Do you plan on RVing in freezing temperatures? You’ll need special equipment to protect your RV’s water system. Most importantly, a heated water hose! Read on to learn how to choose the best one for your winter RVing situation and see our top picks.
What is a Heated Water Hose?
A heated water hose has either insulation, a heating element running its length, or both to keep it from freezing. Designs vary with each manufacturer, but these hoses are typically a bit heftier and thicker.
The idea behind a heated water hose is to provide a small amount of power to keep the entire length of the hose above freezing temperatures so water continues to flow. If a normal hose is left out in below-freezing temperatures, expect water flow to stop and possible damage to the hose or fittings.
Why Do You Need A Heated Water Hose for Your RV?
Freezing temperatures can cause many issues for RV owners. A heated water hose is an essential piece of RV equipment, especially for those who are traveling or stationary in locations with freezing winter temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
When water freezes, it expands. Freezing pipes in sticks-and-bricks homes burst and cause homeowners headaches and costly repairs. In an RV, your plumbing is even more fragile and exposed than the plumbing in a house. Your drinking water hose connecting your fresh water hookup to the spigot has virtually no insulation or protection and can freeze solid. This can damage the hose and the fittings, and even potentially burst the spigot. Many RV parks in areas that get freezing temperatures will insulate the water spigot and require that guests have a heated hose, as well.
Internal plastic pipes and fittings can crack easily under the ice pressure. This leads to leaking pipes, water damage, and mold that can create health issues for humans and pets. Heated water hoses will keep the water entering the RV warmer and reduce the likelihood of frozen RV pipes.
How to Choose the Best Heated Water Hose for Your RV
Fortunately, there are many heated hoses on the market for RVers. These hoses typically have electrical heat strips that run along the length and must be plugged into an electrical outlet. This keeps the water from freezing to prevent damage to your hose and RV. However, not all water hoses are rated for the same temperatures or will work the same way.
Here are some factors to consider when choosing the best heated water hose for your RVing setup:
Diameter of your heated hose translates to flow rate. The greater the flow, the more water you get out, however this could effect your water pressure. While RV water pressure will largely be dictated by the campground and your water pressure regulator (which you also have to protect from freezing), this is definitely something to consider.
Make sure your hose is long enough to stretch between your RV and the spigot! Many heated water hoses are available in short lengths due to their expense and how heavy they are. The extra insulation and wiring add considerable bulk, so only order as long as you really need.
Not all hoses are safe for drinking water. Those that are will state it on the packaging. Make sure your hose says “drinking water safe” or “for potable water use.” Some heated water hose may be designed for other purposes than drinking and may have chemicals that are toxic for human or animal consumption.
Burst Pressure or PSI
This is how much water pressure the hose can handle before bursting. It would be a good idea to couple your hose with a water pressure regulator to protect your hose and plumbing system.
The hose isn’t the only thing you need to keep from freezing. While the warmer water can usually keep connections and other accessories like water pressure regulators thawed, extremely cold temperatures may require additional protection. Some hoses come with pigtails or cuffs of heated wire that extend beyond the ends of the hose to wrap around and protect these fittings.
The hose is electric, so make sure you know how much power you will pull to heat the hose. If you are paying for electricity at your RV park, you may be surprised how much it costs to run these hoses. Also, check the length of the electric plug so you can be sure it will reach an outlet.
Self-regulating heated hoses will automatically turn their heating element on and off as needed due to external temperature readings. This is nice for saving power when you don’t need the hose on. You also can leave it on and not have to remember to plug it in or turn it on depending on the weather forecast.
Check to see what temperatures the heated hose can handle. If you are just at or below freezing, you may not need a hose rated for -20 degrees Fahrenheit. However, if temperatures go below what your hose can keep up with, your heated water hose might freeze.
Often, you get what you pay for. Especially if you’re looking to use this hose for repeated seasons, don’t be afraid to invest for quality and durability. Also, the longer the hose the more expensive it’ll be. Prices generally range from around $100 to well over $300.
The Best Heated Water Hoses for RV in 2023
With all of the above factors in mind, we’ve put together a list of the 4 best heated hoses for your RV here:
Camco 25ft TastePure Heated Drinking Water Hose
- PROVIDES FREEZE PROTECTION: This 25-foot long Camco heated water...
- DRINKING WATER SAFE: Enjoy safe drinking water with this heated...
- ENERGY-SAVING TECHNOLOGY: Save money on your electric bill with...
This hose can handle temps down to -25 F, features an energy-saving thermostat, and has a durable external cover to prevent damage. It has an internal diameter (ID) of 5/8″. It comes in just three different lengths of 12′, 25′, and 50′.
The Camco Heated Hose can be purchased for temperatures down to -20 or -40 degrees Fahrenheit, with the lower temperature rated one understandably more expensive. Camco also offers a variety of bundling options for buyers, including their water filters, sewer hose supports, and more.
