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Ice water is great in restaurants. Super refreshing on a hot summer day. Not nearly as much fun frozen in your drinking water hose when the only thing you want in the world is a hot cup of coffee.
Let’s work together to make sure that doesn’t happen. We’re going to build a heated fresh water hose.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- A hose rated for drinking water
- Heat tape rated for your length hose
- Aluminum foil
- Electrical tape
- Pipe insulation
- Gorilla tape
We used a 25ft drinking hose and a 30 ft heat tape. The extra length of heat tape keeps our filter extension warm. We gave the filter extension hose the exact same treatment as our 25ft hose.
First we wrapped the entire hose in aluminum foil. We used the electrical tape to hold it in place. I know, I know…it sounds weird. All I know is that you have to wrap the entire thing before you can do anything else. I think the purpose is to more evenly disperse the heat from the heat tape. Don’t quote me on that though. We watched a bajillion (slight exaggeration) instructional videos and they all wrapped with aluminum foil. So we did too. And it works great. This is actually the second heated hose that we’ve built. We built one down in Texas too but I didn’t have a good way to transport it back then so it got dismantled in the Spring.
Now it’s time to attach the heat tape. It’s important to take your time here. Think about how your hose attaches and which end you want to plug in. You’ll notice that I have a 45 degree attachment to my hose. This helps it hang nicer from the side of the rig and takes some of the strain off. I want this to stay warm too so I taped the end of the tape there and then worked my way down the hose to the spigot end.
See how I made an effort to straighten the hose out? You don’t want the heat tape to twist around itself. Just lay it flat against the hose and tape it straight along the entire length.
After the entire hose wrapped in aluminum foil and lined with heat tape, it’s time to put on its winter coat. In this case, that’s pipe insulation. You can find these at all of the big box hardware stores. They look like grey pool noodles with a slit in the middle. Just slide the entire hose through the slit and then peel off the yellow paper so it stays closed. If you are using a 45 degree connection like I am, it’s a good idea to get the little foam hood attachment for that too.
Next, we gave the whole thing a set of armor. We’re pretty rough and tumble with our gear and it gets shoved in the bed of the truck every two or three weeks. I didn’t want the foam getting torn up so I wrapped the entire thing in Gorilla Tape. I love this stuff. I also wrapped the 45 degree connection but didn’t go the entire way around it. I just layered enough Gorilla tape over the outside edges to protect it while still allowing us to move that hood bit when we connect and disconnect from the camper.
And that’s it! Leave the thermostat portion of the hose out to so it can turn the hose on when it gets cold and so you can plug it in when you get to your next campsite. Once it’s all wrapped up, it actually doesn’t look too shabby. And I’m happy to report…no frozen hoses this year! Stay tuned to find out how we insulated the water filter.