Winterizing Your Garden Hose

Don't forget to add this essential, but often-overlooked, chore to your fall to-do list!

Watering the garden… Cleaning off the dog after he goes on a muddy springtime romp… Filling up the kids’ swimming pool…  We don’t think much about it, but a garden hose is one of those household tools that we use often, but rarely consider the do’s and don’ts of.

But it’s certainly not intended to be a single-season, disposable item—so why treat it that way? Keep it in top condition for many years to come with some of these tips for storing and maintaining a garden hose. 

Inspect it at the beginning of spring and end of fall

Cat is confused by hose

Your garden hose will most likely be in service between March and October, depending on climate and need. It will almost certainly be retired to the storage shed or garage for the winter, which means that it is imperative to check its condition before storing it and before bringing it back out for seasonal use. 

Prior to putting away for winter, check to ensure that the hose is completely empty of water to avoid freezing and resultant wear to the liner. 

Check for kinks, cracks, and holes. With proper storage, many kinks can be straightened, but leaving them in the hose could cause potential issues with cracking and leaking down the line. Cracks, holes, and leaks can be repaired in some cases, but typically only if diagnosed before they become too significant. 

Keep it coiled during peak-use times

How the hose is stored during the season is just as important to its longevity as winter storage. One of the easiest ways to take good care of it is by coiling it and putting it up after each use. An uncoiled hose left on the ground is an easy target for rot, as well as for being run over by wheelbarrows or, worse yet, lawnmowers. 

When you are coiling your hose, first, turn off the water (even better if you have the hose downhill to let excess water drain). Then, holding the hose a few feet away from the spigot, begin by bending the hose into a three-foot-diameter loop and repeating the process, stacking each subsequent loop atop the previous loop. 

(One trick to getting a complete and well-stacked circle? Try coiling it around the base of a trash can!)

Storage solutions

Store your hose on a reelIf storing a coiled hose on the ground can quickly result in mildew, and hanging it over a hook could result in a permanent kink…what’s a good storage solution? 

Look for an option that allows easy access so you can use it regularly, but still keeps it dry and maintains its shape, such as hose rack, hose reel, or hose pot. 

• A hose rack is mounted on a wall and features a rounded top around which the hose can be properly coiled. 
• A hose reel can be turned by hand to automatically coil the hose. Some reels are built into small, wheeled carts for easy transportation and storage. 
• A hose pot is not unlike a flower pot, only it is built specifically to store a coiled hose. It can be a decorative, as well as functional, option.

If you are sure to store your hose properly—both in the off-season and during times of regular use—it will serve you well for years to come.

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