Heated RV Water Hose Tape: Best Way To Heat Your Hoses

Best RV Hose Heat Tape 1

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Winter Camping: Why Do It?

Winter RV

RV living in a cold season is far different than the time spent in the warmer months. Living in an RV in the winter months can be a unique and beautiful experience. And not everyone wants to relocate to warmer climates during the winter season.

Many RV enthusiasts are stationary. And many also travel to colder climates to enjoy the snow. Winter RVing has endless opportunities for snowshoeing, ice fishing, and snowboarding. 

The opportunities for adventure are plenty. However, winter camping comes with its own set of challenges. One of the most crucial considerations is keeping your water source flowing in below-freezing temperatures. How can you protect yourself from water freezing during that time of year?

What Is the Best Heat Tape for an RV Water Hose?

The best heat tape for RV water hoses and rv pipes is the Heatit JHSF1-CT Self-Regulating Pre-Assembled Pipe Heating Cable. I have reviewed numerous different products for keeping your RV hoses warm. I have compiled the best products in several categories. 

What Are Heat Tapes?

Heated RV water hoses have heating elements that warm the water inside the hose. The heating elements prevent the hose from freezing in cold temperatures. The heated water hose has a heated cable that runs along the hose.

Some of these hoses also come with a foam pipe that insulates the hose and enhances heat retention. These hoses connect to the RV using a female-to-male adapter. The RV owner must plug these hoses in for them to be functional. The hoses come with a power cord.

Heated RV hoses are pricier than regular hoses. With a heated hose, you pay extra for the convenience. When the temperature drops too low, you must take precautions. These precautions will ensure you continue to have water.

When the weather is freezing, you will have to choose between relying on your freshwater tank or the city water connection. If you want to use the city water connection, you will either need a heated hose or use heat tape. 

Do You Need Heat Tape?

icicles

The heating tape has electrically heated wires preventing RV hoses and plumbing from freezing. They are also called heating cables or heat trace cables. They come in various sizes for use in the US on many plumbing pipes or hoses.

The primary function of a heat tape is to generate heat. This heat then transfers to the pipe or hose, preventing the hose from freezing so you can ensure a steady stream of drinking hose water.

Taking proactive steps can prevent the loss of your water supply. Using heat tapes and heated water hoses is essential. If you stay prepared, you can ensure you have access to water. With proper preparation, you can handle even the harshest winter conditions. 

Considerations Before Buying Heat Tape:

An RV owner must consider several important factors when choosing heat tape. The following are some important considerations: 

Self-Regulating vs. Non-Regulating Heat Tape:

A self-regulating heat tape should be the top choice. Self-regulating heat tape automatically adjusts the heat output based on the temperature outside. The self-regulating feature can save energy and prevent the tape from overheating.

Non-regulating heat tape requires more work. This tape can overheat. This potential for overheating requires that you monitor the tape for signs of overheating. 

Length of Heat Tape:

Heat tape comes in many different lengths. It is essential to ensure you purchase enough length to handle your needs. Measure the entire length of the hose and exposed rv water lines. 

Most heat tape starts at 6 feet long, but it is best to know the length you need. When measuring, include the fittings, and you can consider wrapping the water spigot as well.

Temperature Range for Heat Tape:

Each model of heat tape has a temperature range it will be able to heat. Pay close attention to the temperature range of your location. If you purchase a heat tape that cannot handle the temperature where you will be, you might as well not have one.

It is important to remember that weather fluctuates. Sometimes, a location may suddenly dip several degrees lower than expected. So, it is essential to ensure you consider this when selecting a temperature range. In certain areas always be prepared for sub-zero temperatures.

Additional Items:

In addition to the heat tape, there are some items that can help the heat tape work better. Some people swear by wrapping the hose in aluminum foil in addition to heat tape. Aluminum foil may allow the tape to heat more evenly. 

Adding an insulation layer to the hose will help ensure that the hose stays warm enough. Place this foam-insulated tube over the top of the heat-taped hose. Once the insulation is applied, securing it with duct tape or electrical tape is recommended.

