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Old 10-12-2019, 11:03 PM   #1
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What exactly does the "Arctic Kit" do?

Our GT5 is supposed to have one but I can't find any documentation on it. I know the tanks have aluminum insulation panels around them that have the heating elements embedded in them and they are supposed to switch on around 45 degrees via the Precision Plex system. I also know the "elbows" at the dump valves have heating pads on them. Is there anything else?

I know some manufacturers duct heated air from the propane furnace into the basement compartments but it doesn't look like Forest River does that. It's 39 degrees outside and the furnace is running so I went outside and there definitely is no heated airflow in the wet bay.

There is some foil insulation visible on the aft wall of the wet bay and there are hot water lines running through the wet bay so there probably is some imparted heat from those. (Our wet bay is directly under the shower in the driver's side rear corner.) It looks like a holding tank or two is also exposed inside the wet bay so I suppose some of the heat from any water in those tanks will help keep things in the wet bay a bit warmer.

Does anyone know if there is anything else for protection from freezing weather?

Thanks,

Ray
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Old 10-14-2019, 07:54 AM   #2
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my understanding is that the arctic kit as installed by most manufactures is mainly the tank heaters. Some underfloor heat is provided by the heating ducts that do not have insulation around them like a stick house and thus radiate some heat. Some say they add more insulation.
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Old 10-14-2019, 03:47 PM   #3
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We've also got those black plastic panels on the inside of some compartment doors. When you open a door with water valves (and the water pump) behind it, there's a full-size black plastic panel with large round removable "plugs" that you can unscrew and reach through to access the valves. I suspect those are there to trap some of the underfloor heat in that area.

I wish they had tapped into that propane furnace heat duct that runs under the shower and goes into the rear bath and added a "Y" and run a 1" or 2" duct to dump heated air into the wet bay. It would have been easy to accomplish during manufacture but pretty tough with the shower in place.

We ordered ours and added dual pane windows but those are not part of the Arctic Kit. Because, you know, there is never any heat loss through windows...

But yes, "Arctic Kit" seems to be an undefined advertising term.

Ray
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Old 10-14-2019, 03:54 PM   #4
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It can extend the camping season a few weeks by adding tank heaters but it does not make it a 4 season camper if you live in the northern part of the country.
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Old 10-14-2019, 03:55 PM   #5
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Regarding "What exactly does the "Arctic Kit" do?"


Don't get in the habit of using the term "exactly" in the RV industry! I doubt if any two are made exactly alike!
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Old 10-14-2019, 05:51 PM   #6
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Regarding "What exactly does the "Arctic Kit" do?"


Don't get in the habit of using the term "exactly" in the RV industry! I doubt if any two are made exactly alike!
Indeed.

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Old 10-14-2019, 06:04 PM   #7
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It can extend the camping season a few weeks by adding tank heaters but it does not make it a 4 season camper if you live in the northern part of the country.
We're in Ohio and hope to use it through November. We usually have snow before Halloween but usually do not get significant snowfall and super cold temps until January. Usually. Occasionally the local ski areas open for Thanksgiving but the past few years they haven't been able to open until January.

We keep the motorhome in the driveway and have a 50-amp power outlet. If it's going to get ugly I can blow the lines and tanks out but would prefer to not have to until the end. With it plugged in I can keep the propane furnace on and the Blink XT2 security cameras report the inside temperature. Some pipe foam on the low point drains should help as well.

I'm toying with the idea of adding some foam board to the outside sides and bottom of the wet bay but I doubt it would stay in place when driving and after it gets road spray on it. The Georgetown compartment doors have about an inch of foam on them so that's good.

I have a little "weather station" and keep the outside air temp sensor in the propane tank area because the bottom is open. I moved it to the wet bay today but it's only reading three degrees warmer.

It's been in the low 40's and mid 30's at night on this trip and I haven't felt any cold air blowing in past any seals, fan vents or through/around the dual pane windows. So far we're pretty pleased with the cold weather usage. Well, except for that whole "the furnace fan self-destructed" thing.

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Old 10-14-2019, 06:21 PM   #8
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"We're in Ohio and hope to use it through November. We usually have snow before Halloween but usually do not get significant snowfall and super cold temps until January. Usually. Occasionally the local ski areas open for Thanksgiving but the past few years they haven't been able to open until January."

Really? There are ski areas in Ohio? At what elevation?
I had no idea.
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Old 10-14-2019, 06:21 PM   #9
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NXR, You've Hit Every Question On My Daily List!

We are north of Syracuse NY and are going to go to the kids outside Milwalkee WI for Thanksgiving and the thunder run south on black Friday. My question is similar to yours. What can the Georgetown (any model) with the arctic kit and dual pane windows sustain for temps? My main question is: What do you do to help (run furnace don't de-wineterize until south, ect ect?) and keep from having problems? Any advice on this is appreciated. I've live thru a NY winter in a 40ft Cardinal more than a decade ago. Not sure with the motorhome and the enclosed underbelly
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Old 10-14-2019, 07:14 PM   #10
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Really? There are ski areas in Ohio? At what elevation? I had no idea.
Oh, yes. See https://www.bmbw.com/trail-maps/ for the ones about 40 minutes from us. We're about 1,000 feet above sea level and their biggest hill adds over 250 feet to that.

