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When Should I Turn On My RV Tank Heaters?

    Updated December 11, 2022

    Some folks enjoy spending time in their RVs year-round. This is fantastic, but you must always get your RV ready for the changing seasons. You must winterize your RV before the winter months arrive, and you must de-winterize it before the summer months. The addition of antifreeze to the plumbing system during winterization is one of the most crucial steps. In order to keep the tanks from freezing due to the cold weather, it is also required to turn on the RV tank heaters.

    Some RV owners start winterizing and getting ready to store their camper as the colder months get near. Nevertheless, some people choose to continue traveling in their RV during the winter and around the holidays. You might be thinking that this is a terrific way to get the most out of your camper, but how will you prevent the tanks from freezing during this time? You might occasionally have tank heaters in your RV. If so, you might want to know how long and when to leave them on. The majority of tank heaters are automatic, turning on when the outside temperature reaches a predetermined level and turning off when the temperature rises.

    What Is A RV Tank Heater?

    Consider how an electric blanket functions while thinking about your RV holding tank heater. When it’s cold outside and you need heat, you turn on the blanket. Once the heat is no longer required as the temperature rises, you turn it off. The idea behind holding tank heaters for RVs is essentially the same. You turn on the tank heater to warm the tank and pipes during cold weather when the tank requires heat, preventing the contents from freezing.

    The temperature of the holding tank should be around 40 degrees Fahrenheit for the thermostatically controlled heating pad to start heating, and it should shut off at 65 degrees Fahrenheit, give or take a few degrees. You switch off the heaters when the surrounding temperature rises or you empty the holding tanks.

    When Should I Turn On My RV Tank Heaters?

    The RV tank heaters should be turned on when the outside temperature reaches the freezing threshold, which is a very straightforward statement (especially in the winter season). When the ambient temperature is normal or during the summer, tank heaters are practically useless (summer).

    Tank heaters for RVs are designed specifically for motorhomes and function similarly to standard heating pads and electric blankets. Tank warmers are not necessary for all RVs and motorhomes, though, in order to keep the holding tanks from freezing throughout the winter.

    A thermometer is necessary if you’re camping in an area without cell service because it will allow you to keep track of the outside temperature and determine when to turn on the tank heaters. At 32°F, 0°C, or 273.15 Kelvin, water freezes. To know when to turn on your RV tank heaters, you must be watchful (keep an eye on weather forecasts or utilize thermometers).

    Additionally, be sure the tank(s) inside contain water before turning on the RV tank heaters; heating an empty tank could result in costly damage. As an alternative, you might add antifreeze to the empty holding tanks; this would assist keep the RV tanks from freezing in the winter.

    How To Use RV Tank Heaters

    Apparently, the RV tank heater you recently purchased should come with a user manual. In order to heat your tanks, you must essentially connect the heater to a socket where it can receive AC electricity. To find out the temperature settings and how to keep track of the heaters’ functioning, get in touch with the manufacturer. However, in general, you’ll need to keep constant watch if you utilize RV tank warmers to know when to turn them off.

    Additionally, you should be aware that RV tank warmers can quickly deplete your battery. Up to 11.8 amps are required for RV tank warmers (depending on the size). Information regarding the tank heater(s) that are currently installed in your RV should be available in the user handbook. However, if you can’t locate it in the handbook, you should check the manufacturer’s website or get in touch with customer service.

    Can I Leave My RV Tank Heater On All The Time?

    Another frequent query from RV and camper owners is whether the heater in the tank can be left on continuously. If you’re traveling in the dead of winter or during subfreezing temps, you might want to take this into account. If a heater isn’t necessary, you shouldn’t run it; nevertheless, if the temperature is low enough, you should run the heater continuously.

    If using a heater is the only way to keep your tanks from freezing, you should do so because they are built to last for the number of hours that are required of them. However, it is extremely rare that your heater will need to run nonstop even in the dead of winter, therefore it is advisable to switch it off when not needed in order to conserve energy. If your RV tank heater is automatic, it will switch on and off based on the temperature. You won’t have to worry about turning the heater off or on in time to prevent the tank from freezing this way.

    Despite the fact that many RV owners have left their heaters on for extended periods of time without experiencing any problems, it is possible for your heater to overheat, which might be a severe problem for anyone planning to travel during the winter season. If you intend to travel over the holidays, it is a good idea to always have at least one gallon of RV antifreeze on hand. Your sole resource to prevent your tanks from freezing over could be antifreeze.

    Technically, you could leave your RV water tank heater on for as long as you like, to answer your question. There aren’t any significant issues or cautions against doing this. To discover whether there are any cautions regarding operating the heater for extended periods of time, you might wish to examine your instructions. Just bear in mind that, while it is perfectly acceptable to do so, running the heater continuously may not always be a wise choice that would benefit your tank.

    Will A RV Tank Heater Drain The Battery?

    We are all aware of how quickly a car’s battery may discharge, especially in the event of an unintentional electrical pull or when the lights are left on. So, you might be concerned about the ability of your RV’s batteries to withstand a tank heater. When in operation, tank heaters do consume energy, which means your battery may become discharged. The size, condition, and duration of the heater operation are some of the variables that affect how long the battery will last before it runs out.

    Your holding tanks will be kept safe from freezing temperatures if you keep the RV’s battery charged. By dividing the heater’s amps by the battery’s Ah rating, you may estimate how long your battery will survive. However, that shouldn’t be a problem if you’re using shore power.