Can I Leave My Garden Hose Outside in Winter? A Comprehensive Guide

As the winter season approaches, homeowners often wonder, “Can I leave my garden hose outside in winter?” The answer is a resounding no. Leaving your garden hose outside during the harsh Canadian winter can lead to freezing, damage, and costly repairs. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to properly store your garden hose for winter.

Shut Off the Water Source

The first step in preparing your garden hose for winter is to shut off the water source. This is typically done by locating the water shutoff valve for your outdoor tap inside your house. The valve is usually located opposite or close to where the tap is on the inside of the house, often in the basement. After you turn off the water, open the outdoor tap to drain any remaining water. This step is crucial as it prevents any residual water from freezing in the hose, which could lead to cracks and leaks.

Remove the Spray Nozzle

The next step is to remove the spray nozzle and drain it of any remaining water. It’s important to ensure the nozzle is completely dry before storing it for winter to prevent any residual water from freezing and causing damage. It’s also a good idea to store the nozzle in a dry and warm place to prevent any damage from the cold.

Disconnect the Garden Hose

After disconnecting the garden hose, make sure to drain it completely. If you have more than one hose attached to the tap, make sure to separate and drain them individually. If water remains in the hose, it may freeze and expand, causing irreparable damage to the hose. This step is crucial in preventing any potential damage to your garden hose.

Prepare the Hose for Storage

When preparing the hose for storage, coil the hose in large loops, approximately 18″ to 24″ in diameter. This helps to prevent any kinks or twists that could potentially damage the hose. Check the hose for any signs of damage such as kinks and holes. If you can connect the ends of the hose together, do it. This will help keep the inner hose clean from debris and will also help the hose stay in formation.

Storing Your Hose

While some people bring their hoses inside, most of us store our hoses in our garages or sheds. Wherever you store it, inside is always better than outside. It’s ideal to store the hose on a rounded surface, as it keeps the hose in its natural storage shape. Using a large nail or some other similar object to hang the hose on can cause damage over time due to pressure.

In addition to these steps, it’s also important to consider the location of your hose reel. One of the most popular places to position a hose reel is directly over a water spout. This position keeps your water hose off of the ground and it makes connecting your hose to the spout easy to do. Another place that you can locate your hose reel is next to a water spout. If you position the hose reel to the side of a water spout you can avoid space issues that may relate to the height clearance found above the water spout.

A wooden storage for gardening tools

The Impact of Winter on Garden Equipment

Winter can be harsh on your garden equipment if not properly cared for. The cold temperatures and moisture can cause metal parts to rust and wooden handles to crack. Moreover, residual water left in your garden hose or other watering equipment can freeze and expand, leading to cracks and damage.

Garden tools such as shovels, rakes, and pruners can also suffer from the winter weather. The moisture can cause the metal parts to rust, and the freezing temperatures can make the materials brittle, leading to breakage.

To prevent this, it’s important to clean and dry your tools thoroughly before storing them for the winter. Remove any dirt or plant material, and wipe the tools dry. For metal parts, consider applying a light coat of oil to prevent rusting.

For power equipment like lawn mowers and leaf blowers, it’s recommended to drain the fuel before winter storage to prevent any damage to the engine.


Properly storing your garden hose for winter is crucial to prevent damage and costly repairs. If you didn’t store your hose properly and now have water damage, consider reaching out to a professional plumbing service. Remember, a little preparation goes a long way in maintaining the longevity of your garden hose.

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