Disconnecting and Storing Garden Hoses Before First Frost

Why Should I Disconnect and Store my Garden Hose?

In the winter, as water turns to ice, our garden hoses can suffer huge damage if they aren’t properly stored in a dry place. The ice will freeze, expand, and break holes in your hose, or the cold will break the fibers that hold the hose together. Also, once the water around the spigot freezes, it will be extremely difficult to remove the hose from the spigot and it might break when you try. It’s better to make sure all hoses are dried out and put away long before the first frost of the season to avoid damages–and to avoid trying to do this tedious chore with winter gloves on!

What Happens If I Don’t Store My Hose in the Winter?

If you don’t store your hose in the winter, it will freeze, as will any water left inside of it. If you keep your hose out all winter, you can pretty much assume that you’ll find a damaged hose come spring. Keeping a hose on a frozen spigot can also affect your plumbing, so it’s really important that you remove it and turn off the water to the spigot in the fall.

Panic level: 3

Click here to read more about important tasks toward properly winterizing your home. We also have helpful information on the real costs of home ownership as well as the top maintenance tasks for your home.

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Step-By-Step

  • 1. Turn off the water to the hose.
    • If you’ve used your hose through the summer, you’ll know where to find the water faucet. However, just in case: there is usually a faucet dial right next to the hose that controls the spigot, but sometimes the dial can be located in a totally random location like under your deck or on a different wall of the house. Turn the dial all the way to completely close the water supply, and leave it this way until spring.

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  • 2. Remove the hose from the spigot
    • In theory, removing your hose and storing it should be one of the easiest chores on your winter-prep to-do list, but an old or tricky spigot can actually cause you some trouble. To remove the hose, turn it to the left and slowly loosen it from the spigot. If it’s hard to unscrew, it might help to wear some gardening gloves to give you a better grip. If you’ve missed the frost and the spigot is already frozen, it can help to pour some hot water over the spigot first in order to melt the ice and heat the metal so it doesn’t freeze your hand as you unscrew it.

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  • 3. Drain all the water out of the hose.
    • Draining all of the water out of your hose before you store it is essential to protecting it from damage. If you store a hose with water in it in your unheated garage, it will freeze. If you store it somewhere warm, it will get moldy and infested with mildew.

      To drain the water out, you’ll need to lay the hose out flat. Then, pick up the hose at the end and drain the water forward. Pick up the next section of the hose, and do the same thing. You’re basically using gravity to flow all of the water from one end of the hose to the other. You can also pump air through the hose using an air compressor to totally empty the hose. You can also hang the hose from the middle on a high surface and let the water slowly drain out. Whatever you do, just make sure the hose is totally dry on the inside before moving onto the next step.

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  • 4. Loop the hose into large coils.
    • Using a hose storage reel if you have one, loop your hose around itself into large circles. You don’t want to coil your hose tightly because this can break it. You should be able to tell what is “too tight” because the hose will start to stiffen if you’re bending it too much. You’re almost done!

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  • 5. Store the hose somewhere safe.
    • Most people store their hoses in their garage in the off season. If you do this, you might want to consider buying hose storage caps. You twist these onto either end of your hose to keep out bugs, snakes, and other pests who like to make their home Just make sure to keep it somewhere where it won’t get stepped on or tangled.

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