Using your RV and being in an RV park during the winter can be quite the challenge. This is especially the case when it comes to your water supply, particularly the issue of your RV water hose freezing.
So how do you keep an RV water hose from freezing? To keep your RV water hose from freezing you should use a heat cable, insulate the hose using pipe wrap and insulation tape, use a heated water hose, and most importantly not leave it on when it is not in use.
We are also going to cover some of the most effective ways to unfreeze a water hose and look at some of the best heated water hose options.
At What Temperature Will Camper Water Lines Freeze?
Water starts to freeze at around 32 degrees Fahrenheit or zero degrees Celsius. Therefore, this is exactly when the lines in your camper or RV will start to freeze. Of course, being exposed to these temperatures for very short periods will not do the trick.
However, if your RV water hose and the water lines are exposed to freezing temperatures for several hours, especially overnight, then they will start to freeze. If the air is cold enough for water to freeze, then your camper water lines will freeze.
How To Unfreeze An RV Water Hose
That water hose leading from the water spigot to your RV has already frozen, there are a few ways to unfreeze it. Let’s take a look at the best ways to unfreeze an RV water hose.
1. Use Natural Sunlight
If you can unscrew the frozen hose from the spigot, then one of the easiest ways to unfreeze it is by placing it in the sunlight. Now, this is only going to work if the temperature is around freezing or just a couple of degrees below freezing.
Bright sunlight should have enough strength to thaw out the hose, at least partially. If your hose is not 100% frozen, this method may very well work, and it requires very little effort.
2. Disconnect The Hose
If you can unscrew the hose from the spigot, one of the first things that you should do is to disconnect it and bring it inside. Yes, you will want some towels, buckets, or plastic bags to catch the water as the ice in the hose melts, but this method will of course work.
We assume that the interior temperature inside of your RV is around room temperature. Just letting the hose thaw out at room temperature will take a while, but it will of course work, not to mention that it’s completely free and easy. Just let the hose sit until it’s thawed out.
3. Use A Heat Gun or Hair Dryer
Thawing out a frozen RV water hose is only half the battle here because more often than not, that hose is going to be way too frozen to unscrew from the spigot in the first place. Therefore, you have to find a way to thaw out the connection point so you can actually unscrew the hose.
Most people would recommend using a heat gun for this purpose. A heat gun is specifically designed to produce massive amounts of heat. These tools serve many different purposes, and thawing out frozen pipes and hoses is one of them.
You just have to point the heat gun at the frozen connection, and it will thaw within a matter of seconds. If you have a good heat gun, you can even move it along the whole hose to unfreeze it without disconnecting it from the spigot.
You might not have a heat gun or want to invest in one, in which case a simple hair dryer should do the trick. A hairdryer is not going to work nearly as fast because they’re not nearly as hot as heat guns, but if you have the time to spare, it will still work.
However, unlike with a heat gun, you probably won’t be able to unfreeze the whole hose with just a hairdryer. A hairdryer should be enough to unfreeze the host to the point where you can unscrew it from the spigot and then take it inside.
4. Use A Heat Lamp
Chances that you have a heat lamp laying around are relatively slim, but this is still something that will work. You can use a heat lamp to thaw a frozen hose so you can unscrew it from the spigot and then take it inside.
If you have a really nice heat lamp, you could also coil up the hose into a small package and then simply leave it outside under the heat lamp.
A good heat lamp, especially if it is close to the hose, should be more than hot enough to unfreeze the hose even if you have it outdoors in the freezing cold. This is also a good way to prevent your water hose from freezing as you are using it.
5. Use A Space Heater
If you have unscrewed the hose and brought it indoors, using a space heater can definitely speed up the thawing process.
No, you can’t use a space heater outdoors, as it’s just a waste of energy, but if you can bring the hose inside, let them this will work just fine.
6. Use Hot Towels
If you need to unscrew the hose from the spigot, and you don’t have a heat gun or any of the other above items, using some towels soaked in hot water could work.
Of course, this is time-sensitive, as the hot water in the towels will eventually cool down and freeze.
7. A Hot Bath
If you can bring the hose inside, putting it in the small bathtub or shower in your RV and getting it a hot bath will do the trick as well.
How To Freeze Proof Your RV Water Hose For Winter
So you can avoid all of the above steps in terms of unfreezing a frozen RV water hose, you can always winterize or freeze-proof your RV water hose so it doesn’t freeze in the first place.
Here we are not talking about using a heated water hose, which is something we’ll cover further below. Follow the steps listed below to freeze-proof your RV hose.
1. Get A Heat Cable
The first step to freeze-proof your RV water hose is to line that water hose with a heat cable. You can think of a heat cable as an extension cord with the sole purpose of heating up.
These cables also come with a temperature sensor that will force them to turn on when temperatures drop below freezing. Make sure that you get a heat cable long enough to line the whole hose.
