This Is What Happens If RV Pipes Freeze

Camping or storing an RV during cold weather can be problematic. You have to worry about the pipes, holding tanks, propane, and other equipment. Frozen pipes and holding tanks are susceptible to all sorts of potentially expensive issues. Fortunately, there are many ways to prevent it from happening. Damaged pipes from the ice could totally ruin your van build and stop your van life.

If RV pipes freeze, you won’t be able to run water to the sink, shower, or toilet. Frozen pipes can loosen the unions when they thaw or crack, leading to leaks in hard-to-reach places. To prevent your RV’s pipes from getting too cold, run the water at a slow drip or warm them with insulation tape.

In this article, we’ll discuss a handful of potential issues you might encounter if your RV’s pipes freeze, which temperature it can happen at, and how you can prevent it from happening. We’ll also show you what to do if you think the pipes are frozen.

What Happens If Your RV’s Pipes Freeze?

Letting your RV’s water pipes freeze is never a good idea. Many first-time owners neglect to protect their RV if they’re storing it for the winter. It might be tempting to let it ride through the season, but repeatedly freezing the pipes will inevitably cause irreparable damage.

So, what happens if an RV’s pipes freeze?

  • Frozen pipes can crack or loosen if they get too cold for too long. Water expands and contracts when it thaws and freezes, making it difficult for the pipes to keep up. Twisted or glued unions will warp and bend until they can’t anymore. This process can make them crack, leak, and need replacements.
  • You won’t be able to use the water connected to any of the pipes. RV Share shows the most common symptom of frozen pipes in an RV is the water won’t flow. If it’s cold outside and nothing is coming through the pipes, they might be frozen. However, don’t forget to ensure there’s enough water in the holding tank before worrying about it.
  • If the water expands, it could ruin the water pump. Water pumps have seals, gaskets, motors, and many other components that frozen temperatures can damage. If the pipes freeze and the motor keeps running dry, it’ll strip the bearings and grind until it can’t work anymore.

Frozen RV pipes are quite annoying, but they’re not too difficult to handle if you catch them early enough. The trick is to know how cold the RV’s pipes can get before they freeze. If you can keep the pipes warm enough, you’ll never have to deal with any of these problems. Read on to learn what you should do.

At What Temperature Can Motorhome Pipes Freeze?

How are you supposed to know if your RV pipes are in danger of freezing? Water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius), but that range might not affect your pipes if they’re insulated. Nevertheless, it’s wise to prepare the pipes to freeze when the night gets too cold for too long.

RV Pipes Typically Freeze Around 32 F or 0 C

According to RV Blogger, your RV’s pipes become much more in danger when water begins to freeze. Please turn on the water every couple of hours to ensure it’s still able to run. If it’s not coming out of the sink faucet or showerhead, it might be time to try some of the tips found in the next section. You could also use a blow dryer on medium heat.

They Have to Be Cold Long Enough to Freeze

Your RV’s pipes won’t freeze the second they hit 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Instead, it might take a couple of hours for them to develop frost. If you camp in a place that dips down to 32 F for an hour at night, you likely won’t have to worry about them freezing. Low temperatures and longevity are both required to freeze your vehicle’s pipes.

As you can see, RV pipes don’t freeze too often. However, it’s best to be prepared for the worst-case scenario. If you’re worried about your RV’s pipes freezing on an upcoming trip or they’ve already gotten too cold, proceed to the next section to know how you can get them back in good condition.

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How to Prevent Your RV’s Pipes From Freezing?

You’ve seen the expensive repair bills and frustrating issues frozen RV pipes can cause. If you don’t want to deal with either of these issues, it’s time to follow our four-step process to protect the pipes.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Slowly drip the water in the sink and shower, if possible. Turning the faucets to a light drip will keep it moving through the pipes and prevent water from pooling. It acts as a natural waterway, much like a river rarely freezes while a lake freezes fairly quickly.
  2. Wrap the pipes in insulated insulation tape to prevent them from freezing. The Frost King Rubber Insulation Tape creates a barrier between the pipes and frozen air. Your pipes will stay warm (or at least room temperature) instead of freezing. Many experts recommend insulation tape to anyone camping during the winter.
  3. Turn on the heater if you’re camping overnight. Harvest Hosts show how useful a motorhome’s heater can be if the pipes are getting too cold. Set it on a timer to come on for half an hour every couple of hours to prevent the pipes from freezing. You’ll also enjoy a more comfortable night’s rest!
  4. Contact a motorhome expert and thaw the pipes if necessary. Whether you’re driving a van, Class A motorhome, or towing a trailer, motorhome experts can help you deal with frozen pipes. Sometimes, there’s nothing you can do if they’re already too cold other than driving to a local repair shop.


Now that you know why RV pipes can’t get too cold, you can use one or more of the numerous tips found throughout this page. Frozen pipes can lead to costly repairs and prevent you from using the water. The good news is most frozen pipes go back to normal if they’re treated quickly enough.

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