For those of us that live in northern climates, winterizing your garden hose, hose reels, and watering tools are critical items on your fall checklist when preparing for winter. True enough that rain and snow won’t be able to corrode the aluminum reel, the elements can damage plastic components. Failure to properly prepare for the winter could result in serious damage to your hose, hose reel, and tools, not to mention the outdoor faucet and the plumbing feeding it. Essentially, we want to extend the life of the reel as much as possible. With just a few hose reel accessories, you can totally winterize your Eley hose and reel so they stay protected and secure for the season.You essentially have three options when it comes to winterizing your above ground garden hose system. They are:
- Heated Indoor Storage
- Gravity Drain
- Compressed Air Drain
We are often asked, "Do I need to take my hose reel inside for the winter, or is it okay to leave it out?" Doing either is fine. Since our garden hose reels are made of aluminum-alloy, brass, and stainless steel, the cold winter temperatures and moisture will not harm them. However, if you have the heated indoor space available, moving your hose reel indoors is a very practical method of protecting your garden hose reel and hose from winter freeze damage. It is also a very easy method if you own a free-standing or portable hose reel, like a 2-wheel cart or 4-wheel wagon hose reel. You simply disconnect the inlet/feeder hose from the faucet and move the hose reel into the heated storage space. For wall or post mounted hose reels, however, you’ll have an additional step. For post mounted hose reels, whether it is a wooden or aluminum post, simply remove the hose reel from the post by removing the four screws that attach the reel to the post brackets. For wall mounted hose reels, you can either remove the flange and drum assembly from the axle and leave the wall plate/axle on the wall for the winter, or remove the four wall plate lag screws or anchor bolts from the wall, and carry the entire hose reel assembly indoors for winter storage. Both are explained in the gravity drain video in the next section.
Gravity Drain Method
This is a fairly simple method of winterization and the one I personally use with my two wall mounted garden hose reels. The one requirement for it to be effective is that the hose needs to be able to drain downhill. If the only direction you can pull the hose off the reel is uphill, then you should not use this method. Below is a video demonstrating this proper winterization technique.
Compressed Air Method
If you own an air compressor, then there is a third option available to you for winterizing your hose reel and garden hose. The process is fairly quick and easy and very effective at preventing freeze damage to your garden hose reel system.
If you don’t already own one, you’ll need to purchase a blow-out plug. There are two types available, (see pictures) both of which are available online or at your local RV dealer. Once you’ve got your plug, follow these steps:
- Shut off the water at the outdoor spigot and detach the feeder/inlet hose.
- Remove any watering tools from the far end of your garden hose.
- Attach the blow-out plug to the female end of the inlet hose.
- Apply compressed air.
The air will force the water out of the hose reel and garden hose. Once the steady stream of water coming from the garden hose starts spitting air, you’re fully winterized. Although this method does not remove 100% of the water, the remnant of water that remains will not be enough to damage your garden hose or hose reel during a winter freeze. Next spring, when you first attempt to run water through the reel and hose, you may encounter an ‘ice jam’ that is formed by the water piling up all the ice crystals in front of it. No need to worry! The water will eventually melt the ice jam and will be flowing once again.
Hose Reel Covers
If you are leaving your hose reel outside, you may want to consider adding an additional layer of protection by covering your hose reel and garden hose with one of our premium quality Eley hose reel covers. Available in two sizes, these covers will not only help protect your hose reel from the harsh winter weather, but also from the sun’s harmful UV rays. They’re made of durable polyester fabric with an over-sized zipper. The interior features a urethane coating that increases the cover’s water and mildew resistance as well as stops the fabric from rubbing the reel’s paint. These are wonderful for any hose reel model you own.
¾” Brass Garden Hose Cap
This is a small, but useful item we offer that will be incredibly useful if you struggle with small critters around your property during the winter. Once your hose is winterized, you can use this screw-on cap for any standard 3/4"" male garden hose thread fitting. It includes a premium Eley garden hose washer with large grips for easy twist on and off. This handy cap will keep dust, debris, and tiny critters like insects and mice out of the hose.
Now that you’re winterized, you can relax knowing your garden hose and reel are safely stored and will be ready for use next spring. Until then, enjoy the winter!