Imagine living in an RV or trailer with clear sparkling snow all around you. Soothing right? This is the exact picture and experience of winter camping.
Just like humans get prepared to resist cold and avoid falling ill in such a chilly wintery breeze, our RVs also require some care and preparation to function in such low temperatures.
Extremely low temperature freezes the water running through the pipes and system. Ice expands in such weather and causes cracking or burst of the pipes.
Freeze pipes are a common challenge while traveling in winter. This leads to damage to the plumbing system. Flowing or running water is a need for camping.
This is most likely to happen in the RVs in which pipes run under the RV exposed through the underbelly of the RV.
There are certain conditions under which pipes freeze. Pipes freeze on a course of 24 hours at 32 or below 32 F temperature.
In this article, we have all possible methods to prevent your pipes from freezing and how to repair pipes that are damaged?
Letâ€™s get started, shall we?
How To Keep RV Pipes From Freezing While Camping?
You donâ€™t need to be constantly worried about keeping the pipes from freezing. Itâ€™s not that difficult. All you need to do is take some precautions and get some insulation installed beforehand.
Water freezing in pipes is natural, but dealing with these can be a mammoth task for us sometimes.
These methods will help you in combating the problem correctly and assured.
1. Install Insulation Around And Bottom Of Your RV
This step is a pre-requisite for winter camping, getting your RV and itâ€™s base insulated properly. Insulation in the base will provide a nice block of cold winter winds from damaging RV pipes.
Installing RV skirting around the base will help in blocking wind blowing underneath your RV can cause water tanks to freeze and keep heat inside. This will also block cold winds from damaging the vehicleâ€™s components and chilling the interior.
Foam boards can also be used with or instead of skirting to better insulate the base of your RV. Contact a professional contractor who can apply closed-cell spray foam insulation.
Installing a propane heater along with the skirting will add heat to the base and your RV floors as well. Propane heaters do not work without insulating skirting around.
Take extra precautionary measures while dealing with propane heaters for fire safety. Even the most efficient propane heaters give out heat flames sometimes.
2. Use Heat Tapes On Pipes And Hoses Or Tank Heating Pads
Wrapping your freshwater hose and sewer hose with heat strips will keep the pipes warm and prevent freezing. Applying heat tapes around valves and connections most at risk of freeze-ups will also help.
You can also add foam insulation for extra protection around the pipes.
Installing a heating pad around the tank or the pipes will also be effective in keeping the cold away. Tank heating pads are a series of small electrical resistors that generate a mild amount of heat.
Most of them come with a built-in thermostat which you can turn on at night and turn off according to the temperature or your requirement.
3. Keep Your Internal Plumbing Warm
Ensuring internal warmth of the plumbing system is an extra precaution we add To our efforts of keeping the pipes from freezing.
We can try to ensure to keep the bathrooms and sink warm by opening the doors of the bathroom so that the heat in the living area can get into the bathroom as well. Using a normal room heater also helps.
4. Keep The Water Flowing
This may sound impractical but it has scientific proof to it. The principle theory behind it is running water is much harder to freeze. Allowing a small drop of faucets can also come back freezing by keeping water moving.
We also have to deal with Limited water supplies therefore you will have to keep in mind the stream of the water should be very thin and monitored.
This is practical when you are at a campsite and you have a constant water supply source like external faucets. You don’t have to keep the water running 24×7 this method can be used at night when the temperature drop is extreme.
You might also consider using a heated water hose to transfer water from the external faucet to your freshwater tank. Keep the sewer hose elevated off the ground to avoid contact with ground snow.
5. Use The Internal Freshwater Tank
Consider the following your army tanks internally and avoid as much as possible from connecting it to an external source. This will save your hose and pipes from damage.
If you find refilling your tank manually is hectic, then you might want to consider using a heated hose.
6. Use A Space Heater
Space heaters are also effective in keeping the pipes from freezing if your pipes are not insulated or covered in any form. A small space heater is enough to keep it warm.
Heaters are a bit risky to work around with pipes and electronics. Practice safety precautions by keeping space heaters the appropriate distance away from RV components and vents.
7. Add Antifreeze To The Tanks
This is the most convenient of all methods mentioned above. Adding a small amount of antifreeze in water holding tanks can protect the valves from freezing. It is also important to add antifreeze to gray and black tanks as well.
How To Repair a Frozen Pipe Of RV?
Taking all precautions will undoubtedly keep your RV pipes from freezing but what to do if it still freezes? There are many easy hacks to keep your pipes running and working.
- Take a hair blower and hover it over it until it melts completely. Any other heat source would also work.
- Just check that the temperature is not too high. PVC pipes melt at 140 degrees.
- Using antifreeze will prevent your pipes from freezing but it will not help in mending frozen pipes.
- Thawing is the key step to repair or prevent damage to your pipes if acted upon quickly.
- Check if your heat tape is working properly from time to time.
- If your heat tape doesnâ€™t heat up in 10 minutes then itâ€™s faulty.
- Pouring hot water or saltwater will help in thawing your pipes.
- Repeat pouring hot water down the pipes will ensuring complete thawing.
- Dump your wastewater tanks wisely.
- It takes around 30-45 minutes to repair a frozen pipe.
Frozen and cracked pipes can cause you serious damage, convenience, and cost you a fortune for repair if the damage is too high. Taking all the precautions needed will ensure you have flowing water all the time. Your actions will ensure your convenience on your winter trip.
Let us know if any of these help you with your trip. Also, share any more suggestions you have. We would love to hear those.
Until then happy camping!