Using heat tape on RV water hose

The friendliest place on the web for anyone with an RV or an interest in RVing!
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.

Phil Hyde

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 5, 2011
Posts
654
Location
United States
I saw this "how to" linked elsewhere and basically followed the same instructions.  Many of these recommendations have been made on this forum as well.

http://redneckexpress.blogspot.com/2010/11/building-heated-water-connection.html

I chose to cover my hose in aluminum foil first (recommended on the package for plastic pipes).

To all those who have used a heat tape product like Easy Heat or Frost King, do you place the thermostat on the camp site water pipe, or on the RV hose itself?

Thanks in advance...
 
I did not want to have my 120 vac receptacle out in the weather and next to the parks water supply faucet. So, the sensor end of my heat tape is wrapped around the parks supply faucet and the heat tape end with the plug ends up under the RV and plugged into a receptacle that is tucked up under the RV. On extremely cold nights we also turn on the kitchen faucet (just above dripping) and leave the grey water dump valve open; as instructed by the park manager.
 
The heat tapes we have on our water risers use so little power (1 or 2 watts each) that we didn't bother with the additional complexity of a thermostat.  We just leave them on when the overnight temps might dip below freezing.  We also keep about a half tank of fresh water on board at all times so we just disconnect and drain the hose if it's going to freeze.  No need to heat the hose that way.
 
Attached is a photo of the cable I'm using, which has a built-in thermostat.  I wasn't sure if the thermostat button should be on the park stand pipe, or on the RV hose.  I currently have that end installed near the city water connection (actually near my regulator).

I'm guessing if I don't affix the thermostat to a pipe or hose, then the cable will be under constant heat...?

Since you guys brought it up, the idea of leaving the dump valves open has me puzzled.  Is that so they don't freeze shut?  We never leave the valves open and only dump when the tanks are full.
 

Attachments

  • easyheat.jpg
    easyheat.jpg
    25.8 KB · Views: 47
In cold weather, we don't do anything different with the drain hoses and valves.  Gray stays open and black shut, except for the once a week emptying.  This is when we're parked for an extended time.  If we're traveling in cold weather we still don't do anything different, but we try to avoid those times :)
 
Phil Hyde said:
Attached is a photo of the cable I'm using, which has a built-in thermostat.  I wasn't sure if the thermostat button should be on the park stand pipe, or on the RV hose.  I currently have that end installed near the city water connection (actually near my regulator).

I'm guessing if I don't affix the thermostat to a pipe or hose, then the cable will be under constant heat...?

Since you guys brought it up, the idea of leaving the dump valves open has me puzzled.  Is that so they don't freeze shut?  We never leave the valves open and only dump when the tanks are full.

Phil,
Your heat tape looks similar to ours.  I would attach the thermostat to the pipe because the pipe may be warmer than the air temperatures. The ground and the water coming up from the supply line is in the 50? F range and the air temperatures may be much colder. You do not want the heat tape calling for heat if it isn?t needed. (According to our heat tape instructions, it is supposed to be used on metal pipe and is not to be insulated with foam tube type insulation. I broke both of those rules and do not want to melt any of it.) We are camped at 8,000 feet above sea level and evening temperatures can easily drop into the single digits. When cold weather is called for the park workers open the silcocks of all the vacant campsites. We are expected to safeguard our own sites and because we are working we cannot afford to be froze up.
The grey water dump valve is open because we don?t wish to flood the RV. (Yes. It has happened to our neighbors.) Our dump valves are located up above the belly liner and the belly liner is insulated. It would have to stay cold for a few days before I would worry about freezing them in that location; although we keep antifreeze at hand.
Supply valve protection: Another reason the water runs all evening to keep the park water supply lines from freezing and breaking. They just hate having to dig up the camp-site to replace the pipe and silcocks. We purchased a small Rubbermaid storage container and cut out part of its bottom. This bin is placed over the supply pipe, silcock and water pressure regulator; our hose comes up from beneath through the hole we cut out. We then we pour in some gravel to hold it in place. Snap on the bin cover and the whole kit and caboodle is protected but easily accessed.
Happy Kamping!
 
