If you find yourself needing to use your garden hose during the winter, you're probably already familiar with how much of a hassle it can be to keep it from freezing. From unhooking your hose after every use to draining it of remaining water, wrapping it, and storing it, the process can be inconvenient and time-consuming.
Below we'll look at what to do if your garden hose freezes, and the best ways to prevent your hose from freezing in the future.
What Temperature Can Your Garden Hose Freeze At?
The colder it gets outside, the greater the chances your garden hose will freeze. While your pipes are typically safe from freezing until temperatures get closer to 20℉ and remain at those levels for 6+ hours, your garden hose can start to freeze in as little as 6 hours once it gets below freezing temperature outside (32℉). This is because your hoses are directly exposed to the elements, so they don't have as much protection and insulation as your pipes do.
Why Not Leave Your Garden Hose Outside During the Winter?
Unfortunately, without proper precautions, freezing weather can quickly take a toll on your garden hose if you leave it outside during the winter. Excess water can freeze in the hose, causing it to split, burst, or weaken-meaning you'll likely need a replacement quickly.
While it is generally advisable to store a garden hose indoors in the winter, sometimes it's just not feasible. If you find yourself needing to run water multiple times per week during the colder months, going through the hassle of hooking up your hose to use it, then detaching it, draining it, and taking it back indoors regularly can be a real hassle.
If you find yourself with a frozen garden hose, take the steps outlined below to thaw it. Then, be sure to take the proper precautions to prevent future freezing (keep reading for the best methods!)
Steps to Thaw Your Frozen Hose
While preventing your garden hose or RV water hose from freezing will help improve its longevity (continue reading for some tips on how to keep your hose from freezing), it is possible to thaw a frozen hose.
First, you need to straighten the hose out as much as possible. Be as delicate as possible when trying to unbend it, as frozen sections of the hose will be more brittle and more likely to crack.
Next, walk along the length of the water hose, feeling each portion to look for stiff sections. Each section that doesn't bend is blocked by ice and needs to be thawed.
The best way to thaw these frozen sections is to use a low source of heat, such as a hair dryer on low, to gently warm these areas with warm air and thaw the ice within.
Once all sections are thawed, be sure to drain the hose of the water inside and take steps to ensure your hose doesn't freeze again-as outlined below.
Methods to Prevent Your Garden Hose from Freezing
Instead of dealing with thawing your water hose, which is not a fun task -especially when it's cold out, it's a good idea to plan ahead and get prepared before winter rolls in.
There are several ways you can prevent your garden hose from freezing each winter. The most common-but time-consuming and inconvenient-option is to drain the hose after every use and store it inside. However, there are other options that are more convenient, which we've outlined below.
Heated Garden Hose
A heated garden hose can withstand extremely cold weather. You simply connect the hose to your outdoor faucet and plug it in to a power source and it will stay warm throughout the winter, ready to use when you need it.
However, there are a few drawbacks to these hoses. First, they can be expensive. Depending on length, the best garden hose options can exceed $100 - $300+.
Additionally, a heated water hose needs a constant power source to maintain warmth. Not only does this contribute to your energy bill (important in a time when energy bills are reaching record levels), but it also adds a potential point of failure. If you experience a prolonged power outage (not uncommon during strong winter storms), your hose is at risk of freezing just like a normal garden hose would be.
This option also does little to protect your or pipes from , making it a less-than-ideal solution.
Use a Heating Cable
A cheaper alternative to purchasing a heated hose is purchasing a heated cable, wrapping it along the length of your current garden hose, and securing it with heat tape.
A heat cable allows you to create a DIY heated hose that can protect your hose throughout the winter. A main advantage of this option over a heated hose is that it's much cheaper than buying a heated hose (about half the cost, on average). However, it's still not exactly cheap-costing anywhere from $50 - $100+ depending on length.
In addition to having to properly implement the heating cable around your garden hose, this approach has similar drawbacks to heated hoses: the reliance on electricity. This means a higher energy bill, and you're at risk of having your hose freeze in the event of an extended power outage prolonged exposure to cold air.
Similar to a , this option does little to protect your or pipes from .
Insulating Your Garden Hose
You can also insulate your hose with foam insulation, which can help reduce the chances of freezing. However, it's not a guaranteed way to keep your garden hoses from freezing over, as prolonged exposure to freezing temperatures can still result in ice buildup.
The Best Way to Keep Your Hose and Pipes from Freezing
While draining and storing your garden hose after each use or using a heated solution can protect your hose throughout the cold winter months, there's a better solution.
Install a Freeze Miser on Your Hose
All you need to do is place a Freeze Miser on the end of your garden hose and turn the water on fully. Once the water in the hose drops below 37℉ , the Freeze Miser will automatically drip the minimum amount of water to prevent freezing. Once the freezing temperature rises and the water inside your faucet and hose is above 37℉, it will stop releasing water.
You can utilize a Y-valve on the end of the hose, and attach a Freeze Miser to the other leg of the valve. With this configuration, you can simply open the little valve and use normally, then switch it back off to re-route water through the Freeze Miser.
When storing, be sure you keep the Freeze Miser off the ground over a chair or fence, as this ensures the Freeze Miser is sensing the water in the hose. The rest of the hose can be laying on the ground.
Compared to other alternatives, the Freeze Miser is a much more affordable than other options. The cost of the Freeze Miser is only $30.00 and protects up to 150 ft. of hose—no matter what the air temperature is.
Freeze Miser Protects More Than Just Your Water Hose
Attaching a Freeze Miser to your garden water hose or RV water hose not only protects it, but it can also help protect your outside faucet (or hose bib) and your water pipes - including exposed pipe and connecting water pipes throughout your property (as long as you install one on each outdoor hose bib or outdoor faucet). Frozen pipes can be a nightmare, and a burst pipe can cause a lot of water damage, whether it's an indoor our outdoor pipe.
With a quick installation, the Freeze Miser can protect your water supply and help prevent frozen pipes, making it the ideal solution to protect your garden hoses and outdoor plumbing.