How To Keep a Garden Hose From Freezing

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A garden hose will inevitably get left out in below-freezing temperatures from time to time. You’re either not aware of it or simply can’t spend the time rolling it up and putting it away. However, the fact remains that your hose pipe will freeze if you expose it to adverse weather conditions.

And with freezing temperatures just around the bend, many wonder how to keep a garden hose from freezing. Below we discuss different methods to keep your garden hoses functional during this winter season. Keep reading to learn more.

How Garden Hoses Freeze

Believe it or not, the water inside your hose expands when it freezes. It is due to this pressure build-up within the hose, which results in freezing — especially if the water is stagnant or not so committed.

However, if you have a nozzle on your hose, this may not be an issue, as the water will still be able to escape from the valve. Yet, when you connect hoses or use fittings such as sprinklers, the build-up may burst.

So what can we do to prevent potential hose freezing? Let’s explore.

How To Keep a Garden Hose From Freezing

Hose, Tube, Management, Garden Hose
Garden hose

1. Shut off Water to the Outdoor Faucet

The first step is to shut off the water supply leading outdoors. If you have an independent faucet that’s not connected to the main water line, this is as simple as turning off a valve on the indoor plumbing side of the wall.

However, if your outdoor faucet is on a shared line with other faucets, you’ll need to turn off all the water in your home and drain the pipes before shutting it down.

2. Drain It Completely

This may be the simplest way to keep your hose from freezing. The ultimate idea is to get all water out of the hose and spigot no matter which method you use. And the easiest way to do so is by pulling the hose up high and securing it upside-down for a few hours or overnight so that gravity can work its magic.

Then, you can unscrew the spigot and let any remaining water drain out. However, you’ll have to run water through for hose reels with narrow holes at one end until it completely dries.

Read: Best portable hose reel

Garden Hose, Water, Spray, Watering
Watering with a hose

3. Detach the Hose and Bring It Indoors When It’s Not in Use

You can also keep a hose from freezing by bringing it inside when you’re not using it. However, this isn’t always practical, as the hose pipe may be too long or heavy to bring inside. Yet, if you can’t take it inside, at least disconnect it and wrap it in a plastic bag.

Then you store it in a place where the faucets hold back pressure and the water can flow freely out of the spigot.

4. Wrap the Hose in Insulation and Keep a Bit of Water Flowing Through It

You can install a heat-emitting device that can be plugged into an outlet to act as insulation. A common design for heat emitters is a tape-like strip with an electronic heating element, which can be wrapped around the hose. These devices are not specifically designed for hoses, but they can work well if applied properly.

Another option would be to keep water flowing through the hose at a constant trickle by opening your faucet enough to keep a small amount of water running through it.

In this case, you should set your faucet at only a few drops per second, enough to keep the water moving without wasting too much of it; otherwise, you may empty your city’s entire reservoir every winter.

Read: Homemade garden hose storage

5. Install an Insulated Water Spigot

To battle the winter, you can install an insulated spigot cover. They are available at home improvement stores and are designed to insulate the faucet so that it doesn’t allow heat to escape. Alternatively, a makeshift insulating material can also be used – such as foam or bubble wrap.

If neither of these options is effective enough for your needs, you’ll need to go with a more sophisticated solution like installing an insulated water spigot.

6. Soak the Hose in Antifreeze

You can still use an antifreeze solution to counter this defect. You have to pour a cup of antifreeze into one end of the hose and allow it to flow to the other end. However, it works great when an RV antifreeze is used since it is non-toxic and will not affect your animals and plants.

You should let the antifreeze solution completely soak into the pipe before using it or storing away. The antifreeze will keep the hose vigilant enough in adverse weather conditions, such as snow and winter in general.

Read: How to fix a leaky spray nozzle

7. Thaw Your Frozen Hoses

If the hose itself is frozen, you can thaw it out with hot water (not boiling) but be sure to take several precautions. First, don’t let the water touch your skin. Hot enough to thaw a hose will also give you a nasty burn. Wear gloves.

Secondly, be careful where the hose is frozen. If it’s right at the end where it screws onto your spigot, you might have water in the hose that will spray out as soon as it thaws. If that happens, you should probably shut off the water at the main to prevent damage inside your home.

Ultimately, if you have a garden hose that freezes regularly, get one that’s rated for cold temperatures and make sure to drain it after every use. For short-term storage during freezing weather, you can also coil your garden hose up in a loop so any water trapped inside won’t freeze and expand, which can damage your hose over time.

Bottom Line

In the end, the easy and affordable way to get the most help from your garden hose is to ensure that it’s never exposed to freezing temperatures in the first place. You can take several steps to ensure that, including wrapping your hose in rubber tubing, placing it under a roof, or insulating it with hay or straw.

Even better, if you have a more exposed garden set up, bring your hose inside at night and place it against a warm vent.

Read: How to fix a leaking rubber water pipe