While RVing is often equated with warm, summertime weather, many RVers love to enjoy their rig during the winter months. Winter camping in an RV can be an immensely rewarding experience, but it also comes with its own set of challenges that have to be prepared for.
Winter weather means below-freezing temperatures, and one of the most common problems people face are frozen freshwater hoses. If you plan on staying at RV parks and being connected to a water hookup, you’ll have to take a few extra steps to ensure that your hose doesn’t freeze – especially if it’s being left connected overnight.
The simplest solution to this problem is investing in a quality, heated RV water hose. Let’s look at some details as well as the top brands currently on the market. You’ll be ready for some winter camping in no time!
- What is a Heated RV Water Hose?
- Do I Need a Heated Water Hose for My RV?
- What to Look for When Buying an RV Hose Heater
- Top 3 Best Heated RV Water Hoses on the Market
- DIY Water Line Freeze Protection
- Don’t Forget to Winterize the Rest of Your RV
- RV Heated Hose FAQ
- Conclusion: Is Buying a Heated RV Water Hose Worth It?
What is a Heated RV Water Hose?
A heated water hose is exactly how it sounds. Normal RV water hoses are made of UV resistant polyurethane materials that make them safe for drinking water. They come in a variety of sizes ranging from 10 feet up to 100+ feet, perfect for any application your RV might need.
Basic RV hoses do not come with any insulation. This is their major pitfall, as using them in sub-freezing temperatures will undoubtedly result in a frozen water line. When connected to the water source at an RV park, your water sits stagnant inside the hose until it’s ready to be used. This lack of movement makes it quite susceptible to freezing.
Luckily, a heated RV water hose mitigates this issue. These hoses consist of a normal polyurethane hose that has been wrapped in a heated coil. On top of this, the hose is wrapped in insulative material. When temperatures drop, simply plug in the heating element to your electrical outlet and your hose will become completely winterized.
Do I Need a Heated Water Hose for My RV?
Purchasing a heated water hose seems like a no brainer as you can still use the hose in warmer temperatures (just unplug the heated coil). However, these hoses come at a significantly higher price tag than a standard RV hose, so you may be wondering if you really need one.
For example, a normal unheated 25 foot hose can be purchased for around $20-30. A heated one, on the other hand, could be $100-200. This is a massive difference in price, so it may be worth analyzing the various factors that warrant needing a heated RV water hose. Let’s check them out.
RV Parks versus Boondocking
Examining the style of your RV use is the first step in determining whether you need a heated hose. A water hose is only required in the first place if you intend to spend time at an RV park. If you pursue full-time rv living at an RV park year-round, or just visit for weekends, you’ll need to connect to their water hookups.
Boondockers, on the other hand, do not require a consistent water hookup and therefore do not need a hose. While they may utilize a hose to fill their tanks, this is a short time frame where water doesn’t remain stagnant, so a heated hose is not required.
Climate and Temperatures
Once you’ve determined if you’ll be using water hookups, reviewing the climate and the time of year where you’ll be staying is crucial.
Be sure to always check the low temperature at night. This is when it will be the coolest. If it plans to drop below freezing or gets close at any point, investing in a heated RV hose is necessary. Additionally, don’t just rely on the current forecast. Always check the overall monthly temperatures from a weather record source. You’d hate to be caught out in a warm front that quickly turns cool!
What to Look for When Buying an RV Hose Heater
Decided that you need a heated RV water hose? Keep in mind that not all heated hoses are created equal. There’s an endless amount of differences between them, and some are rated for much more extreme weather than others. Some also come with advanced features that you may or may not need, and you also want to ensure the sizing is correct.
You want to make sure you’re getting the most adequate hose for your application, while not going overboard and spending more money than you need to. Here are the five things to look for when purchasing heated water hoses:
- Temperature Rating
- Temperature Control
- Length, Diameter, and Connection Size
- Power Draw
The minimum temperature that a heated hose can withstand is the most important factor in your purchase. Every hose comes with a minimum temperature value. Ideally, you want to pick something that can handle at least 10 degrees less than what the temperature of your camping location will be. This helps to accommodate for any variation in the hose’s rating.
Most quality heated hoses come with a temperature rating of at least -20 degrees Fahrenheit. This should be plenty for any application, unless you plan on RVing in the arctic (good luck to you!). Avoid cheap off brands with much higher ratings, as these will be much more susceptible to freezing.
Many heated RV water hoses come with a self-regulating heating cable. These hoses are equipped with an energy-saving thermostat that will automatically turn off the heating element when temperatures rise above a pre-determined level.
This is an extremely convenient feature as you will automatically consume less energy. You won’t have to worry about unplugging your heated coil when it gets warm, only to forget to plug it back in when temperatures drop.
