A PVC garden hose reel is one of those very simple devices that nonetheless cause problems for people. Plastic reels especially often break or jam. The hoses themselves tangle up, kink, and eventually leak.
To a certain extent, you can avoid these problems by getting a high-quality reel and by keeping your hoses as short as possible. If you need more length, use a second or third reel and then link the hoses together for use. But no hose reel is absolutely kink proof or tangle-proof. A couple of simple tricks make rolling up a PVC garden hose a lot easier.
PVC Garden Hose Reels With Cranks
All PVC garden hose reels that have either manual cranks or automatic wind-up work essentially the same way; you simply turn the reel and wind up the hose. The trick is to make sure the hose does not kink up as it enters the reel, because kinks prevent water flow and they damage the hose material over time.
Hoses have memory, meaning that the longer a hose rests in a certain position, the more it tends to return to that position. That means that storing a hose with kinks virtually guarantees the kinks become permanent.
Before rolling the hose up, either straighten it out or, if space is at a premium, arrange the hose into large, gentle loops so that kinks do not form as the hose pulls along the ground. Guide the hose onto the reel with one hand so that no new kinks form and the loops lay on the reel straight and even.
PVC Garden Hose Reels Without Cranks
Some reels lack any kind of rolling mechanism. You have to wrap the hose around by hand. Again, the same steps for avoiding kinks apply, but there are two more tricks for keeping the hoses neat on these reels.
First, keep the loop sizes consistent in size. Although small loops usually look neater, because the hose has memory, storing the hose in tight, small loops make the hose harder to straighten out later. Use the largest loops the reel design permits.
Second, just before you finish wrapping each loop, give the hose a quarter turn with a twisting movement of your wrist to encourage the loop to lay flat.
PVC Garden Hose Reels Through the Seasons
Time of year is a big factor in hose care. One issue involves hose memory. Curly hoses that do not lay straight are harder to work with and kink more easily. One way to preserve a hose is to leave it out during the growing season when you use the hose often. Try to keep it out of the sun so as to protect the hose from ultraviolet light. Then, at the end of the season, roll up the hose and cover the reel or move it to a garden shed for protection from the weather. If the weather has already turned cold, lay the hose out in the sun so it can soften a little before rolling it.
The other issue relating to seasonal change involves ice. Some people like to pressurize their hoses while rolling them up in order to help prevent kinks. Although water-filled hoses are much heavier, in the summer you can certainly use this technique if it helps you. But if there is any threat of freezing, you do have to drain the hose. Water expands as it freezes, so ice damages hoses. If the reel is elevated, then rolling up the hose automatically empties it out, as long as there is no attachment on the end to plug it up. Otherwise, to empty out a hose, open both ends, pick up one end, and put it over your shoulder with the end hanging behind you. Then walk forward, passing the hose backward over your shoulder as you go until you get to the other end. Then roll up the hose.
PVC Garden hose reels make care and storage of hoses easier, simpler, and neater. There is one final caveat, though. When you roll up your hose, watch where the end of the hose is going to ensure the handle of your sprayer attachment does not rip out your prized flowers as it scoots past.