Should You Leave Your Soaker Hose Out In The Winter?

Soaker hoses are a great way to water your garden with minimal effort. But what happens when winter rolls around? Can you leave your soaker hose out, or should you put it away for the season?

A soaker hose can be left out in the winter after it’s been disconnected from the water supply and drained completely. Cover the hose with mulch, straw, or another insulating material to protect it from freezing temperatures and prevent damage from snow or ice.

Let’s take a closer look at whether you can leave your soaker hose out in the winter, how to store it if you need to, and what temperature extremes it can withstand.

Can Your Soaker Hose Be Stored Outside in the Winter?

Raised beds in a vegetable garden in UK winter

Yes, you can store your soaker hose outside in the winter. In many cases, it’s best to leave it installed so you can conveniently turn it on when warmer weather arrives.

However, if you live in an area with icy winters, you may need to take some precautions to prevent the hose from freezing, and in some cases, it’s best to remove the hose and store it indoors.

If you intend to leave your soaker hose installed and turned off for the winter, there are some things you can do to protect it from freezing weather.

What’s the Best Way to Store Your Soaker Hose?

Leaving your soaker hose out in the winter is an easy way to store it. Here are some things you should do to prepare for cold weather:

1. Run Water Through the Hose

First, turn on the hose to remove any dirt, debris, or build-up that could cause problems in freezing temperatures. Run water through the hose for a few minutes with enough pressure to let it seep through, but not so much that it over-expands.

2. Shut Off the Water

Once the water is running clear, turn off the spigot, remove the end cap, and allow the hose to drain completely. This step is important because standing water in the hose could freeze and cause the hose to crack or break.

3. Inspect Moisture Levels

After the hose has drained, check it for moisture. You should thoroughly drain excess water from the hose to prevent freezing and damage. Perforations in the hose allow water to seep through, so just ensure there isn’t water pooling inside.

4. Disconnect the Hose From the Water Source

Detach the hose from the water spigot or other water source. That will prevent water from seeping into the hose and freezing, which could damage the hose or your water lines.

5. Cover the Hose With Mulch

Now that you’ve prepared your soaker hose for winter, if you intend to leave it outdoors, you can insulate it with a layer of mulch to protect it from the elements. 

Be sure to cover the entire hose and check it periodically throughout the winter to ensure it hasn’t shifted out of place and that the mulch is still intact.

Now that you know how to store your soaker hose for winter let’s look at when it’s necessary to take it down and put it away.

When Should You Uninstall Your Soaker Hose for the Winter?

Installing water irrigation in UK garden

If you live in an area with freezing winters, it’s best to uninstall your soaker hose and store it indoors. That will protect the hose from sustained freezing temperatures, which could damage or break the hose.

Another reason you may need to uninstall your soaker hose for the winter is if you plan to renovate your landscape in the spring. In that case, you’ll need to remove the hose anyway, so it’s best to do it before cold weather arrives.

If you decide to uninstall your soaker hose for the winter, follow these steps:

1. Turn Off the Water and Disconnect the Hose

Begin by shutting off the water and disconnecting the hose from the water source. Then, remove any end caps or other attachments. Store these in a safe place so you can reattach them when you reinstall the hose in the spring.

2. Drain and Coil

Drain the hose completely by laying the end on the ground and elevating the length of the hose as you coil it around in two-foot circles. Doing this will remove all the water from the hose, preventing it from freezing and cracking.

3. Inspect for Damage

Once the hose is dry, inspect it for cracks, holes, or other damage. If you find any damage, you’ll be able to repair it before storing the hose for the winter or replace it with a new hose before spring.

4. Store Indoors

Once the hose is coiled and dry, store it in a cool, dry place until spring. A basement or crawlspace is ideal. Any cool, dry area out of direct sunlight will work if you don’t have access to a better storage space. Avoid storing the hose in an attic or garage, as those can get too hot or too cold in the winter, and the extreme weather can damage the hose.

Purchase a hose hanger — like this one from Liberty Garden Products (on Amazon) — for easy storage to help the hose maintain its shape and keep it from getting tangled.

What Temperatures Can a Soaker Hose Withstand?

Rubber or plastic soaker hoses are typically made to withstand freezing temperatures. However, water inside the hose can freeze and expand, causing the hose to crack or break. That’s why it’s essential to drain the hose entirely and store it in a cool, dry place indoors during winter.

If you live in an area with mild winters, you may be able to leave your soaker hose outdoors and just disconnect it from the water source. Check the hose periodically throughout the winter to ensure it hasn’t cracked or broken.

If you live in an area with more extreme winters, it’s best to uninstall the hose and store it indoors until spring.

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