When Should I Turn On My RV Tank Heaters?

When Should I Turn On My RV Tank Heaters

Published Date: October 17, 2020

Last Updated on June 22, 2023 by Camper Front

Some people love to stay in their motorhomes in all seasons. This is good, but you have to always prepare your motorhome for each season that comes by. When the winter season comes, you need to winterize your motorhome, and when summer comes, you also need to de-winterize the rig.

One of the most important things to do when winterizing a rig is adding antifreeze to the plumbing system. Also, turning on the RV tank heaters is necessary – it would help prevent the tanks from freezing out due to cold weather.

But, people have asked, “when should I turn on my RV tank heaters?” that’s what we will explain in this article.

When Should I Turn On My RV Tank Heaters?

It’s very simple to say – you should turn on the RV tank heaters when the outside temperature drops to freezing point (especially in the winter season). Tank heaters are almost of no use when the temperature outside is normal or during hot seasons (summer).

RV tank heaters are specially built for motorhomes; they work similarly to typical heating pads and electric blankets. However, not all RVs/Motorhomes require tank heaters to prevent the holding tanks from freezing in the cold weather season.

If you’re camping out at a location where you can’t access mobile signals – you will need a thermometer to monitor the outside temperature, which will help you to know when the tank heaters should be powered.

Water freezes at 32oF, 0oC, or 273.15 Kelvin. So, you have to be vigilant (watch out for weather forecasts or use thermometers) to know when your RV tank heaters should be turned on.

Also, before you turn on RV tank heaters, ensure that the tank(s) contain water inside; you should heat an empty tank – that can cause expensive damage. Instead, you can pour antifreeze into the empty holding tanks – they also help to prevent RV tanks from freezing due to cold weather.

How To Use RV Tank Heaters

How To Use RV Tank Heaters

Apparently, you should be provided with a user manual on how to use the RV tank heater you just bought. Basically, you will need to connect the heater to a socket where it can get the AC current to heat up your tanks.

You will need to contact the manufacturer to confirm the temperature settings and how to go about monitoring the heaters’ performance. However, generally, if you use RV tank heaters, you’ll need to carry out close monitoring to know when you should shut them off.

Also, it is important to know that RV tank heaters can drain your battery quite quickly than you expect. RV tank heaters utilize up to 11.8 amps (depending on the size).

Your RV user manual should contain details about the tank heater(s) installed on your rig. But if you can’t find such information in the manual, you should look up the manufacturer’s website or contact support.


Hopefully, you now know when you should turn on your RV tank heater. You should do that when the outside temperature dips to the freezing point, and there’s water/liquid in your holding tanks.

If you had emptied your rig’s holding tanks for winter and added RV antifreeze, there’s no need for heating the tanks.

Hence, summarily, we’d advise that you stick with the temperature settings indicated in the manual. Else, you may damage the holding tanks, and that could cost a huge sum to fix up.

Motorhome getaways can be full of excitement, but then, you need to stick with the necessary precautions to keep your RV in good shape in all seasons.

If this article answered your question, it’d be awesome if you share it with other RVers!

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