FreezeFreeHose Heated Hose
- Drinking water safe for potable water systems
- Rugged enough to be used in other applications, i.e....
- 5/8" inside diameter for maximum water flow.
The FreezeFreeHose drinking-water-safe hose only uses .06 amps of power per foot when in use and plugs into a standard 120V AC outlet. This hose is self-regulating, meaning it will produce more heat when it is colder and less when it is warmer out. The FreezeFreeHose has many lengths to choose from 15 feet to 50 feet. Its internal diameter measures 5/8″.
FreezeFreeHose is made by a small company called SmartTechProducts here in the USA. It has been tested for temperatures of -20F.
Valterra Heated Fresh Water Hose
- HEATED RV WATER HOSE: 1/2" diameter hose provides smooth flowing...
- EASY OPERATION: Freeze protection down to -5°F, Self-regulating...
- EASY TO INSTALL: 6' cord length and a light-up plug allows...
The Valterra Heated Fresh Water Hose is a self-regulating drinking water hose. This hose features zippered insulator cuffs at either end for further protection against freezing temperatures at the fittings. It is available in three lengths of 15′, 25′, and 50′ and is rated for “sub-zero temperatures.” Its internal diameter is a little smaller than some of the other options at 1/2″.
However, while it generally gets good reviews and has self-regulating capabilities, some users report that it stays on more than they would like, which uses more power and costs more for those paying for electricity at their RV parks. Valterra is an RV accessory company that was purchased by well-known RV components supplier Dometic in 2021.
NoFreeze Water Hose (+ Discount Code!)
This heated RV water hose is available in 4′, 15′, 25′, 35′, 50′, 75′, and 100′ lengths. It keeps water flowing down to -30 degrees Fahrenheit.
The hose core is made of High Purity LLDPE Water Hose. This is a flexible, non-contaminating food-grade hose that is ideal for use in food, beverage, and water applications. The inner core is a pure white PVC compound, which means that you will have no bad taste in your water. The male garden hose fittings are forged brass fittings that will never leak, collapse, or torque which causes hose damage.
You can choose whether the plug is at either the spigot or ending connection point, thanks to the Female/Female Garden Hose Couple. As for the heater element, it has a self-regulating heating cable. It draws just 1.5A per 25-foot hose length. The thermal insulation of this water hose keeps it flexible from -20° C to 80° C, which is a huge factor in maneuverability and storability. You can read the full specs here.
Optional Add-On: You can order your hose with additional heat trace elements called “pigtails” that extend 12 inches beyond the end of the hose to wrap around and protect connection points.
The Takeaway: The No Freeze Water Hose is the most expensive on the list, but it is arguably the best! The NoFreezeWaterHose is guaranteed to outperform any heated water hose or your money back. This hose is durable and can last for years. This heated drinking water hose officially works in temperatures down to -30F – you won’t find any other heated water hose more capable!
Also, check out their story on their website to learn about their North Dakotan roots and their mission to create a hose that will keep flowing when other hoses fail.
BONUS DISCOUNT: Get 5% off your NoFreeze Water Hose by using Discount Coupon Code “ONTHEMOVE5” at checkout!
Pressure Regulators & Water Filters
If you have a pressure regulator and/or a pre-tank water filter in-line with your RV water hose, you’re going to want to make sure these are protected, too! You can wrap these in a large blanket or towel, put them inside your wet bay (if you have one), or put them after the heated water hose so warmer water runs through them.
You can also wrap heat tape around these to help prevent them from freezing.
Alternative Methods For Keeping Your RV Fresh Water Hose from Freezing
If you don’t want to buy a heated water hose, there are other ways you can keep your fresh water hose from freezing. The second best option is to purchase your own heat tape and wrap it around your existing hose. This option can work, but you lose out on the insulation properties of a heated hose, unless you also wrap your hose with insulation.
Alternatively, you could leave your water dripping in your RV. But this isn’t recommended and isn’t foolproof. Your hose can still freeze when you leave your water dripping, damaging not only your hose but your RV’s plumbing. And if you leave your water dripping, you’ll likely leave your gray tank open. This can lead to a frozen waste water hose, too!
Is A Heated Water Hose Worth It?
If you ask us, a heated water hose is absolutely worth it. While more pricey than your standard water hose, the alternatives aren’t great. The ease of use and reduction in anxiety about your hose freezing is worth every penny. When we use our heated water hose, we never even think about freezing temperatures or worry about losing water hookups.
The bottom line: if you’re going to be camping in an area with freezing temperatures, be sure your RV is protected! Don’t skimp out on a heated water hose – you can spend a bit of money now, or a ton of money later. And don’t wait until cold weather is upon you to order your heated hose!
Learn more about Cold Weather Camping to get ready ahead of time.
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