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. 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 winterize your Eley hose and reel, so they stay protected and secure for the season.You 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.
Gravity Drain Method
This is a fairly simple method of winterization. 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 MethodIf 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.* (see footnote)
- Attach the blow-out plug to the female end of the inlet hose.
- Apply compressed air.** (see footnote)
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.
* Make sure the hose is OPEN. Before applying pressurized air to the system, make sure the water hose and reel are "open," meaning that the water and air are free to flow out the far end. You don't want air pressure to build up inside the hose or reel. Prepare your reel and hose by removing any watering tools from the end of the hose and ensure any incorporated shut-off valves are in the open position.
**Recommended PSI. There is no suggested PSI for blowing out your hose and reel. The most important factor is to make sure the watering system is "open" at the far end to allow the water to exit when the pressurized air is applied. Since no pressure will build up in an open system, the amount of PSI applied from your compressor simply needs to be enough to push the water out the far end of the hose.
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 oversized 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 our Item 1123 Brass Garden Hose Cap to screw onto any standard 3/4" male garden hose thread fitting. It includes a premium ELEY garden hose washer with large grips for easy on/off twisting. 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!