When the leaves turn and frost has replaced the morning dew, most gardeners get to work winterizing perennials, pulling annuals and storing equipment for next season. Garden hoses are not usually the subject of much attention in the fall except to take them off their spigots and to toss them into the shed or garage. There is more to this humble piece of equipment than meets the eye, though, and it deserves more attention that it usually receives.
Pull the hose away from the house to its full length, preferably on a slope, and allow it to drain completely. Empty the supply hose and line of the storage reel if you use one.
Remove the hose from the spigot and find the rubber gasket inside the connection. Replace it with a new one—they’re inexpensive and worn gaskets cause leaks. Clean any dirt or mud off the hose and leave it in the sun to dry.
Turn the water supply to the spigot off from the inside—it is usually located in the basement or crawl space near the wall where the water goes outside. Once the water is off, open the exterior valve to drain the spigot and leave it slightly open to protect the valve from freezing.
Roll the hose on its reel or gather it up in loops, taking care to avoid twists or kinks as you go. Start rolling from a higher position so water rolls out of the hose as you roll or gather it. Inspect the hose as you go; repair any splits and replace end fittings that have worked loose.
Store the hose under cover inside in the basement or garage. Keep it on a reel or hang the loops on a bicycle hook on the wall, never on the floor.
Things You Will Need
- Replacement washers
- Storage reel or mounting hook
- Pliers and hammer (for replacing fittings)
- Water plants and lawns well before you start if you have had a dry fall. Roots keep growing through the fall into winter and need water.
- Make any repairs, such as patches and re-setting hardware in the fall when you have the time---splits and tears will only get worse as the hose dries over the winter. Repair kits and hose fittings are available at hardware stores.
- When you choose to replace hose fittings rather than replace the hose, replace "like with like." Never replace brass fittings with aluminum or vice versa---the fitting may fail.
- Replace hoses when they get old and dry---or when it becomes less trouble or expense than to keep repairing them.