I know you have been waiting on eggshells for this very exciting how-to on making your own heated water hose. However, since it is already February it is quite possible that it is too late into the winter for this information to be very helpful to you this year. (That is unless you have really procrastinated, or your existing heated hose has quit on you.) I do hope my that delay has not left you holding a frozen hose. If so, here is how to solve the issue.
Shall we get started? First you will need a heat tape of the appropriate length. I usually like my heat tape to be approximately a foot or two longer than my water hose. This year I’m parked close enough to my water hook-up that I am using a 10 foot water hose. Therefore, I ordered a 12 foot heat tape. The extra footage allows for wrapping the hose in a slight spiral, attaching to any connection fittings, pressure regulators and ground connection pipes as may be needed.
You can use a water hose you already have on hand or purchase a new one. I prefer to remove the heated hose for the summer months, thus I opt to buy a new hose. If you need a new hose, I recommend this one I ordered from Amazon. The quality is much better than the previous hose I had purchased locally.
Now you are wondering why the label is in French. Don’t ask me. Maybe that day I was feeling fancy. Haha. You will also need electrical tape, scissors, and pipe insulation. Be careful when purchasing the pipe insulation. The really cheap pipe wrap foam you will find at Wal-mart, or basically anywhere for a few dollars is NOT the kind you want. It will not hold up and is not safe for use with the heat tape. You want the better grade of rubber foam pipe tubing. You can usually find this at Home Depot or Lowe’s. It costs slightly more, but still isn’t terribly expensive. The insulation usually comes in 6 ft long tubes. Be sure to get one with a big enough diameter to fit comfortably around your hose and heat tape. 3/4″ to 1.5″ should usually work. The self seal strips on these insulation tubes work well, and the flexibility of the foam works easily with the curves of a water hose.
I will mention that you can wrap the hose before it is in place then attach it to the connections. However, I have found that I prefer wrapping it in place. This way I can easily know how much I need at the starting end for covering my elbow connection adapter at the TinCan. I start at the connection on the RV side and work my way to the water source connection. Forgive me for my substitute photo here. When wrapping my hose I got straight into the project and forgot to stop and take photos of the actual heat tape wrap portion of the work. The photo below is actually from when I helped my cousin with hers.
Wrap the heat tape in a long spiral around the hose attaching the tape to the hose with electrical tape approximately every foot. If there are any areas where the hose curves and the heat tape wants to separate from it add tape in these spots too. The key is to have the tape to fit snuggly against the hose. The smoother the attachment is, the easier it will be to install the foam insulation in the next step. (Additional note here: my neighbor said he wraps his water hose with aluminum foil before attaching the heat tape to conduct the heat more evenly around the hose. I have not tried this myself so I cannot comment on whether it makes a big difference or not. I may try it the next time I need to replace my hose. If so, I will share what I find out here.)
At this point before final sealing of the insulation pieces to each other, I realized I forgot the in progress photos. Oops! The self seal seam on these tubes works far too well for me to have removed them after the fact. So here is a peek-a-boo glimpse of my hose.
Notice the heat tape extended around my pressure regulator to the ground water connection.
I take the insulation tube right up past the TinCan’s connection enclosing the elbow connector along with the hose.
Next, seal any joints between insulation tubes and run a strip of tape over the self-sealed seam for added protection. Be sure to pay close attention to any areas where the insulation is tending to bend or kink. Add tape for reinforcement at any of these areas. Seal the ends of the foam with electrical tape.
For added protection you can add one of those foam water faucet covers over this section. I’m not sure it is needed, but I normally add the faucet cover to keep ice from the top of the insulation and hose.
Finally, plug in your heat tape and relax knowing you will not be waking to a frozen water hose and instead of coffee and a hot shower.
Happy winter & Happy wrapping!