How To Unfreeze RV Pipes

Winter isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, especially if you enjoy RV camping. While the season can create surreal natural spectacles, it can also bring a slew of problems you’d rather not deal with.

One such issue is frozen RV pipes. Outsiders might not think this is a major issue, but RV owners wouldn’t wish this upon their worst enemy. Frozen RV pipes can cause many issues, some of which can turn serious if you don’t attend to them immediately.

So, how do you unfreeze RV pipes? In this article, we will look at some tools and techniques you may use to deal with frozen pipes or prepare for the future!

Tools To Unfreeze RV Pipes

So how do you unfreeze RV pipes? Several tools available on the market can help you unfreeze RV pipes. If you have any handy, you can rest easy, knowing that you are prepared for the worst.

1. Heat Tape
Using heat tape is one of the simplest ways to unfreeze RV pipes. Although it requires that your pipes aren’t cracked, this tool is quite effective at both thawing frozen RV pipes and preventing further freezing. Although heat tape may take some time to unfreeze the pipes, it ensures minimal damage during the process.

A thermostat usually controls this kind of tape, so you will need access to electricity. The ones with automatic thermostat control are better suited to PVC or plastic pipes since they won’t accidentally damage them.
2. Heat Gun
Heat guns are another easy and affordable way to unfreeze your RV pipes. The idea is pretty straightforward—just aim the heat gun at the part of your pipe that is frozen and wait for it to thaw.

Be careful while using a heat gun on PVC pipes as it can damage or melt them. Ideally, you should only use heat guns if your RV pipes are made from copper or any other metal.
3. Hair Dryer
If you’re worried about damaging your plastic or PVC pipes with a heat gun, you can opt for a hair dryer instead. Remember that a hair dryer cannot go to as high temperatures as a heat gun and may take more time to thaw the pipe. But this can help prevent damage to your pipes as well.
4. Propane Or Space Heater
How do you unfreeze RV pipes that are underneath the RV? A portable space heater can come in handy in this case. You will also require extension cords and an electricity source.

When using a space heater, be careful not to place it near something that can catch fire. Though it is not the most optimal way to unfreeze RV pipes, you can try it when you have no other choice.
5. Heating Blanket
Much like heat tape, a heating blanket not only helps unfreeze but can also help prevent the RV pipes from freezing in the first place. It works similarly—you will need to envelop the pipe with a heating blanket to thaw it.

How To Unfreeze RV Pipes

No matter what tool you choose to unfreeze the RV pipes, ensure that you do not damage your pipes in the process—you can’t solve one problem with another!

You must work to raise the temperature over 32°F, as that is the point at which ice melts. While it may be tempting to go all out and thaw the frozen pipes as soon as possible, remember that you can damage the pipes if you are too hasty.

Before you unfreeze the RV pipe, look to see if you can find any damage or crack, as attempting to thaw a cracked pipe can worsen the problem.

You will also need to locate the frozen pipe that is blocking the water supply. You won’t be able to tackle the issue efficiently unless you’ve made an initial diagnosis.

So, how do you unfreeze the RV pipes once you’ve found the frozen component?

Here’s how you go about it:

  • First, you must check the water pump and ensure it’s not frozen. If you find that it is, start unfreezing the component using a heat gun.
  • Use heat tape: Take a roll of heat tape and wrap it around the frozen pipe to thaw the ice. Keep a faucet open so the water will have somewhere to go once thawed.
  • Cover the tank with a heating blanket: If you suspect the water inside the tank is frozen, wrap the tank with a heating blanket. This will quickly thaw the ice inside the pipe and help resume regular water supply.
  • Get a heat gun: A heat gun can help you quickly thaw out particular sections of your RV pipes. Make sure to spread the heat evenly across the pipe so the heat gun does not accidentally damage your pipes.
  • Place space heater underneath the RV: Use this method only if absolutely necessary since it poses a danger to other components of your RV. A space heater can help thaw pipes that may go under the RV, but it needs constant monitoring.

FAQ

The time RV pipes take to unfreeze depends on what part and how much of the system is frozen. The unfreezing process can take as long as 12 to 14 hours.

Skirting your RV pipes is one of the most effective ways to prevent pipes from freezing. You can also add RV antifreeze to your wastewater tank (never to your freshwater tank). You should also consider upgrading the insulation of your RV if you’re worried about the pipes freezing.

Conclusion

Winters are unpredictable, even more so when you live in freezing regions. You never know when a sudden drop in temperature can cause your RV pipes to freeze. So it is always better to be prepared! We hope this article helped answer your question “How do you unfreeze RV pipes?” in the best and easiest way possible.

Citations

https://www.rvforum.net/threads/lines-froze-help.101200/
https://www.jaycoowners.com/forums/f5/frozen-water-lines-73320.html
https://www.irv2.com/forums/f50/frozen-water-lines-524558.html
https://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/fuseaction/thread/tid/29520381/print/true.cfm
https://www.forestriverforums.com/forums/f217/frozen-water-lines-enclosed-under-belly-help-199581.html

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