We often get asked in the winter months a question like “Is there a way that I can keep the water in my garden hose from freezing?” The simple answer is yes. The most common reasons our customers give us for needing a water source that doesn’t freeze is for RV use, livestock, agricultural and work in the oil fields.
If you are in need of a water source that can be used with people or animals in mind you should remember to use a heated or garden hose. There are three basic ways you can protect your hose from freezing – use a heated garden hose, wrap your water hose in heat tape or insulate it. Below you will find information about each method!
Heated Garden Hose
This is the simplest and most time-efficient way to keep your water from freezing. A heated water hose keeps your water from freezing by warming with electricity.
A wire runs the length of the hose and is embedded in it. The hose has an electrical outlet that your plug-in. A simple extension cord plugged into your outlet and then into the hose will provide the current needed to keep your water above the freezing temps.
The tap where you hook the hose should be insulated. You can do this by wrapping it or putting a cover over it. We often get asked if you can connect two heated hoses together. The answer to that is yes! If you are using a well made heated water hoses and it does not void the warrenty!
If you want to connect two hoses just make sure you insulate the fittings where you conenct the hoses together. The fittings do not have the electrical current running in them to keep the water from freezing. Another key thing to remember when using a heated hose is not to insulate the hose itself.
This can overheat the heating element in the hose and reduce the longevity of the hose. If you use a freeze free hose make sure you do not insulate the cuff where you connect the hose to the tap. The thermostat is located there and insulated this could cause the hose not to turn on when the temperature drops below freezing.
Another cautionary note – we have not heard a lot of positive things from customers about imported heated hoses. Obviously, we are biased toward the UK made products but we really do believe that the ones that are made in the UK are superior products to the imports.
This is the old fashioned way to keep your pipes and hoses from freezing. Heat tape has many great features and it works well. It is fairly easy to wrap around the hose, just make sure you follow the directions for use from the package. You want to wrap the tape at the right spacing to ensure proper freeze protection.
The downside to heat tape – time. It takes a lot of time to wrap the hose. Also if you need to move the hose you may need to unwrap and then re-wrap it again because the heat tape comes uncoiled. You can find a good quality heat tape at most hardware or plumbing stores.
This is another method that has been around for along time. It can work well but if your temp’s drop is considerably lower than freezing your insulation may not keep the water from freezing. The thickness of insulation is key. The week spots are the seams and where the insulation joins together.
These spots can create spots where the cold access the hose. Another area you want to be aware of is where you connect the female feeling to the outside tap.
Also moving a hose that has been insulated can cause the insulation to separate creating freeze points. Insulation is time-consuming and requires some vigilance in checking your hose from time to time.
Any of the options listed in this post could work well for you. Research what your need is and choose which option you feel matches it best.
Personally, I feel a good quality heated water hose is the best option for most in keeping your water free-flowing. This is because there are some good quality options out there and it is the easiest to use – hook it up, plug it in and let the water flow!