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How to Keep an RV Water Hose from Freezing

So it happening. Fall is here, and Winter is coming!

A little prep for winter will go a long way. The water hose is a critical part of getting water into your RV. Read on to learn to how to keep it from freezing.

Keeping your water hose from freezing is a simple matter of small pieces of maintenance, and potentially adding some hardware to the exterior of your RV. Either way, we can help you maintain a good, functioning hose system.

Heated water hose for your RV

If you want to save some time, and are looking for the best way to keep your hose from freezing, then read on to our article on Thermostatically controlled water hoses. This will save you the most time and headaches.

Heating Cables

Heating cables are indeed a thing. Heating cables look like bigger extension cables. Instead, these cables heat up when they detect the hose is getting too cold. The result is an electric powered heat blanket for your hose.

Most heating cables are simple and mostly automatic. Some come with a button to turn the feature on and off, and in part because sometimes you don’t need to use the electric to heat the hose.

These are a great addition to your RV’s water lines and are usually relatively cheap depending on your hose length. A heating cable doesn’t need to be removed during the summer, either.

Heating Tape

Heating tape can be a very good start if your climate doesn’t get especially cold. Heating tape effectively insulates like electrical tape. The difference here is that heating tape is a bit more work and involves wrapping every inch of our hose.

You can also combine heating tape with the heating cable, because something has to hold that heating cable on right! A heating cable with heating tape will take a little while to install, but are worth it for the peace of mind of being able to get freshwater to and from when you need it.

Heating tape is definitely cheap assurance.

Insulation Tubes

Don’t quite need heating cables? Insulation tubes can help too. Insulation tubes can be wrapped around the hose or simply slide on when the hose is disconnected. Some of these are open ended, so use heating tape to seal and tighten them.

Insulation tubing can be highly effective and cheaper than a heating cable. Insulation tubing is “always on” though it might not necessarily get as warm as the cable.

Insulation tubing can be found at just about any hardware store or RV supply center.

RV Skirting

Rather than modifying just the hose, you can make a small addition to your RV that can be quite helpful. RV skirting involves air filled tubes around your RV, especially near hoses and critical areas.

RV skirting helps stablize temperatures and keep everything a bit warmer. The process generally involves placing the tubes under and around the RV, then inflating them with a small compressor. The tubes stay in place under the RV when it’s not moving and keep cold air from entering underneath the RV and freezing hoses.

RV skirting can also help keep the whole RV warm as it keeps cold air from circulating into the RV in general.

RV skirting will cost a bit more, but is effective at helping the entire RV heating process instead. You might save a bit on gas heating or generally be warmer with an RV skirt.

How cold can RV hoses get?

You probably know that the freezing point for water is 32 degrees. Before overnight lows start to get this chilly, you should take some of the options above and start to work on your hose. These protections don’t need to start on year round though you certainly have the option to keep them on. 

The hose nor connections will be harmed by extra insulation – and heat doesn’t bother rubber.

Hoses that get colder than 32 degrees will freeze faster and take longer to thaw out. North American climates don’t generally produce temperatures capable of making a rubber hose crack.

If it’s getting too cold already…

If you need to temporarily unfreeze your hose enough to get water flowing, then do one of our recommendations, there are a few days to unfreeze your hose.

First, and this might be obvious, but don’t use an open flame. An open flame can melt the hose and hurt you. 

Instead use hot towels, a hair dryer, a space heater if inside, or a heat lamp. Some hardware stores sell “heat guns” which are basically large hot glue guns that can direct good heat toward your hoses. You’ll want to wrap hot towels around the hose and aim the hair dryer directly at the hose itself.

First, try to disconnect the hose from the tanks. If the hose is frozen and cannot be disconnected, direct your heat toward the connections first. When they are warm enough, remove them and apply the same kind of heat toward the rest of the hose.

Once water starts spilling out of the hose, you’ll know you’ve done enough though continuing to apply heat until you are ready for a different solution will also help.


A frozen hose is not a good thing to wake up to when you are trying to get water in your RV. Our steps outline some basic maintenance for your RV and hose to prevent the rubber from freezing or having water trapped inside in an icycle. 

Having flowing water is pretty important in an RV, especially if you are doing off the grid camping. Non frozen water is also less likely to cause issues within your hose and the rest of your water lines.

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