Thanks, Kamper Dave.  Sounds like I need to re-configure my setup to have the thermostat on the supply pipe.  Funny thing is, I installed it like that the first time but it didn't seem right.  I guess I didn't think it through.  Now I get to re-do it again.  :p

I had not thought about leaving the valves open in case of a flood.  Presumably from a cracked water line?

Anti-freeze.  Good reminder for me to pick some up.

My solution for protecting the camp water supply is to hang a trouble light (75-watt bulb) inside a 5 gallon bucket which is placed upside down on the spigot.  Does that sound like enough ambient heat to protect the camp spigot?  I like the idea of a rubbermaid tote, but I needed something quite tall to cover the spigot when the handle is opened (upward).
 
Here at our RV park we have a lot of RVers that stay through the winter. What seems to work the best here is to just let the thermostat float loose in air. What you want is to have the heat tape turn on anytime the air temp gets close to freezing.

Also what works is to put pipe insulation around the hose. Unless you use a commercial heat tape it doesn?t get hot enough to hurt your hose.

In most parks that stay open during the cold month they have their own heat tape on their risers. You don't want the heat from their heat tape affecting when your heat tape turns on and off.

At our park we don't allow guest to leave their water running as a method of freeze protection. We are on wells and septic systems. Having water running all night long will keep our well pumps cycling and will flood our drain fields.
 
warsw said:
At our park we don't allow guest to leave their water running as a method of freeze protection.

That is what the manager of our park recommended, and I just think it's plain wasteful.
 
Phil,
A 75 Watt bulb makes a great heater. I just like keeping water away from electricity.

It is amazing the heat you can get from a light bulb. There are no open furnace ducts in our basement, so we used to hang two 60 watt bulbs in the basement controlled by one of that LUX in line thermostats set for 45?F. We monitor the basement temperatures with an indoor/ outdoor thermometer. Even with outdoor temperatures down to 12?F or lower the basement would be at 45?F.
KD
 
Kamper Dave said:
A 75 Watt bulb makes a great heater. I just like keeping water away from electricity.

It is amazing the heat you can get from a light bulb. There are no open furnace ducts in our basement, so we used to hang two 60 watt bulbs in the basement controlled by one of that LUX in line thermostats set for 45?F. We monitor the basement temperatures with an indoor/ outdoor thermometer. Even with outdoor temperatures down to 12?F or lower the basement would be at 45?F.
KD

I would imagine a lower bay could get pretty warm with a lightbulb. However, there isn't much airflow.  The thing I will be fighting outside is that the bucket isn't sealed at the bottom.
 
A lot depends on where you park, I'd let the Thermostat hang in free air, or to be more precise, I let the thermostat....

As to heat tape. If you are far enough north, (or to be more precise if the lows get down in teh teens or lower) you need some serious heat, the heat tape would be my recommendation.. I get down into th 20's here so i use rope lights and duct tape.

Just tape the plastic wrapped lamps to the hose.  Since they do not melt the plastic "Rope" they won't damage the hose either.  Work well.. My rope is about 4-5 feet longer than the hose.. Left over for the park's benefit.  The T-Stat and plug are back by the motor home.  (yes I use a Thermostatic outlet adapter)

Plus it looks neat when the lights come on,  Version 1.0 used Tye-Dye duct tape, Since they were out of it when I made version 2.0 (Damage to the rope, my fault, the rope 1.0 was too short and when I tried to extend it I messed it up big time) I used Polka Dot and Rainbow (full roll polkadot, about 1/3 Rainbow)

The bright primary colcors show up boty day and night helping you to trip over the hose or not, as you choose.
 
Thanks John, I had not entertained the idea of a rope light.  Puts out enough heat to keep a line from freezing?  We are in Portland OR at the moment and it's been hovering around freezing at night (wicked wind chill though).  These temps aren't much of a concern now, but I want to be prepared.  Also, we'll be trekking back to Texas this month, and we are likely to encounter colder weather sooner or later.
 

Latest posts

Members online

Forum statistics

Threads
132,423
Posts
1,394,963
Members
138,112
Latest member
Ejroberts46
Back
Top Bottom