top of page
  • Meagan Butler

Now That There Is An RV: Advice on How To Keep Your RV Hoses Working Properly in Freezing Temperatur

Pat: What are you looking at, Meg?

Me: Oh, the silent majesty of a fall morn…the clean, cool chill of the September air…an asshole in his bathrobe emptying a chemical toilet into my sewer…

Last weekend, I could have sworn my husband and I were witnessing one of the most memorable scenes in the movie Christmas Vacation. You know the one: where Uncle Eddie is outside of the Griswold’s house clad in a trooper hat and bathrobe emptying his RV’s black tank into the drainage sewer? This scene was almost like that, except this guy was wearing moose pajamas, sipping out of a clear glass coffee mug, and scratching his head as he walked around his Airstream trailer.

Thankfully, in my scene, no sewer hoses were involved. But the situation still looked pretty dire for this man. The problem? His water hose froze to the spigot and halted any movement of water to and from the water source to the inside of the RV. Frozen pipes means no water. No water means no sink, no toilet, and no shower. The sad thing is that Mr. Moose Pants wasn’t the only one outside inspecting his hoses. There were quite a few families standing outside of their RVs shivering in the thirty-degree weather. I am certain they were wondering why their commodes won’t fill, and why they can’t supply their pots with water to brew a fresh pot of coffee.

Pat and I, warm inside our 5th wheel trailer, watched the scene unfold in front of us. We were glad we had the foresight to fill our onboard water tank with water and disconnect the hose from the city water before we went to bed the night before.

Last weekend, we decided to take our RV out for the weekend and enjoy a stay in the mountains of Cripple Creek, Colorado. Cripple Creek is a small mining town now known more for its casinos and brilliant fall foliage than its mining. Within only a few short hours, RVers can leave Denver and be nestled amongst the golden aspen leaves. During peak leaf season, Cripple Creek is one of the most beautiful places to witness the changing of seasons. In typical Colorado fashion, the weather decided to not cooperate. By the time we were entering the town and pulling into our RV spot, the weather had turned from cold to snow. Temperatures were hovering around thirty-three degrees at nine at night, so it was clear we were in for below freezing temperatures overnight.

Not all RVs are equipped to handle freezing temperatures, so precautions must be made to ensure the RV doesn’t shut down or seize completely. Our current RV doesn’t have what’s known as an arctic package. That just means that our tanks aren’t heated, so we have to be extra careful when the temperatures drop below freezing. Most likely, the families standing outside in the cold didn’t have arctic packages or insulated hoses on their RVs, either.

We weren’t always this savvy in our RV operations, and like most people, we had to learn the hard way what not to do. A few years ago when camping out in Buena Vista, Colorado, in October, we didn’t anticipate freezing temps. When the weather changed, we just assumed since the propane was on, and our heat was working, our hoses would be fine. Not the case. We froze our hose to the water source, cracked some pipes, and caused some leaks. The damage wasn’t extensive, but it was enough to cost us to fix the problem. We learned quickly that a few simple steps could have saved us a few hundred dollars and a lot of bother.

To avoid an Uncle Eddie situation, always be aware of the weather around your RV. Weather can be unpredictable at any time, but remembering that temperatures can vacillate in the transitional seasons can help you be better prepared when out on the road. Have a remote controlled temperature gauge inside and outside of the RV. If you notice the weather is approaching freezing, go outside, disconnect from the local water, and fill your onboard water tanks to capacity. Clear the hose of any standing water, and store the hose inside the RV. Even if it doesn’t drop below freezing, you and your family can be warm inside your RV with the assurance that you will have water and working plumbing in the morning. If you make a mistake, don’t feel bad. We all do, as Uncle Eddie so eloquently states, “real nice” things when learning the ins and outs of RV travel.


bottom of page