Tag Archives: frozen pipes

5 Tips for RVing in the Winter

5 Tips for RVing in the Winter


We’re just shy of five months into this motorhoming escapade, but we’ve already encountered plenty of cold weather.  Where we go is dictated by where Mike is working, which means that we’ll be dealing with frigid temperatures fairly regularly.

Here are five things Mike has learned that are helping us stay warm and watered during the winter.

1.  Not every park delivers propane to you.  Packing up, unhooking, and driving across the street to refill is a hassle.  Plus, propane can get pricey.  Besides that, you surely don’t want run out when temps are below freezing.  (Which we did.)  Using as little propane as you can is crucial.  Buy electric heaters to run off of the park’s electricity – that you’re already paying for – to save your propane.  This is ours.  It’s pet-safe, has other safety features, and comes with a remote so we can control it from anywhere in the rig.  We also have a propane heater.

2.  Stuff bubble pack insulation in the windows. Your rig might feel like a cave, but it makes a HUGE difference, even with double-paned windows.   (This also works great in the summer when you’re cooling the motorhome.  We know from firsthand experience.  We started this lifestyle in Las Vegas… in July.)

3.  When you’re hooked up to park water, keep your hose as short as possible.  Coil the rest of it up and store it inside your wet bay.  Insulate what’s left outside with foam pipe insulation.

4.  If you’re in a Class A, run small electric heaters in the wet bay to keep the pipes and tank from freezing.  Make sure they have tip-over and overheating protection.   You may also want to buy thermostatic plugs that’ll turn the heaters on just above freezing and turn them off at warmer temperatures.

5.  If you have an electric water heater, leave a trickle of hot water dripping into your sink.  It keeps water circulating through the hose so it doesn’t freeze.  Also, leave the gray tank open so the trickle of hot water runs down the hose.  It keeps the gray tank from filling up, and the heated liquid prevents the sewer hose from freezing.

The bucket brigade

The bucket brigade


When I noticed the buckets had “LET’S DO THIS” imprinted on them, I burst out laughing.

It was 8 at night and below freezing in Stowe, Vermont, and this was exactly what we DIDN’T want to be doing.

We were pumping water into our fresh tank.  Gold Brook Campground had shut the water off before we arrived.  The only way to replenish was to use the spigot on the outer wall of the shower house.  We did that when we got there, but after we were connected, we had to bring the water to the rig, rather than the other way around.

Two five-gallon buckets were topped off from the spigot up the hill and driven back to the RV.   Hands plunged into frigid water to hold the pump down so we could extract every bit.  Pump, refill and repeat.

We’re researching more efficient, less frostbite-inducing ways to do this going forward.  But until then, the next time we have to manually fill our tank, we’ll bundle up, clasp hands, and charge into the night with our buckets, saying “Let’s do this!”