeze is safe for hoses and pipes. Pour it into the hose, then cap both ends. Antifreeze keeps any excess moisture remaining inside from freezing and expanding, which can burst the hose. Repeat annually.

7. Inspect in Spring

Before you prepare to use your garden hose again in the spring, first make a thorough inspection. If a hose is found coiled, uncoil it and check along the entire length for cracks, leaks or holes Here also look to see if any spots are bulging out as these can be causes of deterioration. Squirt the hose, and feel for weaknesses. Inspect fittings for wear. Repair damaged washers, gaskets, and couplings. Check any problems to ensure safe operation and the longest rubber garden hose life.

Giving hoses the proper care in winter does require some extra preparatory work, but it will pay off by making them last years longer. The main steps are: disconnecting, draining, and coiling away lines; covering the pipes from outside before insulating spigots with sawdust or wool yarns; and using antifreeze to prevent freezing-in of water in hoses on cold winter days. In spring, inspection is followed by reconnection. Using this winter maintenance regimen you can protect your investment and have all of your hoses ready to go for the next gardening season. So, be sure to get winter hose care started now so you can water your lawn and plants when the warm weather returns again.

What to Do for Better Frost Protection?

When choosing the best garden hose cover, look for any features that provide the greatest frost protection. Look for:

- Thick insulation, such as a double foam layer to keep freezing temperatures from coming through.

- A waterproof, windproof exterior to keep moisture out. 

- Full-length coverage with zipper, ease of on-off; Also protects the whole hose. 

- Construction reinforced to withstand winter weather.

- Large diameter to accommodate different sizes of hose

Avoid thin plastic sheets or stretchy covers with low insulation. After inserting the antifreeze solution, be sure to adequately seal both ends of the rubber garden hose with duct tape. This prevents the antifreeze from leaking out.

When inspecting hoses pre-season, carefully examine the condition of washers and gaskets. If the rubber is cracked or dried out, it has to be replaced to make watertight seals again. You should also look for mineral deposits or corrosion anywhere around fittings, and brush any buildup away. Replace fittings as needed.

Why Choose Only the Best Garden Hose for Winter?

If you live in extremely cold regions, perhaps invest your money in frost-proof hoses. These commercial-grade hoses have advanced technologies to prevent freeze damage, such as:

- Using anti-icing spray or integrated heat tapes before use 

- triple-reinforced and insulated for best freeze protection.

Although more expensive, frost-proof hoses give peace of mind at even the coldest temperatures. Weigh upfront cost vs. constant hose replacements given your climate. 

Install wall-mounted garden water hose reels to improve draining and storage. The elevation of hoses protects them from touching cold, damp ground. Reels allow neat, tight coiling. Choose solid metal reels that are large enough for your hose diameter. Power rewind models make recoiling easier.

What to Do After Draining?

After draining, use air compressors or blowers to thoroughly evacuate the remaining water for quick winterizing. This clears sluggish lines. There are also fans and dehumidifiers in storage areas to dry out the conditions so that ice won't form inside coiled hoses. 

Leaks and (slight) drops Check outdoor faucets, and hoses for small leaks or drips after drainage. They allow water to stay in the system. Fix all spigot problems before winter. Also, insulate supply lines of unheated places. 

In the spring, begin testing with hoses at low water pressure. Examine for splits, bulging, and leaks. While checking for problems, gradually increase pressure. At higher pressures, weak spots reveal themselves first. Replace any faulty sections promptly.

In conclusion, given proper seasonal care, the best garden hose can last a long time. By investing a few hours upfront you will end up with properly functional hoses ready for work when spring arrives.