If you enjoy camping in your RV in the winter, then you have to take precautions to prevent frozen water hoses. Freezing water and sewer lines can burst, causing damage to the inside and outside of your RV. Don’t worry, you can do a few things to ensure your water hoses don’t burst and freeze.
Are you ready for some winter camping? Follow these five tips for protecting your RV water hose in the winter. You don’t have to follow the birds south to hit the open road with your RV.
1. Heated RV Water Hose
A heated water hose for your RV is the best option to prevent burst or split hoses during winter camping. They’re available in assorted lengths and most have freeze protection from -20 to -40 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the type you buy.
If you buy a heated water hose from a reputable RV parts store, you can be sure it’s NSF 61 certified for safe drinking water.
RV heated water hoses have a jacket that covers the electrical parts of the hose, so they’re not exposed to outside moisture. All you have to do is plug it in, and it will keep your water hose and water pipes inside your RV from freezing.
Read more about RVing in the winter. You don’t have to wait for the warm weather to enjoy winter camping in the snow.
2. Wrap in Tube Insulation
Foam insulation tubes can keep your RV water hose from freezing. It’s not quite as dependable as heated water hoses, but the insulation can prevent freezing.
Wrap the insulation around your hose and secure it with duct tape every few feet.
Also, keep in mind that foam insulation varies. Make sure you check the insulation temperature limits for the insulation you plan to use on your RV hoses.
3. Attach a Heat Cable
Attaching a heat cable to your RV water hose is a bit more work than using a heated RV hose, but it is effective for keeping your hose at about 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat cables work like electric blankets for your hose. You just tape them onto the water hose.
They turn on and off to keep your hose at a certain temperature, so it won’t freeze. It’s a good idea to put a thin layer of insulation tape on your hose before attaching the heating cable. This will prevent your hose from being damaged from the heat.
4. Wrap in Heat Tape
Heat tape looks like a long plastic ribbon. You wrap it around your RV water hoses in a spiral fashion. If you’ve ever wrapped a hockey stick or baseball bat, it’s the same method, but you keep the spirals about 18 to 24-inches apart.
When wrapping the heat tape, don’t overlap it. If you overlap the tape, it can cause some areas to get too hot. If this happens, your water hose could melt.
Use electrician’s tape to hold the heat tape in place. It’s flexible, so it can expand and contract with the water that’s running through the hose.
If you decide on heat tape, choose one that has a clear, plastic bubble over the plug. This way, you can see the glowing red light that shows you the tape is working properly.
Your heat tape will last for years if you cover it with tube insulation after you wrap it on your hose. Make sure you don’t cover the plastic bubble.
5. Add a Skirt
Once you park your RV, attach a canvas skirt all around the base of the vehicle. This keeps out the cold wind and prevents snow from blowing under the RV. If the temperatures aren’t too far below freezing, a skirt might be all you need to prevent your hoses from splitting.
For even more protection, use insulated foam boards around the bottom of your RV. If you fit them close to the RV and the ground, they’ll work better. Also, tape any gaps between the boards, and tape any gaps where they meet the bottom of your RV.
What to Do if the Water Hose Freezes
So, what do you do if your RV water hose freezes? The following solutions can help thaw out your water hoses before they burst.
One method is to use a heat gun or hairdryer. Aim the heat gun where your hose connects to the water source. Apply the heat to the end of the hose until the ice melts. This usually takes from five to ten minutes.
Next, melt the ice on the other end of the hose where it connects to your RV. Once you have both ends of the hose thawed out, disconnect the hose and bring it into your RV. Put both ends into a bucket so the water has somewhere to drain. You can speed up the melting process if you have a heat lamp you can use to melt the ice.
Once all the ice melts from inside the hose, drain it out completely. Check the hose for any splits or damage from the ice. If all is well, try one of the five methods mentioned previously to keep your hose warm and running freely.
Always keep a spare RV water hose in your storage area so you’re never without water.
Also, a hairdryer comes in handy not only for thawing water hoses. It also does the trick if your RV door freezes shut. This can happen in below zero weather.
All you have to do is move the hairdryer along the edges of the door and on the lock. You’ll have your door open in no time.
You’re Ready to Face Winter Camping Challenges
Now that you know five ways to keep your RV water hose warm, you’re ready to face the challenges of winter camping. Cold weather camping is only for the hardy. Are you up for the challenge?
Get your heated water hose, heat tape, insulation or heat cable and don’t let the cold stop you from enjoying your RV in the winter.
If you found these five RV water hose tips helpful, read more articles about RV maintenance and repairs.