Heated RV water hoses are made with a variety of materials. When making your purchase, ensure that you’re buying a drinking water safe hose. Not all hoses are rated for human consumption, so always be sure to double check.
Ensure that the inner tube plastic is BPA free, lead free, and is made of NSF 61 certified drinking water material. Choosing a hose with these characteristics will make sure you stay healthy, and that the water won’t have a bad taste.
It’s also worth considering the durability of the hose’s exterior. Water hoses can be easily run over and dug up when shoveling snow. Purchasing a water hose with higher quality materials promotes a longer lifespan on your investment.
Hose Length, Diameter and Connection Size
Sizing on heated water hoses can differ widely. Based on the RV park you’re staying at and the intricacies of your rig, you need to make sure the hose your purchasing will be compatible. The three distinct sizing categories are:
- Length: A RV water hose will normally come as either 25, 50, or 100+ feet in length. Have a rough idea of how much hose you need, and always make sure you have enough in case the water spigot is located on the opposite side of your rig then you’re used to.
- Diameter: The diameter of your hose determines both connection size, and the water flowing capacity. Common sizes include 1/2”, 5/8”, or 7/16”.
- Connection Size: RVs standardly use a 1/2” water hose connection. If your hose has a custom diameter, you may have to buy accessory adaptors to convert connection sizes.
Because the heating element inside the heated RV water hose is electric, it will require a certain amount of amperage to use. If hooking up to an RV park, they normally have a GFCI protected outlet lcoated on the utility panel. You can plug your heated hose into this so that you don’t sacrifice any amperage to your RV.
However, if the panel does not have this, you will need to plug your hose into another electrical connection, and knowing the amperage draw can be very beneficial.
Top 3 Best Heated RV Water Hoses on the Market
There are a wide assortment of heated water hose options out there, but a few brands in particular are most popular in the RV community. Below we’ll list the top three heated RV water hoses and the specifications of each product. Most brands have a very similar offering, but each have their own slight differences that might make them a superior option for different people.
Camco TastePURE Heated Drinking Water Hose
Camco has been a staple in the RV industry for years. They make quality, affordable products and offer an impressive warranty. The Camco TastePURE is easily the top selling heated RV water hose for sale today.
The Camco TastePURE is manufactured with lead free and BPA materials, includes a energy saving thermostat, and comes with a female to male adapter that allows water hookup connections at either ends of the hose. This heated drinking water hose comes in a few different sizes and temperature ratings, all at different price points.
Camco TastePURE Heated Drinking Water Hose with Thermostat
|12 Feet||25 Feet||50 Feet|
|-20 Degrees F||$38.04||$90.51||$120.32|
|-40 Degrees F||$92.40||$159.87||$265.00|
NoFreeze Water Hose
The NoFreeze heated water hose is easily the most premium product listed here. This water hose is manufactured for commercial use, but made available to consumers, and the quality is top-notch.
NoFreeze is the only hose that is made of a waterproof thermal foam seal and an outer braid polyester monofilament. They don’t mess around with thermostats, instead choosing to focus on a self-regulating heating cable. Additionally, all of their hoses are rated accurately at -30 degrees Fahrenheit.
NoFreeze is priced exceptionally higher than other hose brands because of the quality they offer, and pricing is dependent on hose length.
|NoFreeze Water Hose|
|15 Feet x 3/4”||$259|
|25 Feet x 3/4”||$359|
|35 Feet x 3/4”||$439|
|50 Feet x 3/4”||$549|
|75 Feet x 3/4”||$929|
|100 Feet x 3/4”||$1279|
Scilulu Heated Water Hose
Scilulu specializes in a longer heated water hose for an affordable price. They’re 100-foot hose comes in at just $159.99, and has many of the same properties and features of other brands.
Their RV water hose is made of lead and BPA free materials, and is guaranteed to not contain any strange smells or tastes. Through product R&D they have developed a hose that goes through a compression tube machine, meaning it will be virtually immune to cracks and leaks. In fact, Scilulu’s warranty guarantees three years of use. Additionally, it features a standard 1/2” connector at the end of the hose so attaching to your RV will be an easy operation.
DIY Water Line Freeze Protection
After looking at some of the prices of a heated RV water hose, you might be wondering if you could do it yourself more affordably. Fortunately, you can! Like all DIY projects, the more effort and care you put into it, the better results you will obtain. Cutting corners with winterzing your water hose will likely lead to freezing.
By investing in high quality materials and insulating the water hose 100%, your DIY project will be a success. So, how exactly do you go about this?
Using a Heat Cable and Insulation
The most efficient way of creating your own heated RV water hose is by purchasing heated cabling, pipe wrap insulation, and some insulating tape.
