Your air hose reel, like many of the models available, may not have come with a hose installed. If this is the case, you'll need to put one on yourself. Go ahead and pick up a hose that fits your new reel. Then follow these instructions to install it properly.
Step 1 - Unwind the Hose
Most air hose reels are manufactured to handle a standard 50-foot hose. For pressurized air applications, the standard hose size is 3/8 inch, but 1/2-inch hoses are also available.
To be sure the hose installs properly, you should unroll the hose and stretch it out relatively straight. If possible, stretch the hose out in direct sunlight; the sun will help make the hose more limber and better able to adapt to the new curvature of the reel. Leave the hose unwound for at least an hour, or until the hose becomes easily flexible.
Step 2 - Connect the Hose
Hose and reels connect differently according to the manufacturer. Some hoses plug directly into the quick-connect adapter, and others have special connectors installed to make the hose fit properly. If your air hose reel does not have a quick connect, you may consider installing a quick-connect adapter to save yourself time later on.
Step 3 - Rewind the Hose
Air and water hose reels come in both manual and automatic winding varieties. Connecting a new hose to an automatic winder may require you to manually unwind the spring mechanism before you attach the hose. This task generally means turning the reel counterclockwise three or more complete revolutions, but the specifics will be different from one hose reel to another.
When you have observed the initial setup for your particular winder, connect the hose to the reel and allow it to rewind slowly until the hose has retracted fully into the reel. If the hose does not retract fully, repeat the process. Make sure you follow the reel manufacturer's instructions carefully.
Step 4 - Manually Wind the Hose
If your unit doesn't have an automatic winder, you will manually wind the hose. Once again, connect the hose to the reel using a quick connect or whichever method your reel requires. Wind the hose slowly onto the reel. Allow the hose to "roll" lengthwise as you wind it onto the reel. This technique prevents troublesome binds and crimps and also helps to extend the life of the hose dramatically.
Step 5 - Observe Safety Measures
Anytime you work with pressurized air or water, wear eye protection. It only takes a fraction of a second for a speck of dust to blow into your eye, an event which can result in medical treatments or even partial blindness. When you use the hose, be careful not to wrap it around your leg or against items in the garage or shop. A hose that becomes tangled on something is tripping hazard and can cause severe damage.