Your gardenhose just might be the most important tool you have. If you consider thetime it would take to carry water to all those plants you’re growing, you’llimmediately see the importance of garden hose maintenance. Care for a gardenhose is not complicated, only a matter of storing a hose properly and a littleupkeep. Read on for information on garden hose care as well as tips on how tomake a hose last longer.
A garden hose is essential in the backyard, providing youwith a movable water source to irrigateplants or wash down the wheelbarrowand other materials. You’ll want to avoid cheap, low-quality products and buy atough, well-made hose that will last. Once you invest the money, it just makessense to care for the hose. Unlike metal tools, hoses don’t need to be oileddown, but there are other rules for hose upkeep.
The first rule of hose upkeep is to avoid storing in directsunshine. The UV rays of the sun can damage, crack, or rupture the exteriorlayer of the hose. That means that any water remaining in the hose will heat upand damage the inner tubing.
Does this mean you shouldn’t water with the hose when thereis sun? It doesn’t mean that, although it’s usually better for plants to water inthe morning or evening rather than during the heat of the day. Leaving the hoseout in the sun for hours causes the damage.
Another garden hose maintenance tip is to repair leakspromptly. Use a rubber patch and super glue for pinhole leaks. For small holes,use the glue in a tube patch kit. Sand the area down with fine grit sandpaper,apply the glue and let dry, then put the rubber piece on top.
To extend your hose life, you’ll want to drain the hoseafter use. Don’t rely on the nozzle to cut the water when you are done. If youdo, the water pressure builds up inside the hose and can burst it. The betterprocedure for garden hose upkeep is to turn off the water at the spigot andallow the hose to drain.
Another way to keep your hose in good shape for longer is toavoid dragging it by the spray nozzle. This weakens the nozzle connection andcauses leaks. Also, don’t just leave it in a pile when you are finished withit. Using a hose reel prevents kinks that create tears.
Finally, there is the issue of storinga hose over winter. If you live in a cold winter region, you’ll want tobring the hose into the garage (or somewhere inside) to prevent freezing. Drainthe entire hose first, then coil it on a hose reel and carry it inside.
During the spring and summer, your garden and soaker hoses are your best friends. Unwind the garden hose on a daily basis, and your flowers and vegetables have an instant shower. However, winter is a different story. It's time to put away those warm-weather tools until next year. Get to know the basics about garden hose winter preparation. You'll preserve these tools for many seasons as a result.
Disconnect and Drain the Garden Hose
Garden hoses that remain attached to the spigot will create problems. The connection and trapped water freeze, which ultimately damages your home's plumbing. Garden hose winter storage tips start with a simple disconnect.
Walk around the home, and find every hose attached to a spigot. Most households only have one hose, but you may have multiple ones. Twist the coupling off at the spigot. Drain the entire hose by holding one section upright and walking down its length. Gravity pulls the water from the hose with this strategy.
Proper Coiling and Storage
If you leave a garden hose outside for winter, it will be damaged in the spring. The extreme cold causes the internal lining to break. With a drained hose in your hand, carefully coil it into a three-foot diameter. Don't coil it into a tighter configuration, however. Improper coiling leads to breaks in the hose as well. This fact is true even when you store it in a safe location.
Secure the coil with a tie wrap if desired. Place the hose in a shed, garage or other storage area. It should be dry and free from any weathering elements until the spring.
Don't Forget the Fittings
Some residents discover that their garden hoses are still damaged after going through these drainage and storage tips. Pests might find your hose over the winter. They burrow and nest in the lining. The hose ends up with tiny holes and perforations that cannot be mended.
Avoid this scenario by purchasing a couple fittings. In essence, these parts are merely end caps for the hose couplings. Twist the fittings onto the couplings so that the hose's interior is cut off from any pests. You end up preserving the hose until spring. Simply remember to dry the hose before adding the fittings. Trapped moisture will only breed mildew and other problems.
Dealing With Forgotten Connections
If you forgot to disconnect your hose in the winter, it will impact the home and garden accessory. Deal with the connection as soon as you remember it. With cold temperatures outside, it may be difficult to twist the coupling off of the spigot. Fill a bucket with warm water. Slowly empty it onto the coupling. This warmth should be just enough temperature to loosen the connection and any ice within the coupling.
When you forget the connected hose for the entire season, it's probably done some damage to the home's plumbing. Ask a professional to check the pipes at the connection. Your hose will probably require a replacement as well.
The Soaker-Hose Dilemma
Some people might apply garden-hose care to soaker hoses, but this strategy isn't sound. Soaker hoses have an entirely different relationship with winter. Winterize soaker hoses by leaving them in place. They should be buried or covered by soil or mulch. These materials act as insulators against the cold.
In addition, soaker hoses have holes all along their lengths. Any moisture remaining in the hoses will simply seep out without any expansion and contraction problems.
Running the Water One Last Time
There are a few steps that you can take for soaker hose winter care, however. Reduce the chances of debris or ice damaging the hose by running water through it one last time. Give the hose enough pressure so that it readily seeps without expanding it too much. Run the water for a few minutes. Shut off the water, and watch the moisture levels. The water should run entirely from the hose for the best winterization.
Disconnecting the Soaker Hose From the Source
After running the water, remove the hose coupling from its spigot. Bury the hose end into the ground. This strategy preserves the coupling until spring. There's no reason to add fittings to the hose either. Because the hose has so many holes, any pests that do enter it will have enough space to move in and out of the length without damaging the lining. Mark the hose ends with rocks or other indicators so you can find them after winter.