First, buy a roll of heated cable that will adequately cover the length of your water hose. Remember, you need to wrap the heated cable in a spiral motion down the hose, so make sure you buy enough cable to account for this. Once the cable is installed, completely wrap the hose and cable in insualtive pipe foam – the thicker the better. Reflective pipe wrap is the best option rather than traditional pipe foam that you can buy in four foot sections.
Finally, completely seal everything up with reflective insulation tape. This will not only keep everything neat and compact, but it will offer some additional protection against colder temperatures as well.
Is Making Your Own Heated Water Hose Worth it?
Creating your own heated RV water hose is really only worth it if you intend on keeping your RV stationary for longer periods of time. An insulation wrapped pipe can not coil up as easily as a commercially produced one, so if you’re planning on moving your RV frequently it might be easier to purchase one.
While the price of a DIY heated water hose is certainly cheaper, it isn’t massively so. For a 25 foot hose you should expect to pay around $75 for quality materials that will properly prevent your water from freezing. This is only around 50-75% of the cost of a warranty backed hose. However, if you already own a hose that isn’t heated, it may make sense to insulate it yourself so that you don’t have two separate water hoses.
Don’t Forget to Winterize the Rest of Your RV
If you’re planning on RVing in colder climates, purchasing a heated RV water hose is just one step in the winterizing process. If this is the only action you take, you will likely end up with frozen water fixtures within the RV itself.
Utilizing a heated water hose only offers freeze protection from your RV’s fresh water connection point to the water hookup. Everything else, from the fresh water tank to the faucet will require some additional attention.
Using a Tank Heater on Your Water Supply
Once the heated fresh water enters your holding tank, you will need a way to keep it above freezing. While some RV’s have a heated undercarriage that prevents this, most do not. A great solution for this is a tank heater pad.
These pads are relatively affordable – around $25 – and self adhere to the outside of your tank. They require 12V electricity, so you’ll need to wire it into your existing electrical components. They also normally feature self regulating thermostats so that the heated pads are not constantly running.
Insulate Internal RV Plumbing
Within your RV itself you’ll need to take action to prevent the internal pipes from freezing. Cheap pipe insulation that can be purchased at your local hardware store is the perfect option for this. These internal pipes don’t need much, as long as you’re consistently using your RV throughout the day and keeping it at a warm temperature.
Let Your Faucets Slowly Drip
If you have to RV in cold temps or are enduring a cold front, allowing your faucets to slowly drip is an excellent method at preventing freezing. Keep in mind however that this is not foolproof, and you’ll still need to take all of the other steps outlined here. Frozen pipes can easily burst, leading to expensive repairs and permanent water damage that will affect the integrity of the RV, so it’s imperative to winterize correctly.
Keep the RV Warm
Finally, keeping your RV at an above freezing ambient temperature is an excellent way to prevent internal freezing. By setting your furnace thermostat at just 40 degrees when you leave, you can easily prevent freezing in the first place. When home, you can also place electric heaters near crucial plumbing in your RV, like the bathroom, for added security.
RV Heated Hose FAQ
How long do heated hoses last?
Quite a few factors affect the lifespan of heated hoses in the course of operation such as weather, environment, usage, etc. Assuming that you don’t take things to the extreme, your heated hose for RV is going to last through a couple of years. Still, for good measure, you should take a look at your hose every now and then. That would help you avoid getting stuck in the middle of nowhere as winter arrives with a damaged heated hose.
How much electricity does a heated hose use?
In general, the consumption rate changes from model to model but the longer the hose, the more electricity it uses. On average, a 25-foot heated hose uses around 180 watts and the consumption rate of a 50-foot heated hose is 360 watts.
What is the best heated hose for RV?
Different RVers look for different things in heated hoses and that is why the best RV heated hose to someone may appear mediocre to others. The Camco 22911 is the best overall heated water hose suggested by many RV experts.
How to use a heated RV hose?
The setup process of heated water hoses for RV is a no-brainer. All you have to do is secure each end of your hose to the water source and the tank then proceed to plug it in. As long as it receives electricity, heated hoses would ensure that water flows into your rig without being frozen in low temperatures.
Conclusion: Is Buying a Heated RV Water Hose Worth It?
If you have any plans to take your RV winter camping, or you live year-round at an RV park in a colder climate, investing in a heated rv water hose is an absolute must. Fresh water freezes much faster than you’d think, especially when it’s sitting stagnant in a hose waiting to be used.
By purchasing a heated water hose, you’ll be able to enjoy all of the plumbing in your RV without ever worrying that it’s going to freeze – so long as you take other winterizing measures as well.
This guide provided you with everything you needed to know about purchasing a quality heated hose for your RV. Armed with this information, you’ll be able to RV longer into the season, avoid the crowds, and enjoy everything the great outdoors has to offer during the winter months. Enjoy!