The best course of action is to store hoses indoors in winter. A hose that is left outside during cold, snowy, or icy weather will begin to crack and deteriorate. To ensure your hose isn’t damaged by freezing temperatures, disconnect it from the outdoor faucet, remove any hose attachments, and drain the remaining water from the hose. Then, coil your hose and store it inside for the winter.
What Happens if You Don’t Disconnect Your Hose in Winter?
If you don’t disconnect and store your hose during winter, it will be damaged by winter weather. Water trapped in a hose connected to an outdoor faucet will expand when it freezes. This will cause the hose to split and develop leaks. The temperature changes of winter will also cause the hose to crack.
- A hose that is left connected in winter will be damaged by freezing temperatures.
- Leaving your hose connected traps water in your hose spigot. This can cause cracked spigots and burst water pipes in winter.
Leaving your garden hoses connected during the winter can also trap water in your outdoor faucets. This leads to frozen water lines that can cause burst pipes. If you forgot to disconnect your hose in winter, it’s time to take action. Frozen water pipes can cause expensive damage to your home.
What Temperature Will Cause Your Water Hose to Freeze?
Because your hoses are not protected by interior heat or insulation, they are at risk of freezing as soon as temperatures drop down to 32℉ (0℃) for as long as 6 hours. That means that one freezing night can be enough to freeze your hose and faucets.
- Temperatures of 32℉ (0℃) or lower that persist for 6 or more hours will cause your hose to freeze.
- Disconnect and store your hoses before freezing nighttime temperatures arrive.
You should disconnect your hoses at the same temperature where you turn off your outside water. As soon as temperatures dip down to freezing, you won’t need your hose for watering. So, it’s best to store your hoses once you see the first nighttime freeze in the forecast.
When Should You Disconnect Your Hose for the Winter?
If you live in a region with freezing winter, disconnect your hoses 2 weeks before the first average freeze. This way, no early freezes will arrive and damage your hose, hose bibbs, or water pipes.
- Disconnect and store your hose 2 weeks before the first average freezing temperatures arrive.
- If you do not have freezing winters in your region, disconnect and store it once your lawn begins to go dormant.
If your home does not regularly experience freezing cold weather, disconnect your hose in the fall once your lawn begins to go dormant. The wet, cold weather of mild winters will still shorten your hose’s lifespan. You can keep your hose usable for years to come by storing it for winter.
5 Steps to Store a Hose for Winter
In just a few minutes, you can easily store your hose for winter. However, it’s important that you also shut off your outside water at the same time you disconnect your hoses. While disconnecting hoses is an important step for preventing cracked exterior faucets, it’s also essential to turn off the water supply to your outdoor faucets.
Unscrew your hose from the hose bibb to detach it. If a hose is rusted in place, use some penetrating oil and pliers in order to loosen the hose so it can be fully detached. A hose that is left connected to a faucet traps water, which in turn causes the faucet to rust.
Remove any spray nozzles, sprinklers, or watering devices from the end of your hose. If you leave hose attachments on, they can also trap water and cause rust. Additionally, trapped water can freeze in cold temperatures. This frozen water will expand and split your hose.
Lay your hose on the ground in a straight line. Then, move along the hose, lifting each section to shoulder height. This causes excess water to drain from the ends of your hose. It also makes your hose lighter and easier to store, prevents water from freezing in your hose, and stops you from accidentally spilling water on yourself when moving your hose to and from storage.
Coil your hose in loops about 2–3 feet (0.6–1 m) in diameter. Make sure there are no twists or kinks in the hose. Then, screw the two ends of the hose together to prevent insects from making a home in your hose. If desired, use a zip tie to secure the hose in a coil.
During the winter months, it’s best to store your hoses in a garage, shed, or pool house. It’s okay if the hoses are kept in an unheated area as long as they are not directly exposed to wind, rain, sun, ice, and snow. By storing your hoses during the coldest months, you can double or triple their lifespan.
Can You Leave Your Hose Attached in the Winter?
You should not leave a hose attached during the winter months. The hose can trap water at the faucet, which increases the risk of frozen pipes during the winter. Exposure to winter weather can also damage your hose. To store it for winter:
- Disconnect your hose from the faucet.
- Remove any attachments from the hose.
- Drain liquid water from the hose.
- Coil your hose and screw the ends together.
- Store your hose in a garage or shed until spring.
These simple steps will keep your hose from splitting during winter freezes or cracking during the relentless temperature shifts of colder winters.