Considering a Landscaping Change
Can soaker hoses be left out over the winter? The answer is most definitely yes, but consider a different scenario. You plan to completely change the landscape in the spring. Removing soil, sod and gardens is part of the plan. Pull the soaker hoses from the ground in the fall when you're going to rearrange them in the spring. Although the hoses won't be damaged during the winter, the ground may be difficult to cultivate in the spring as you start the project. Removing the soaker hoses now gives your project a head start. Arrange them almost immediately when the spring season begins.
Always think of your yard as an extension of the home. Take care of it as you would the carpet or furniture. Neglected hoses in the yard will break down over time. They could possibly impact your home's plumbing as well. Be proactive about how to store soaker hoses and garden accessories. The spring will arrive with no problems in your gardening shed.
All content provided in this article is for general informational purposes only. All use of products referenced in this article should be done in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
Keeping your tools clean and storing them properly after each use is essential if you want them to last.
Here are some general tips:
Boiled linseed oil can be used to condition the wood handles and protect the metal working parts of tools. When applied to the metal parts, it creates a barrier between the metal and oxygen, preventing rust. For a thorough treatment, apply it liberally over the entire tool, allow it to sit 15 mins and wipe off the excess with a dry cloth. Read and follow the directions carefully, as used rags can pose a combustion risk if stored or disposed of incorrectly.
Pruner blades that are clogged with sap can be difficult to use. Solvents, such as mineral spirits or turpentine, can be used to remove sap from pruning tool blades.
Photo by: photowind / Shutterstock.
Preventing and Removing Rust
Making sure tools are dried thoroughly before storing and treating them with linseed or mineral oil are the best ways to keep tools from getting rusty. But, if you do discover some rust on your tools, here’s what you can do to get them back in working order:
A leaky, dripping hose is no good—this means you’re wasting precious water! Wasting water is bad for the environment as well as your wallet. A good way to avoid a leaky garden house is by performing a little preventative maintenance ahead of time. Some gardeners like to replace washers in their garden hose’s connectors at the end of each summer season to ensure they’ll be starting totally fresh when the next spring rolls around.
If you notice your garden hose is dripping despite preventative care, there are other measures you can take to remedy the problem and save your hose from damage. First, you must determine if the leak is coming from the body of the hose itself. Sometimes, hoses can develop splits or tears, causing water to leak from them. However, if the body of the hose is fine, it’s time to turn your attention toward the hose’s other parts.
On the female coupler end of the garden hose, there is a washer. When this washer becomes old and worn down, it can cause leaks. The male coupler end of the hose and the spigot do not contain washers, so the female end is the only one that will require a change. Once identified, the washer can be gently pried out with the end of a flathead screwdriver, replaced, and then tested by turning the water on again--if water is still leaking around the new washer, the leak is originating elsewhere.
The hose end is another part that may be causing leaks or drips. To replace a hose end, you must cut the old end off using a sharp pair of scissors or shears. Determine where the material contains holes or small cracks, and then cut those areas off with the scissors (this may require traveling down the hose a few inches, depending on the extent of the damage). After cutting off the bad hose, dry the end of the fresh hose with a paper towel. Then, rub a small amount of dish soap along the inside of the fresh hose. Unscrew the screws on the replacement coupler, fit the new part on the fresh hose, and rescrew the coupler onto the fresh hose until it is snug and will not leak. Test the new part by turning on the water.
• Before putting your hose away, shut off the spigot and continue spraying the nozzle until the hose is empty. Leaving water inside can cause the hose to deteriorate from the inside.
• Store your hose off the ground and out of direct sunlight. Indoors (in a garage or shed) is best, but if you want to leave it out, put your holder in the shade. The UV rays of the sun can damage the outer part of your hose. And if there’s any water inside, it can heat up and damage the inner liner.
• Invest in a hose rack, hose caddy, hose pot, or anything else that allows you to gently coil your hose when you put it away. (If you hang it, leave the nozzle hanging down so it can continue to drain.) I’ve used the outside of a large planting pot to wind the hose around. Some people like to store theirs coiled inside a round container (a trash can or something prettier). Never hang your hose on a nail! A hose hanger will spread the weight evenly.
• Don’t wind your hose too tightly. If it won’t wind without kinking, you may need a larger holder or container.
• Don’t leave your hose on the ground for long periods. It can begin to mildew and rot. Besides, it’ll get dirty.
• When putting away your hose for winter, take off attachments (nozzles, wands), and drain the water out of it. Wipe the outside with a clean washcloth. I like to enlist a bucket of soapy water with a little vinegar in it to get it good and clean and cut any mold or mildew.
When you buy a new hose, consider the material (polyurethane, rubber, latex, even stainless steel) and what you’ll be using it for. How long do you need it to reach? Do you want it to be safe to drink from? If you’re concerned about toxicity — especially for your produce —look for phthalate-free hoses. Did you know that hoses have pressure ratings, too? Here’s a good article on finding the right hose.
My new garden hose is the expandable, spiral-type. So far, I love it, and it hasn’t kinked. One disadvantage is that mine is covered with fabric, and the fabric is getting worn as I drag it over the cement driveway. I definitely won’t be using it to wash the car in the drive. I guess that’s another tip, right? Carry your hose, don’t drag it!
What kind of garden hose do you like? How do you like to store it?