You’re then going to put the hose on the ground and straighten it out, and then lay the heat cable beside it. You are now going to put the two together, and make sure that the sensor from the heat cable touches the hose. You might want to use some tape to secure the heat cable sensor onto the hose.
The sensor needs to be able to tell when the hose drops to freezing temperatures. You’re now going to use some good tape to take them both together. You don’t want to be too sparing with the tape, but don’t wrap it too tightly either.
2. Insulate Everything With Insulating Foam
The next step here, once the heat cable has been attached to the hose, is to insulate everything. There are different types of insulation out there for this purpose, such as insulation tubing and pipe wrap insulation.
Our official recommendation is to use pipe wrap insulation as it bends along with your water hose. All you have to do is wrap the insulation around both the heat cable and the hose. This will help prevent the hose from dropping down to freezing temperatures even without the heat cable.
If you are using insulation tubing, you’ll first have to make a slit along the tube and then insert the heat cable and the hose. You will then need something like duct tape to seal up the slip that you made.
3. Now Insulate Everything with Insulation Tape
Insulation tape is a special type of tape that has a metalized finish and an adhesive. This tape is built for cold temperatures. You’re going to start on one end of the hose and wrap the tape around it from one side to the other, making sure that each revolution with the tape overlaps the last by around half an inch.
At this point, you should now have a water hose that is parallel with a heat cable, which is then covered in insulation foam, and then wrapped in insulation tape. This should be enough to keep that water hose from freezing. At this point, you can also connect the heat cable to an electrical outlet and turn it on.
How To Heat An RV Water Hose
As we have covered above, the best way to heat an RV water hose is by using a special heat cable and then wrapping it in several layers of insulation. Besides using tons of electricity, such as with a heat gun or a heat lamp, this is really the only viable method of heating an RV water hose to ensure that it does not freeze.
If you’re parked outside all winter, you can’t sit beside the hose with a heat gun all the time, and you can’t let a heat lamp run the whole time either.
Of course, if the hose is already frozen and you need to unfreeze it, then a heat gun hot, hairdryer, or heat lamp are necessary. However, these are methods to unfreeze a hose, not to heat a water hose over long periods, or to keep it from freezing. That said, there are heated hoses out there.
Is It Worth Buying A Heated Freshwater Hose?
If you are somebody who likes to drive around and be in their RV all winter, then it is absolutely worth buying a heated freshwater hose.
Simply put, buying a heated freshwater hose will effectively replace that do-it-yourself freeze-proof tutorial that we covered above. This is a hose that comes with an integrated heating system with plenty of insulation.
Sure, they cost more than a regular water hose, but they are well worth the investment. You don’t have to make it do it yourself heated water hose, and you never have to worry about having to unfreeze anything either.
Moreover, a normal water hose can burst if it freezes, which will cost money. A heated water hose can save you money in the long run.
Related: 8 Great Pop-Up Campers For Winter.
3 Best Heated Water Hoses For RV’s
Seeing as getting a heated water hose for your RV is the best way to go about this, let’s take a quick look at the three heated water hoses for RVs that we felt deserved a mention.
This is a 25 foot long water hose designed for RV’s that features a 1/2 inch inner diameter. It also comes complete with matching three quarter inch female solid brass garden hose adapter fittings. This is a durable hose that can withstand up to 180 pounds per square inch of pressure.
This hose features a very durable and nearly puncture proof exterior jacket that helps protect the water hose and keeps it from freezing.
On a side note, it comes complete with an 18 month warranty. This is of course a heated water hose that features 8 watts of power. It can keep a hose from freezing down to negative 40 degrees Fahrenheit and is self-regulating for temperature.
Technically speaking, here we have a heated drinking water hose. It is designed with BPA and lead free materials to ensure that it is safe for drinking water.
That said, you can also use it for a basic RV water connection. It features female to male adapter, as well as regular garden hose adapters.
It operates using a 120 Volt AC current. Yes, this is of course a heated hose, and it can handle temperatures down to negative 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
There is also an option available that can withstand temperatures down to negative 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Just plug it in and it will automatically regulate the temperature to stop the hose from freezing.
Here we have a whopping 100 foot long insulated and heated drinking water hose for RV’s. Once again, this unit is also made with safe materials that make it perfectly safe to use for drinking water.
What is really cool is that it comes complete with a variety of threads for both ends so that you can easily attach it to a variety of connection points.
The hose itself is insulated with five layers to ensure optimal energy efficiency. It also comes complete with an energy-saving thermostat that can eat this hose to withstand temperatures down to negative 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
In terms of functionality, this is by far the best of the three hoses we looked at today in our opinion.
There you have it folks, everything you need to know about keeping that RV water hose from freezing, effective ways to unfreeze your hose, and some of the best heated water hose options that we felt deserved a mention. You can always make a DIY hose or just opt to buy a heated water hose (which is what we ended up doing).