How cold does it have to be for RV pipes to freeze?

In this article, we will discuss the following: How cold does it have to be for RV pipes to freeze? We will explain why it is essential to protect the RV pipes from freezing and prevent, protect and defrost RV pipes. 

How cold does it have to be for RV pipes to freeze?

The coldest temperature for RV pipes to freeze is 32 F (or a temperature below 0ºC) for a long time. Here are a few essentials to consider for protecting your RV pipes in winter:

  • All circuits that carry water must be drained: tanks, pipes, pumps, air conditioning. 
  • Clean water systems with antifreeze and leave taps running to increase effectiveness. Do a chlorine cleaning in the water tank, rinse it well, and be ready for its subsequent use.
  • If you have full butane gas bottles, you should leave them well protected not to freeze.
  • Slightly tilt the RV to protect the pipes from freezing. When you park the vehicle in any area, it is recommended that you leave it tilted so that the water from the drains goes to the waste tank, so that it does not stagnate in the pipes.

It is essential to do this, especially in wintertime, which is when due to low temperatures, the water can freeze, preventing the use of the washbasin, sink or shower the next day.

This recommendation is not so easy to comply with, because when it is winter, sometimes the motorhome parking lots are not in the best condition for parking vehicles, since the ground can be snowy, wet and the levelling wedges can slip.

Therefore, we insist, in winter, look for an area that has a certain slope. Even so, leaving the vehicle with a certain inclination, the shower drain may be better, but the proper slope for the sink could be impaired, so you yourself must see which is the ideal point for your motorhome, in order that you do not run out of water.

Why tilting your RV is the best solution against pipes freezing.

Some think that by lining the outer pipes of the drain with insulators used in plumbing, the freezing of the water can be avoided, but this is not the case, since the intended results are not obtained, because many times, depending on the low temperatures, the water ends up freezing, so we insist that nothing like parking the vehicle with a certain unevenness.

There are even occasions when motorhome drains, in normal weather conditions, slowly swallow the water, before which it is advisable to modify the unevenness or fall of these.

There are also situations in which the water does not flow through the same tube, due to the fact that they have a small rise, a place where the water freezes in winter, which can be repaired in the garage at home, working under the same motorhome.

If you are one of those who usually go on an excursion with a motorhome in the middle of winter, we recommend that before starting the trip you check the unevenness of the tubes, since the sooner you do it, the cleaner the lower part of the motorhome will be and You will be able to see if the inclination is correct or if it is necessary to change a section of pipe.

It is suggested to leave the outlet of the wastewater tank open, and put a bucket underneath, because if the tap is left closed, the water may freeze, which will come out again when the ambient temperature is better.

If the residual water tank is full and the stopcock is closed, it may happen that the tap breaks, or that a crack is registered in the tube, since the water, when freezes, increases in volume. In this situation, the stopcock should be left open.

Protecting the facets of your RV from freezing

There is still more to learn about water in motorhomes, such as knowing that before going to bed, it is necessary to empty the taps, so that the water does not freeze. This way, neither the pipes nor the taps will burst.

To do this, you must disconnect the non-submerged or submerged pump of the vehicle (depending on the one you have), from the control panel, that is, the button that sets the water pump in motion; then it will be necessary to open the taps from where a little amount of water will come out that was in the pipes. With this simple action, it is more than enough to avoid headaches.

How to prevent RV pipes from freezing?

To prevent RV pipes from freezing, experts recommend several steps: open the taps from time to time, leave a small drip that will prevent the water from freezing inside pipes and pipes, and have to locate the stopcock to check for water leaks. or broken pipes. 

In addition, in single-family homes with irrigation systems, they recommend emptying the pipes and, for those located outside buildings, protecting them with specific material to insulate the pipes from the cold. In case, if you do not have specific materials, any newspaper, insulating tape or cardboard is good to reduce the impact of the cold on the pipes and tubes.

Protect the counters: The counters also need to ‘bundle up’ so that they do not freeze in such low temperatures. “Close the door of the closet where the meter is located, wrap it with wool or newspaper and cover the surrounding pipes with polystyrene or polyurethane foam”, are some of the indications that Canal de Isabel II has given in a video.

Final tips

If there was no time to avoid RV pipes from freezing, the water would stop coming out of the tap. To recover the supply, it is recommended not to defrost them with hot water because they could burst the pipes. In that case, it is appropriate to apply dry heat to both the pipe and the meter. Applying it with a hairdryer is a good option.

Likewise, if it is not going to be used for a long period of time, it is advisable to close the stopcock and empty the inside of the installation.

What are your ways of preventing the Rv pipes from freezing during cold nights and really low temperatures? Please feel free to share your thoughts, comments or tips!

FAQ on How cold does it have to be for RV pipes to freeze?

What to do so that the pipes do not freeze?

So that the pipes do not freeze, a splash of hot and cold water may be all you need to keep the pipes safe. Let the warm water drip overnight, preferably from a faucet on an exterior wall. Keep the thermostat at the same temperature during the day and at night.

How are pipes protected from the cold?

Here are some tips to protect the pipes from the cold:

  1. Wrap the pipes in heating tapes or paper. 
  2. Insulate all water pipes to prevent cold air from entering. 
  3. Insulate and heat drain pipes. 
  4. Let the water run for moments. 

Why is it important to protect water pipes from freezing?

It is important to protect water pipes from freezing because, in cold winter areas, icy pipes can cause a sudden emergency. The frozen water expands and cracks the pipes which, when thawed, lose water through the cracks.

What causes water to burst pipes in winter?

The most common cause why pipes burst in winter is if a pipe full of water is cooled so much that the water freezes, its volume will increase, which will cause pressure on the inside of the metal pipes that, if sufficient, will eventually break the pipe.


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