As a Calgary homeowner, you know there is a lot more to getting ready for winter than putting extra blankets on the beds and turning up the heat. While protecting your pipes by disconnecting your garden hose might not be the first thing on your winter home maintenance checklist, consider this: a frozen garden hose can lead to serious damage inside the water lines in your house, creating huge problems for you that far exceed the inconvenience of taking a few minutes put away your hose.
Why disconnect the garden hose?
Once the nights turn cold, ice will form inside your garden hose. If the hose is still connected, you are leaving a direct connection to the valve that will allow the ice inside the hose to move into your water pipes and into your home. With the hose frozen pressure will build up in your home’s water lines. This is a recipe for disaster. That pressure could cause your water line to burst and leak, causing serious water damage.
Does my Calgary house insurance cover that?
Repairing broken water lines is not only costly and inconvenient, but it also might not even be covered under your Calgary house insurance. Certainly, some events are unpredictable, and there isn’t anything you could have done. As a homeowner, it’s your responsibility to maintain your home. For example, if you kept up with maintenance and your home’s pipes burst one winter your claim would probably be approved. If an outside pipe burst, you should be covered as well, as long as you could demonstrate that you were not responsible for the burst pipe. If your insurer concluded the damage was cause by poor maintenance, your claim could be denied. While what is considered “maintenance” might be open to interpretation, disconnecting a garden hose is the kind of thing you can do in a few minutes.
Why take chances?
Your Calgary house insurance provider recommends disconnecting and storing your garden hose for the winter can be done in minutes by following these simple steps:
- Turn off the outside faucet to prevent more water from coming into the hose.
- Stretch your garden hose out completely to remove any kinks.
- Remove any garden hose attachments like spray nozzles or sprinklers. If you have a spray nozzle attached, open it to spray out any water left in the hose.
- Disconnect the hose from the faucet.
- Remove any water remaining in your hose to prevent freezing that can damage the lining. Lift one end of the hose and walk the length of the hose, keeping it elevated, to allow all water to drain from it.
- Roll up your hose up to prevent it from becoming twisted or kinked in storage. Begin by bending the end of the hose into a loop about a meter in diameter and wind the hose in the same direction, keeping the loop roughly the same size.
- Store your hose in a warm location to prevent it from cracking or freezing. If your storage shed or garage gets down below freezing, keep your hose in the basement or another room in your house where it won’t freeze.
If you absolutely must keep a garden hose attached in winter, and your weather doesn’t get below -30 degrees Celsius, consider buying a heated hose. This type of hose is thermally insulated and wrapped in a waterproof, heated circuit. These hoses require a nearby electrical outlet and won’t keep the faucet itself from freezing, but it will keep water from freezing inside it.
I waited too long and my garden hose froze!
Unfreezing a garden hose isn’t too difficult. You can use the same techniques you would to thaw a water pipe, but take precautions not to melt the hose itself. Many people recommend using a blow dryer to thaw the ice. Once the ice is melted, follow the steps above. And, of course, next time, remove the hose before it freezes.
There is so much to do to prepare your home for winter weather. Disconnecting the garden hose might be the kind of thing that has slipped under your radar in the past. By taking a few simple steps to store your hose properly for winter you can avoid having to file a Calgary house insurance claim.