How Should RV Pipes and Tanks Be Thawed?



Generally, RVs can withstand some cold weather, but once the temperature drops below freezing, problems can arise. A frozen holding tank, hookup, or pipe in your RV could cause severe damage. Therefore, everyone needs to know how to thaw a frozen RV tank safely. Because RV holding tanks are one of the most exposed parts, they can take a long time to thaw. Your RV may not have running water if they are out of service.

Here are the best ways to thaw an RV tank:

It is fortunately possible to speed up the thawing process and prevent freezing by using certain methods. Some of the most effective options are listed below.

1. Hair dryer/heat gun:

A frozen RV tank can be thawed most effectively by applying heat directly to it. Hair dryers are less efficient at achieving the same results as heat guns. This method should be used with caution if you wish to use it. If temperatures change dramatically, you might end up melting the outer layer of your holding tank unless you take special precautions. It is important to take special care when handling ABS and polyethylene, which are commonly used for holding tanks. For best results, start at the top and work your way down the tank. Use a hairdryer or heat gun only for a short period of time on one area. You should be able to open the termination valve once you reach it. The contents of the tank will heat up as they move around. When this occurs, the tank has thawed!

2. Install a 100-watt bulb:

Slow and steady thawing can be achieved with the 100-watt bulb method. The heater can provide a constant source of heat that will help maintain a comfortable temperature in the holding tank. You won’t have to worry about extreme temperature changes since a 100-watt bulb cannot produce too much heat on its own. This method works best in enclosed RV underbellies without heaters if your holding tanks are indoors. The space will be gradually heated with a 100-watt bulb installed under the eaves. You’ll need patience, but this method is safer than using a hair dryer or heat gun. As an added benefit, thawing the tank is faster than letting it thaw naturally.

3. Thaw the tank naturally:

As an alternative, wait it out and let your tanks thaw naturally if you have no other choice. When the weather outside is above freezing, it is possible for your tanks to melt naturally. This could take several hours, so people who are in a hurry should not attempt it. Insulating your RV’s tanks and running the heater can help speed things up. To avoid cracks or damage to the tanks’ exterior, let the tanks thaw at their own pace. 


More to explorer

Which RVs should be winter-ready?

RVs can withstand freezing temperatures with the following features.  If you plan to camp in cold weather, look for these RV features. 

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