The Best Heat Tape For An RV Water Hose

Between my time on a farm in the freezing Midwest and my time RVing, I have gained lots of knowledge and experience on keeping your water supply from freezing. Here are my top picks:

Best Heat Tape Overall: Heatit JHSF1-CT Self-Regulating Pre-Assembled Pipe Heating Cable:

Heatit JHSF1-CT Self-regulating pre-assembled pipe heating cable

Photo courtesy of Amazon

The JHSF1-CT is an industrial-grade heat tape. This heating cable is ETL-approved and suitable for plastic and metal RV water hoses. This heating cable is self-regulating and adjusts the heat output as needed. 

The JHSF1 comes in a large variety of sizes. This range ensures that no matter what length you need, you can use the best of the best. 

The outer layer on this hose is a fluoropolymer. This polymer ensures the cable will function even if submerged in water. However, you must keep connection points out of water.

This heating cable can protect your hose during extreme cold temperatures. If the temperature drops below -20 ℉, insulation material must be applied. With insulation material, this heat tape can provide freeze protection at -40 ℉ temperature.

Best Budget Heat Tape: Kingdder Water Pipe Heat Tape

Kingdder Water Pipe Heat Tape

Photo courtesy of Amazon

If you’re on a budget, this heat tape is a solid choice. The self-regulating cable transfers heat to where it is needed.

This water pipe heat tape has a built-in thermostat. The heat tape starts drawing power when the temperature is below 40 ℉. This heat tape can keep the water flowing when the temperature gets low. 

This cable has a reduced chance of overheating because it only delivers heat where it is needed. Refer to the installation manual for tips on how to get the most out of your heat tape. 

Best heat tape for quick heating: Vevor Pipe Heating Cable

Vevor Self-regulating pipe heating cable

Photo courtesy of Amazon

When you need quick heat, this heating cable is your solution. It can raise temperatures by 85℉ in just 5 minutes and features a built-in thermostat for safety. The Vevor pipe heating cable comes in different lengths and is ideal for thawing frozen hoses.

This heating cable is your solution when you need quick heat. It can raise temperatures by 85℉ in just 5 minutes and features a built-in thermostat for safety. The Vevor pipe heating cable comes in different lengths and is ideal for thawing frozen hoses. 

The Vevor heating cable has a built-in thermostat and automatically turns on at 43 ℉ and stops at 55 ℉. This thermostat ensures that you won’t overheat or waste energy.

The Vevor is pre-assembled and very easy to install. This cable is flexible and easy to work with. This heating cable is one of the few that specifically states it is for use with RV water hoses.

Best Heat Tape For Extreme Cold: MD Pipe Heating Cable with Thermostat

MD pipe heating cable

Photo courtesy of Amazon

This heating cable is the best choice for RV enthusiasts who brave the coldest conditions. This heat tape can handle temperatures as low as -50°F! 

This heat cable comes with a press-to-test button so you can test your cable prior to installing. The built-in thermostat turns the cable on at 38 ℉. This cable uses 70% less energy than many others.

It would be best to take precautions not to overlap this heat tape. Overlapping heat tape can cause temperatures to get too hot. Overlapping the heat tape can result in damage to the water hose.

Best Heated Drinking Water Hose for RV: Camco Heated Water Hose

Camco heated rv drinking water hose

Photo courtesy of Amazon

This hose comes out of the box ready for cold weather. The camco heated water hose provides freeze protection for temperatures down to -20 ℉. The hose also features an energy-saving thermostat that only heats when needed during freezing temps.

This hose has a self-regulating heating cable that ensures the most energy savings. The Camco heated water hose is made of drinking-water-safe materials internationally and this product also includes a female-to-male adapter for easy installation.

This 25-foot hose takes away all the work of applying heat tape to hoses. This hose comes out of the box ready to use in your destination!

Best Heated Water Hose for Lower Temps: Rehoseup Heated Water Hose for RV

Rehoseup heater rv water hose

Photo courtesy of Amazon

This heated water hose can prevent freezing down to -45 ℉! The smart automatic heat system can gradually thaw ice into the water. This hose is certified as safe drinking water and is perfect for RVers. 

The Rehoseup hose has a durable exterior jacket and insulation sleeves for the connection points on the spigot. This hose comes in both 15- and 30-feet options.

Best Thermostatically Controlled Outlet for RV Heat Trace Cable and Hoses: Thermo Cube

Thermocube

Photo courtesy of Amazon

The Thermo cube is a valuable accessory if you don’t have a thermostat built into your heat tape or heated water hose. This cube is a thermostatically controlled outlet that controls power based on temperature.

