Most homes have a garden hose that can be used for a variety of tasks such as gardening and lawn care. While we should be able to use this hose all year round, winter makes that nearly impossible. Unless you want damaged plumbing, you need to protect the hose from freezing weather. So can you use a garden hose in the winter?
You shouldn’t use a standard garden hose in freezing conditions. Water expands when frozen, and this can cause the hose to burst. Drain your hose and store is a dry location during colder months. Specialized cold-weather and heated hoses can be used as an alternative.
Let’s look at what happens when you leave your hose outdoors and unprotected in winter, and how to store your hose to keep it safe. We’ll also check out some alternatives if you still need a hose during the colder months.
Can You Use a Garden Hose in Winter?
You might not think it’s a big deal, but you really shouldn’t use a garden hose in winter. Keeping a hose out in the winter can cause it to freeze or burst.
The science behind this is that water expands when it’s frozen. If there’s water in your hose in winter and the temperature dips, the frozen water will expand and take up about 10% more space than it did originally.
A pipe or hose doesn’t have enough space to accommodate this expansion. Due to this, the pipe may burst, or the valves and joints will break. And this is especially annoying if the hose is still connected to your home’s plumbing system when it freezes in burst – that could lead to a leak or worse.
To prevent this from happening, you should remove garden hoses once the weather becomes cold. You can keep it in a storage container like the Suncast Resin WickerHose Reel (on Amazon) which is great for both keeping things tidy and making it easy to pick the hose and storage conatianer up and put it somewhere else for the season.
How Do You Keep a Water Hose From Freezing in the Winter?
Even though it’s not recommended to leave your water hose outside in the winter, you can still keep it from freezing in the winter. You can do the following to ensure that your pipes don’t get damaged during by the cold.
- Disconnect Water to the Outdoor Spigot: Many outdoor spigots have indoor control valves. Stop water from getting into the pipes and hoses by disconnecting water from the outdoor faucet.
- Disconnect the Hose: If you leave your hose connected to the spigot during winter, water may get into the pipes and ruin them when the water turns to ice.
- Drain the Hose: Since you can leave hoses outdoors in the winter so long as there’s no water in them, the best thing to do is cut off the water connection and drain whatever water’s left in the hose. To drain it, hang the hose over something tall so the water streams out.
- Remove the Nozzle: If there’s any sprayer nozzle attached to the end of your hose, remove it. Drain the nozzle and dry it before keeping it for the winter.
- Detach Other Hoses: If more than one hose is connected, detach them into separate lengths.
- Coil the Hose: Roll hoses into coils, and confirm that they aren’t pinched. Don’t make these coils too tight, as that might affect the hose. Make the coils 2 feet long in diameter. Afterward, you can tie a wrap around the coil to secure it. You can also screw together both ends of the hose to keep it clean while you store it.
- Keep in a Dry Place: Wherever you put your garden hose must be dry and protected from adverse weather conditions. This could be in a garage, shed, or a similar storage area. There’s a special hanger used for hoses. You can use place the hose on it. Don’t hang the hose on a nail, as that can disfigure the hose.
You can also keep your hose warm during winter with the following methods:
- Buy a heated garden hose like the Camco 22912 Heated Hose (on Amazon). With this kind of hose, water can pass through without freezing despite cold conditions.
- You can wrap heat tape around the hose. This is a DIY method for people who don’t want to invest in a heated garden hose. Wrapping this tape around your hose will protect it so it doesn’t freeze up.
Is There a Water Hose That Won’t Freeze?
Luckily, there is a special kind of water hose that won’t freeze in winter, and that’s Swan’s ThermaFLEX garden hose (on Amazon). This hose is made with a unique compound that keeps the hose resistant to the effect of winter when water is in it.
This hose also has a thermal-conducting jacket that stays warm even at -30° F, unlike traditional pipes that crack at 50° F. Still, that’s not to say that the water in this hose isn’t totally immune to freezing in the winter, so you still have to be careful.