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.