Plug this cube into an outside outlet, and then plug your heat tape/heated water hose into the cube. If the temperature drops below 35 ℉, the outlet will turn on. And, when the temperature rises above 45℉, the outlet will turn off. 

Best Insulation Foam Pipe for RV Heat Tape and Hoses: Foam King Insulating Foam Pipe

Foam king insulating foam pipe covers

Photo courtesy of Amazon

Foam King insulating foam pipe is perfect for your heat tape or heated hose. This foam pipe goes around the hose and ensures that the heat stays on the hose. This best heat tape for rv water hose and pipe insulation is easy and affordable.

These foam pipes have a slit down the side that makes installation easy. This product is a four-pack of 3-foot foam pipe covers for 12 feet of coverage. Ensure that you purchase enough foam pipe to meet your needs.

How to Install Heat Tape for Your RV Water Hose:

How to install heat tape

Follow these steps for selecting/installing the heat tape:

1. Measure Your RV Water Hose:

Ensure you accurately measure the entire length of your RV water hose, including any fittings or adapters. You will want your heat tape to cover pipe fittings and adapters as well. If your spigot and city water pipe are exposed, also measure them.

2. Purchase the Appropriate Length and Wattage of Heat Tape:

Select a self-regulating heat tape that is long enough to cover your measured area. Select a product that can handle your area’s temperature range. 

3. Secure the Heat Tape to the RV Water Hose:

Refer to the Heat Tape manufacturer’s recommendations. Start at the end closest to the RV water supply and ensure connections are tightly attached. You may use Teflon tape to ensure there is no leaking. Most advise wrapping the heat tape around the hose or securing it along its length. It is best to avoid overlapping the heat tape.

If you have purchased foam insulation pipes, install them around the hose after attaching the heat tape. Use duct tape or electrical tape to secure the ends together. If you will be taping the slit closed, ensure that you do not wrap the insulation tightly. 

If you apply foam pipe insulation over your hose, cover the spigot, water filter, the water line, pressure regulator, and any exposed water pipes. Any section of exposed water pipe without heat tape or insulation can freeze, even if you’ve covered the rest of the hose.

Note: Compressing the foam insulation reduces its ability to insulate properly.

4. Plug In the Heat Tape:

Connect the heat tape’s power cord to an electrical outlet. Self-regulating heat tape will automatically cycle on and off. This self-regulation allows for maintaining a consistent temperature and preventing freezing.

Remember that heat tapes should only be applied to the RV water hose and water lines to prevent freezing.

Other Tips for Keeping Your RV Water Hose from Freezing:

There are additional steps you can take to keep your plumbing from freezing during the cold months: 

Install an RV Skirting:

An RV skirting is a barrier that surrounds the bottom of your RV. This barrier helps keep cold air out and keeps warm air in. If you block additional cold air, you reduce the risks of freezing. 

Insulate Exposed Pipes:

Use foam insulation or heat tape with insulation to cover exposed pipes and hoses. This extra layer of protection can make a significant difference in cold conditions.

Keep a Slow, Steady Flow:

Some RVers like to keep a small, constant water flow in the hose. Steady water flow is as simple as a slow dripping. Slow dripping can prevent freezing. However, this method wastes water and leads to premature filling of your holding tanks. 

​Take Precautions to Avoid Hose Freezes

​At the end of the day, heated RV water hoses and heat tape are the best way to prepare for winter. Always select a quality product when protecting your water supply. Sometimes, it can be weeks before the temperature rises enough to thaw a frozen hose. It’s also a good idea to know how to find RV dump stations.

Be sure to measure the area so that you purchase long enough heat tape or heated hoses. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when installing heat tape or heated hose. If you take the proper precautions, you will stay comfortable and have reliable water all winter. 

If you are storing your RV for the winter, don’t forget to winterize your RV. Failing to winterize the RV can lead to damage and expensive repairs. Luckily, winterizing is an easy process, and I’ve made checklists!

Skirting is one of the most important ways to prepare your RV for the long winter months. Nothing is worse than being caught in the cold without your skirt on! Learn how to make DIY RV skirting.

This post may contain affiliate links. Check out our disclosure for more information.

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