RV Maintenance for Winter: Protecting Your Pipes

If this is your first full year out with your camper, or if you’ve just decided to take the step of camping through the winter, you will need to add an important step to your RV maintenance: protection of your pipes.

There are several options for preventing your pipes from freezing, and the route you take often depends on temperatures. A relatively mild night that will only dip below freezing for an hour or two is different than a location where temps reach sub-zero levels for many hours each night. Here are some ideas for preventative maintenance on your RV pipes:

Consider Insulation: The gold standard for protecting pipes is closed-cell spray insulation. This is performed by a professional and will coat the underbelly of your RV. It is ideal if you are frequently camping in the winter or expect an extended stay in cold temperatures.

You can also add winter skirting to your vehicle once it is parked. This traps ambient heat and can reduce the wind flow under your RV.

One of the benefits of both spray insulation and winter skirting is that it also tends to keep your floors warmer.

If you’re out and realize temps will be dropping lower than you had expected, there’s a way to protect your pipes without a lot of advanced planning. This DIY method simply uses pipe insulation that you can attach using zip ties and duct tape. Getting it into tight spaces might prove tricky, but it should prevent pipes from freezing for a few hours.

Have a Tank Heating Pad Installed: This produces a small amount of heat to prevent the tank from freezing and can be turned down in the morning once the air is warming up. It works best as a solution for a long stay in relatively mild winter conditions, where temperatures go below freezing for shorter periods. Combine it with winter skirting to improve conditions.

Take Some Heat Tape: A good backup tool to have with you is some heat tape. This can be applied to pipes to transfer heat energy and thaw frozen lines. Keep an eye on it if you are using it on plastic because while it won’t usually melt plastic, you’ll want to watch it.

Run a Drip: When you wake in the middle of the night to lower temperatures than expected, you may take emergency measures to promote RV maintenance. Provided you can easily refill your water tank in the morning, it may make sense to let an internal fixture drip during the night to prevent frozen pipes. It’s not ideal, but it may prove to be a wise move. RV maintenance comes with many considerations, and when you are planning to take your RV out in the winter, it’s better to be sure it’s truly ready for any set of circumstances. Contact us at Gray Diesel & Equipment Services to schedule your preventative maintenance appointment.