When to Winterize RV: At What Temp Should You Winterize an RV?

RVs are like traditional homes. While there may be less maintenance and upkeep to do, there is always work to be done to keep your RV in top shape. One of those duties includes winterizing your RV before the cold weather sets in. This needs to be done if you are not going to drive to warmer climates.

At what temperature should you winterize an RV? When it comes to RV pipes, there is no such thing as flash frozen. Your pipes will start to freeze the longer they are exposed to cold temperatures. One night at 32 degrees F should not freeze them but a string of 32 degree F weather days may.

To learn more about winterizing your RV pipes, just continue to read our article. The article has the information you want to know about in order to avoid damaging your plumbing systems. It is cheaper to over winterize than make repairs.

When Should You Winterize Your RV?


If you are beginning to experience cooler weather, you should begin to think about winterizing your RV. This task should be done before the first frost hits. That event will differ depending on where you live. For some people, it is in October and for others, it will be in November.

If you live in extreme northern states, then it may possibly be sooner than that. You know your weather patterns so you will be the best judge when that time comes in your neck of the woods.

The experts all state that one night where the temperature drops to 32 degrees is not enough cold weather to do damage to your RV. The cold weather has to stay for 24 hours at least before any possible damage can be done.

Just watch your weather channel to keep tabs on the temperature as Autumn progresses. If you are not going to travel this winter, then winterizing your RV as soon as you stop using it for the season is a good way to get that job done and off your honey-do list.

That way you can relax the whole winter and only have to do spot checks to make sure everything is okay.

At What Temperature Should You Winterize Your RV?


The benchmark is 32 degrees F but only if that cold level is going to stick around for more than a few hours. You are going to have to play this by ear as cold snaps can play havoc with some RV owners.

The lower temperatures may only come at night then warm up during the day. That is not enough to freeze your pipes. If you want to play it safe, just winterize right after you have cleaned your RV after your last trip till next year.

Putting this task off may lead you to forget and then it might be too late once you get around to doing it. This is not something you can really put off. If you have not decided that a late Fall trip is your last one or not just be careful and do not delay too long making that trip.

If it isn’t and you are going to make a trip from your cold-weather state to your warm winter weather second home, then you can winterize your RV and still drive it. That will protect your pipes while driving through the colder regions of the country.

How Cold Does it Have to be for RV Pipes to Freeze?


One temperature level has already been given so we won’t repeat what has already been said. Sometimes the cold weather does not go like anyone wants. The temperatures turn really cold, very quickly.

In that situation, your pipes could freeze in 8 hours at 15 to 20 degrees F. That is how important it is to keep your eye on the weather reports. Those cold snaps can do a lot of damage if you are not prepared for them.

Then if you are driving through cold weather to get to Florida, Texas, etc., all you need to do is bring a little water in jugs for coffee and flushing. Minimal use of water during travel time will help protect your system.

Some people go the extra mile and just flush with the ‘pink stuff’ every time to make sure their pipes are protected until they get to warmer regions. There are flushing options you can try to make sure your pipes remain in good shape until the warmer weather starts up again.

Will RV Pipes Freeze at 32 Degrees?


This will depend on how long the temperatures stay at this level. If the 32 degrees F remains only for a few hours, then the answer will be no they won’t. Yes, 32 degrees F is the freezing point for water but for RV pipes it takes over a day before the water or pipes begin to freeze.

Of course, it may take longer if your RV has a heated underbelly, an enclosed underbelly, insulation around the pipes, or using some other anti-freezing strategy. A lot depends on how you accessorize your RV.

Some freeze protection techniques cost more than others so your budget will dictate which ones will be feasible to use or not. Taking precautions will protect your pipes and you can travel in colder weather or winterize at a later date if you do.

Then some RVs may have what is called an Arctic Pac button. That seems to turn on the tank heaters if your RV has them already installed. These prevention methods will help keep your pipes from freezing during those little cold snaps that keep the temperature levels at 32 degrees F.

Do I Need to Winterize My RV?


This is also a depends question as part of the answer lies in your location. If you live in a region of the country that does not go below 40 degrees F in the winter, then the answer would be no. your RV is in no danger of having its pipes frozen.

If you plug in your RV all winter, you may think you do not need to winterize. That is more of a myth than an actual fact. Pipes can get frozen and burst even if your RV is plugged in during those cold winter months.

It is best to be safe rather than sorry and take the steps to winterize even if you are plugged in. As they say, it is cheaper to winterize than it is to make repairs to broken pipes. But you make your own decision.

Even a little insulation or some heated wiring will go a long way to protect your pipes when you are not using them for the winter.

What Happens if You Don't Winterize Your RV


Water expands when it is frozen and when it is held in a very small area something has to give. The item giving is not going to be the frozen water. It will be your pipes, your seals, your gaskets, and any other [part that has contact with water that has not been properly drained.

In other words, you are looking at some expensive repair bills when those items burst due to freezing. Not just the labor but the parts will not be cheap. The best-case scenario will be that your pipes will not deliver the water at the pressure you need it to come at.

Ice in your pipes will block the water’s passageway slowing it down to possibly a trickle. That situation will impede your comfort and ruin your vacation. it is best to winterize to protect your vacation as well as your RV.

How to Prevent Your Pipes From Freezing

There are different methods you can try that will make sure your RV is fully protected when the cold weather comes. Here are just a few of them:

  • 1. Insulation - there are some good insulation products available for RV pipes. Wrap them up and you can endure even colder weather than 32 degrees F. But not much colder
  • 2. Heat tape - this is a good option as it comes in either tape form or cord form. You just buy the style that will work for your RV’s design the best.
  • 3. Heated water line - this option replaces your regular water lines and makes sure the cold stays away from your water and pipes.

Some Final Words

Don’t take chances with your expensive RV. While it may be okay to wait a little while before winterizing, it is not always the best option to take. With the many methods available that you can use to keep your pipes from freezing, one should fit your budget.

You put a lot of money into buying your RV, you do not need to keep spending more than you should to keep it in good shape.

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