Winter RV Camping Must-Have: Heated Water Hose

The winter camping season is upon us and it’s time to get prepared for the freezing cold temperatures. One of the best things you can invest in for winter camping adventures is a heated RV water hose.

I hate that first hard freeze of winter. If I’m lucky enough to get a warning, I fill my freshwater tank and disconnect from the RV park water connection. It’s such a hassle! But I can avoid it and stay warm inside with a heated RV water hose. This is a winter RV camping must-have for any RVer.

A heated RV water hose will give you safe drinking water even when temperatures dip below freezing. These hoses cost over $100 depending mostly on length but will save you a lot in frozen pipes and related issues.

Heated water hose © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A heated water hose has a heat strip along the side of the hose that heats up when plugged into a 110-volt electrical connection. Made with food-grade materials, a heated RV water hose comes in several lengths. Rated for use in temperatures down to -40 degrees Fahrenheit, plug it into a 110-volt outlet at the utility pedestal. It stays on to prevent a frozen water hose. The material remains flexible down to -20 degrees, making it easy to coil and store. A 25-foot hose typically uses about 2.5 kWh of electricity daily and will cost about 25¢ daily to keep water flowing to your RV in the coldest of temperatures.

Heated water hose © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

How heated RV water hoses work

Heated water hoses have long heat strips that run along their length. These prevent water from freezing when it travels through the tube. These hoses need to be plugged into electrical outlets to function and they have a variety of sizes and energy requirements.

Heated water hoses are an essential piece of gear for anyone who plans to use their RV in cold areas. You always need to be sure that your sinks, showers, and toilets are working when you’re living in an RV.

Heated water hose © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Important things to know about heated water hoses

When you’re looking at buying a heated hose for your RV there are a few things you should know. Overall these hoses are pretty simple pieces of equipment but there are a couple of little quirks and tips you should know before you look into getting one for yourself.

Before I get to anything else, it’s important to recognize that these hoses aren’t an unnecessary product or something that only luxury rigs need. Frozen hoses and pipes can cause serious damage to RVs that can affect them in the long and short term.

Heated water hose © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Certainly, it’s won’t be fun if your water supply freezes. You won’t be able to use water for the kitchen or bathroom and you can forget about having a hot shower. But much worse damage can happen if you don’t have the right equipment and properly maintain it.

If the pipes, holding tanks, or hoses in your RV freeze with water inside them, the ice can expand and cause permanent damage to the infrastructure of your RV. Burst pipes, flooding, and leaking are nothing to take lightly and they are not easy to fix.

But if you’re careful and choose a quality heated water hose you can prevent these problems before they start. Let’s look at some of the requirements for heated hoses and what you can do to keep them in good shape.

Heated water hose © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Make outlets available

First of all, you will need an electrical outlet to use a heated water hose. They run on electricity after all, so they won’t be able to do their jobs if they’re not connected to a power source. There is a range of different heated water hoses but they require access to a standard-issue 110-volt electrical connection.

Heated water hose © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Choose the appropriate hose length

I mentioned earlier that heated hoses come in a variety of lengths. This range of options can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on the camping areas you visit. A hose that’s too long can be awkward to set up and maneuver. They’re also more likely to get tangled in knots or get in the way at your campsite.

On the other hand, hoses that are too short can be dangerous to mess with. If you have to stretch your hose out to reach the water outlet, you’ll be putting a strain on it that can damage the hose material and heat strips. Leaks are much more likely to pop up if you’re using a hose that’s too short. Further, your water hose may not reach the utility box, period.

Heated water hose © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

To resolve this, it’s sometimes best to buy more than one length of heated hose. Having a couple of options will help you choose the best one for your situation plus you’ll have a backup if one of them becomes non-functional. If you are winter camping in one site for the entire season it may be best to delay the purchase of a heated hose until you arrive at your camping site. This way you will be certain of the hose length you require.

Be aware that having a heated hose does not ensure that the rest of your water system will be safe from subzero temperatures. You may need to take additional precautions to prevent freezing and damage in the other parts of your water system.

Heated water hose © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The water tap and metal connections on either end of the water hose are often vulnerable as are the holding tanks for your freshwater and wastewater. If the RV has an enclosed underbelly with a heating system, that will prevent freezing in most cases. You can also apply heat tape to the vulnerable areas to keep them protected and warm.

Your entire water system has to stay in a liquid form to do its job. Heated hoses are great but they still can’t do everything. Help them out by adding protection to all the pieces of your winter waterworks.

Heated water hose © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Store your heated hose when not in use

Heated hoses are vital parts of the winter kit in your RV. As such, you need to keep them in good condition and maintain them throughout the year. So when the weather starts to warm up, don’t just pitch the hose into a storage bay.

Most heated hoses come with packaging and storage cases for when they’re not in use. Carefully coil the hose when spring arrives and store it in its case. If you take good care of your heated water hose you’ll be able to use it for many more winters.

Heated water hose © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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Worth Pondering…

My parents live in the part of the United States that is Canada. It is so far north that Minnesota lies in the same direction as Miami. They have four distinct seasons: Winter, More Winter, Still More Winter, and That One Day of Summer.

—W. Bruce Cameron