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How to Keep RV Tanks From Freezing

Updated: Jan 18

Keeping your RV holding tanks in working order might be a challenge in the cold weather. Here are some tips to help you out.


Winterizing RV Pipes and Holding Tanks

How long does it take pipes to freeze on your RV? The exact answer is, 24 hrs in freezing conditions below 32°F. The cold months are here and preventive care for your RV is a must. Follow along as we share how to keep your camper pipes from freezing during the cold months.



Preventing Freezing in RV Holding Tanks and Pipes

The holding tank and pipes in an RV are vulnerable to freezing in cold weather, which can lead to costly damage and a non-functioning water system. To prevent freezing, it is important to properly insulate and heat these areas based on their location. Tanks that sit above floor level will likely be kept warm enough by heaters within the living space, but tanks outside the living space will need additional insulation or heating. Pipes running along the interior of the living space will probably be fine with the heat from a furnace or electric heater, but pipes exposed to the cold outside air will need additional insulation or a heat source.


Key Takeaways:

  • Location of holding tanks and pipes determines how they should be insulated and heated.

  • Tanks above floor level may be kept warm by heaters in living space.

  • Pipes exposed to cold air will need additional insulation or heat source.


Importance of Preventing Freezing in RV Holding Tanks and Pipes

RV Holding Tanks

Properly insulating and heating holding tanks and pipes in an RV is important to prevent costly damage and ensure a functional water system while camping in colder temperatures. By knowing the location of tanks and pipes and using a combination of insulation, heating, and preventative measures, it is possible to prevent freezing and enjoy a comfortable RVing experience in cold weather.


Key Takeaways:

  • Prevents costly damage to RV.

  • Ensures functional water system in cold weather.

  • Allows for a comfortable RVing experience in cold weather.


Steps to Take When Camping in Cold Weather with an RV

RV Water Tanks

When camping in cold weather with an RV, several steps can be taken to prevent freezing in holding tanks and pipes and ensure a comfortable experience. These steps include properly insulating and heating tanks and pipes based on their location, using an RV skirt, purchasing an aftermarket heating system or heating blanket, purchasing a pipe heating cable, and keeping heavy rugs or foam board on the floor to trap heat inside.


Additionally, winterizing black tank and grey tank by adding RV antifreeze, reinforcing sealants on windows and doors, and using window film and reflective foil coverings can all help prevent freezing. By following these steps and using a combination of preventative measures, it is possible to enjoy a successful camping trip in cold weather with an RV.


Key Takeaways:

  • Properly insulate and heat tanks and pipes based on location.

  • Purchase aftermarket heating system, pipe heating cable, rv skirt.

  • Keep heavy rugs or foam board on floor.

  • Reinforce sealants on windows and doors.

  • Use window film and reflective foil coverings.


Avoiding Damage and Dumping Problems in an RV in Cold Weather

RV Water Tanks

In cold weather, it is important to take steps to prevent damage and dumping problems in an RV. This includes being careful about leaving the water hook-up hose and sewer discharge line hooked up in below freezing temperatures, as water can pool in low points and freeze, causing damage or dumping problems. It may be safer to close the gray water valve, rinse the discharge pipe after a dump, shake it out a bit, and stow it until it is needed again. Additionally, filling the freshwater tank and disconnecting the water hook-up hose when temperatures are expected to drop below freezing can help prevent freezing and potential damage.


Key Takeaways:

  • Be careful about leaving water hook-up hose and sewer discharge line hooked up in cold weather.

  • Close grey water valve and rinse discharge pipe after dumping.

  • Fill freshwater tank and disconnect water hook-up hose when temperatures are expected to drop below freezing.

Cold Weather RVing Tips and Tricks

RV Winter Camping

When camping in cold weather with an RV, there are several tips and tricks that can help prevent freezing in holding tanks and pipes and ensure a comfortable experience. These include properly insulating and heating tanks and pipes based on their location, using an RV skirt, purchasing an aftermarket heating system or heating blanket, purchasing a pipe heating cable, and keeping heavy rugs or foam board on the floor to trap heat inside.


Here are some ways to keep your RV holding tanks from freezing:

  1. Use tank heaters! They are devices that can be attached to the bottom of your RV's holding tanks. They use electricity to generate heat, which is then transferred to the contents of the tanks. This helps to prevent the contents from freezing, even in very cold temperatures. Tank heaters are relatively easy to install and can be an effective way to keep your holding tanks from freezing.

  2. Adding insulation to your RV's holding tanks can also help to prevent freezing. This can be done by applying a layer of foam insulation or other materials around the outside of the tanks. This will help to retain heat and prevent the contents of the tanks from freezing. The amount of insulation you will need will depend on the size and type of your tanks, as well as the climate you are in.

  3. Keeping your RV's holding tanks full is another way to prevent freezing. When tanks are only partially full, there is more space for the contents to expand as they freeze, which can cause the tanks to crack or rupture. By keeping your tanks full, you can help to prevent this from happening. It's also a good idea to avoid using your tanks when they are close to empty, as this can put extra strain on the tanks and increase the risk of freezing.


Insulating and Heating Holding Tanks and Pipes in an RV

RV Pipe Insulation

Proper insulation and heating of holding tanks and pipes in an RV is crucial to prevent freezing and ensure a functional water system in cold weather. The location of tanks and pipes in an RV determines the best methods for insulation and heating. Tanks that sit above floor level will likely be kept warm enough by heaters within the living space, while tanks outside the living space will need additional insulation or heating. Pipes that run along the interior of the living space will probably be fine with the heat from a furnace or electric heater, but pipes exposed to the cold outside air will need additional insulation or a heat source.


Here are 3 ways to insulate your pipes and holding tanks:


  1. Insulating Tape - One way to insulate a holding tank and pipes for an RV is to use insulating tape or heat shrink tubing. This can be applied to the outside of the pipes and tank, providing an extra layer of protection against the cold. Insulating tape and heat shrink tubing are easy to install and can be an effective way to prevent freezing of your pipes and holding tank. To use these materials, simply measure the length of the pipes and tank that you want to insulate, cut the insulating tape or heat shrink tubing to size, and apply it to the surface.

  2. Foam Insulation - Another way to insulate a holding tank and pipes for an RV is to use foam insulation. This can be applied directly to the pipes and tank, providing a more substantial layer of insulation. Foam insulation is more durable and effective than insulating tape or heat shrink tubing, but it may be more difficult to install. To use foam insulation, you will need to cut it to size and apply it to the surface using a foam gun or other applicator.

  3. Rubber or silicone-based insulation - A third way to insulate a holding tank and pipes for an RV is to use a rubber or silicone-based insulation material. These materials are flexible and can be easily applied to the surface of the holding tank and pipes. They are also durable and resistant to water, making them well-suited for use in an RV. To use rubber or silicone-based insulation materials, simply measure the length of the pipes and tank that you want to insulate, cut the material to size, and apply it to the surface using an adhesive or fasteners.

Conclusion

By properly insulating and heating tanks and pipes based on their location, it is possible to prevent freezing and maintain a functional water system in cold weather. Enjoy your time during winter.





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