In the spring and summer, your [garden hose])(http://www.ehow.com/how_12340572_garden-hose-uses-maintenance.html) is a vital tool for keeping the lawn and yard in shape. Whether you use it to water plants, attach it to a sprinkler on the lawn or power-wash your siding, it probably sees regular action. But if you want the hose to last, the way you store it in the winter is more important. Storing a hose for cold weather isn't complicated, but you need to do it right so the hose is ready come next spring.
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The first step is to drain the hose of any water and let it dry out as much as possible. If water is allowed to sit inside the hose as temperatures drop, it may freeze, expanding inside the hose and causing cracks. To empty the hose, set one end on the ground and carefully raise the length of it over your shoulder to drain it. As the water begins to drain more slowly, run your hands over the remaining section of hose a few feet at a time to empty any remaining water. Allow the drained sections to coil on the ground as you work.
Check for Damage
Once the hose is drained, check its length for signs of damage. Start by examining the ends for damaged fittings and replace, if necessary. If you notice cracks or bulges in the hose, cut those sections out and replace them with a hose mender. Use a sharp blade and make sure the cuts are straight. Different type of menders are available, depending on hose manufacturer -- to make sure you purchase the right part, take the damaged portion of hose with you to the garden supply store. Verify that you’ve purchased the right mender for your hose material too; there are options for both vinyl and rubber. Finally, examine the hose’s washers, which can dry out and break down with age. Replace any that are damaged with rubber washers that tend to hold up better.
Before you store the hose for the winter, organize it and all its accessories. Collect the hose and all the pieces that you might use with it, such as nozzles, wands, connectors, sprinklers and water timers, so you can sort them. A hose is usually too large to place in a storage container, but you can use plastic bins to hold smaller accessories. Mesh bags also work well for accessories that are part of a set, such a spray wand and its various tips.
Store It Inside
To increase the longevity of a garden hose, store it inside during the winter. A garage is an ideal spot, particularly if it’s heated. Choose a designated spot for the hose, where you can place it and all its accessories. For the best results, store the hose on a reel that you can mount on the wall to keep it out of the way. If you don’t have room for a reel, coil the hose neatly on the ground instead. You may want to add a couple of shelves on the wall beside the hose where you can place the bins and bags with its accessories.