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Cari Z 01-29-2014 10:08 PM

Heat tape not working!!
Hello All,

Here's my problem. This is our first year full time but we've been RVers for years. We live in Colorado and spent quite a bit of time preparing to live in our trailer in the cold. We've had a steep learning curve but there's still one thing I don't understand. The heat tape on our fresh water hose is not heating the hose. Here's how we set it up:

1. wrapped hose in aluminum foil
2. wrapped the hose with the heat tape (not straight along it and not coiled closely - loose coils only).
3. Covered the hose with foam pipe insulation.
4. Wrapped the foam completely with duct tape.
5. The thermostat is currently out in the air

Other pertinent information: The park hose pipe has working heat tape and the standpipe is working. We have also tried taping the thermostat to the hose and the standpipe. Every time the temp goes below freezing, it's frozen up. Yes, I can leave the water on, but I work nights and can't always predict when it will get really cold (we've had some surprises). Plus, it upsets me that our $50 worth of winterizing isn't working.

Since it's all NEW I assume that it should be working. Seems like we failed to do something or did something wrong...I guess I should test it, but has anyone else had this problem? Were you able to fix it?

Any suggestions would be great!

2012 Open Range Light TT

SteveR161 01-30-2014 08:04 AM

I work at an rv park here in Golden Co. Most of the problems is not the wrapped hose freezing but the connections at the park supply and the RV itself. Make sure there is sufficient insulation at these areas. The heat from your hose and the park supply should transfer to the fittings if they are wrapped well.
I would question your "wrapped loosely heat tape" if my suggestion is not an issue.

Cougarkid 01-30-2014 08:53 AM

Just a thought...........

Is the aluminum foil keeping the heat from the tape out? I would place heat tape directly on the hose, then wrap with foil/insulation.

We are in Mussouri. Have had several weeks here with overnight / daytime temp never getting above freezing and lows near and below ZERO.

Our heat take on supply/drain hose is old school, leftover from the '80s. We run a 3/4" supply hose and a 3/4" drain hose (liquid only - have use of a garage/bathroom). Had an issue that turned out to be miss-aligned tape.

Re-ran tape along supply/drain hoses, tied between hoses. Wrapped with fiberglass pipe wrap insulation, clear plastic wrap and finished with foam pipe insulation, warped in rope.

Haven't had an issue since.

Have had heat tape directly on hoses for 2+ years with no damage/discoloration.


Cari Z 02-01-2014 02:25 AM

Thanks for the input!
Thanks for your help everyone.

Cougarkid - the foil is to help distribute the heat more evenly around the hose and I'm not thinking that's the problem.

SteveR161 - The hose is only frozen in the middle - not at the input to the trailer (enclosed with a light bulb in compartment to add heat) or at the standpipe. The directions say not to "wind the coils too closely around the hose" so we made coils that were further apart, i.e. "loose coils". Actually it said to keep it straight along the hose... Maybe I'll try that.

SteveR161 02-01-2014 12:02 PM

Have you verified that your heat tape will work? Stick the thermostat in ice or snow and feel the tape to make sure it's heating? Maybe faulty heat tape. I know it's new, but sounds like your doing everything correct.
We do use 2 kinds of heat tape here. The one that instructs to wrap in a straight line, which has a thermostat attached, can fail when "candy caned" around the water line.
Good luck!

mikell 02-02-2014 03:29 PM

Sounds good other than the wraping of the hose that leaves spots. I leave a foot or so at each end to loosely hang to make sure nothing freezes. Could be a cheap tape.

Doggy Daddy 02-02-2014 04:17 PM

Is the tape plugged in? Plug it in plug it in! LOL

mikell 02-03-2014 10:58 AM

Did you get it figured out?

Cari Z 02-04-2014 12:56 AM

@mikell - I think I'm going to try unwrapping the tape and lay it straight against the hose. Judging from the suggestions that looks like the most likely thing wrong... waiting for the weather to clear and a day off to do the project...

Will keep you posted and once again, thanks for all the suggestions!

SteveR161 02-07-2014 09:26 AM

Seeing how we just had a very cold few days here in Colorado, was wondering if you got your heat taped hose problem fixed?

wyorancher 02-07-2014 09:51 AM

I've wrapped my hose with aluminum foil but just laid the heat tape along the hose and taped it with electrical tape, not coiling the heat tape around it, and never had a problem. A better way than the aluminum foil now is the aluminum tape that Walmart sells. Yes it is aluminum, and yes it does conduct. The aluminum tape sticks and easier to wrap around the hose and works well. I never experienced any freezing down to 10 degrees. Below that I start just filling my tank and picking up the hose.

Note to Cougarkid: The aluminum tape or foil distributes the heat evenly so there are no hot spots along the plastic hose.

TurboLQ9 02-07-2014 10:13 AM

I have mine the exact same way you described. how long is your hose?
How long is your heat tape?

We have not have not had any problems well below freezing, the CGs pipes have frozen but not ours

I have another heat tape wrapped around my water filter that I taped the contacts together so it stays on all the time.

Cougarkid 02-08-2014 01:08 PM

Glad to see the water is flowing! Nothing worse than getting up in the morning and not being able to take a shower.


Originally Posted by wyorancher (Post 1917245)
Note to Cougarkid: The aluminum tape or foil distributes the heat evenly so there are no hot spots along the plastic hose.

Not wanting to argue here, just stating opinion / experience.

I understand/understood the heat distribution of the aluminum foil. But putting the tape OUTSIDE the foil diminishes the heat TO the hose.
You put aluminum foil over top of the turkey in the oven to hold In the heat/moisture when you bake it. Heat is coming from below.
Tape directly on the hose with foil around both would provide more heat directly to the hose AND allow distribution of heat.

As I stated before, ours is run straight between water and drain hoses, wrapped with insulation. It has been below freezing here for over two weeks, with several nights dipping below zero. Several days of temps in the teens and nights below zero and strong winds causing -25 wind chills, with no reprieve. Did not freeze the supply line.
Have only frozen supply line when there was an issue with heat tape power on dislocation of heat tape.

All is good!

Nwatkins176 02-08-2014 07:28 PM

I'm on my second winter as a full timer. This year was the first time I had a problem. I can't really diagnose your problem, so I will tell you what my problem was and maybe you can check that.

I always wrap the hose with tin foil then put the heat tape flat on the hose, not wrapped around it then covered in the foam. I duck tapped a lot. This year I had an extra heat tape so I used two one coming from the well side and another coming from the coach side. One was a 18 ft heat tape and the other was a 12 ft heat tape. The hose was 25ft. I also use a 18 foot heat tape on the camp well and wrap that in installation. I have all that hooked up to a Thermal Cube to only come on when 35 degrees. All three heat tapes plugged into the camp 110 GFI protected outlet. One of my heat tapes had a small cut in and kept popping the GFI plug and freezing my hose.

Fortunately my water hook up on my Diesel Pusher was close to the well, so I bought a 10 ft hose, and used my one good heat tape and had no problems. Again I did not wrap around the hose. Since the hose was short, it stayed off the ground so it didn't get buried by snow. We had a couple of nights down in negatives in Jersey and I had no problems.

Now I bought a new 5er and the water hook up is at the front. New Heat Tapes are hard to find toward the end of this cold winter, so I am struggling a bit.

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