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Old 10-15-2019, 12:19 PM   #11
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Arctic kit includes heating pads around all the holding tanks to keep them from freezing. It works on 110 volts and when turned on it activates when the temperature drops to just above freezing.
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Old 10-15-2019, 01:31 PM   #12
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Oh, yes. See https://www.bmbw.com/trail-maps/ for the ones about 40 minutes from us. We're about 1,000 feet above sea level and their biggest hill adds over 250 feet to that.

Ray
Were in the “snow belt” and get a lot of snow. Our house sits at 1252’ above sea level.
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Old 10-15-2019, 01:41 PM   #13
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Arctic kit includes heating pads around all the holding tanks to keep them from freezing. It works on 110 volts and when turned on it activates when the temperature drops to just above freezing.
My heating pads are not “around all the holding tanks” but are merely ~12”x18” rectangles stuck to the bottoms of tanks. Mine are not powered by 120vAC as far as I know but are 12vDC.
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Old 10-15-2019, 04:21 PM   #14
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What can the Georgetown (any model) with the arctic kit and dual pane windows sustain for temps? My main question is: What do you do to help (run furnace don't de-wineterize until south, ect ect?) and keep from having problems?
I can answer a few of these since we have dual-pane windows:

With the GT5 and a non-functional propane furnace, the 1,500 watt electric heater called "fireplace" will keep the 34H5 main living area at 60 degrees when it's 35 degrees outside and 65 degrees when it's 40 outside. The bedroom was somewhat colder. We are going to start carrying a 750/1,500 watt electric heater for those just-in-case situations. That would have made the last two nights much more enjoyable.

The Airxcel air conditioner/heat pumps do shut themselves off around 45 to 47 degrees. They will automatically turn the propane furnace on, until the furnace fan self-destructs, that is.

If you have a queen-sized bed at home, do yourself a big favor and buy some blankets and comforters that fit a residential king-sized bed. Yes, there was a lot of "contention" for the queen-sized blankets.

We bought a 20" x 35" shaggy rug from K Mart and put it under the dinette. It makes that floor much nicer even if the furnace is working.

We bought a runner in Beige and 2' x 10' length and set it in front of the bed. It reaches from the rear bath to the half-bath. We also bought it in 13' and that one reaches from the entryway to the half-bath. I'm going to buy a 7' one to put in front of the kitchen sink. After we vacuum them with a Dyson battery vac (Animal 8+) we roll them up and store them under the dinette seats. https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

The temperature of the wet bay is maybe 3 degrees warmer than the outside air temp so don't count on it staying warm by itself. (The propane furnace was inop so maybe that would help a little).

If it's going super-cold, consider "walking" the sewer hose to get standing water out of it.

If it's going to get cold, turn on the Tank Heaters hours earlier so they will heat the mass of water in each tank. That should help them withstand the cold more. Be certain the tanks are not empty. This is one time when "more stuff" is better.

HTH,

Ray
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Old 10-16-2019, 12:38 PM   #15
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i've boondocked down to 13 more than once no problems. heater 68 and artic package on hot water tank lit.nice hot shower .about 2 am start generator floor is nice and warm. over 20 and i don't use artic package just heater.keep slides in when its realy cold.
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Old 10-16-2019, 01:39 PM   #16
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i've boondocked down to 13 more than once no problems. heater 68 and artic package on hot water tank lit.nice hot shower .about 2 am start generator floor is nice and warm. over 20 and i don't use artic package just heater.keep slides in when its realy cold.
What year and model do you have?

The only way I'd boondock at 13 degrees on purpose would be if we're talking Celsius degrees instead of Fahrenheit degrees.

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Old 10-17-2019, 09:54 AM   #17
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........
I wish they had tapped into that propane furnace heat duct that runs under the shower and goes into the rear bath and added a "Y" and run a 1" or 2" duct to dump heated air into the wet bay. It would have been easy to accomplish during manufacture but pretty tough with the shower in place.
........
Ray

My 2011 Georrgetown 327DS has a "T" tap on the bedroom duct, under the shower, that feeds warm air into the wet bay.


While the idea is good, the implementation is bad. The bedroom duct has the longest run from the furnace and would therefore have the lowest air flow. The tap for the wet bay takes at least 70% of the duct's flow leaving little for the bedroom. The bathroom duct is located in the same area and would have been a much better choice for the wet bay tap. As it is, there's way too much hot air going into the bathroom.


Phil
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Old 10-17-2019, 12:46 PM   #18
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My 2011 Georrgetown 327DS has a "T" tap on the bedroom duct, under the shower, that feeds warm air into the wet bay.

While the idea is good, the implementation is bad. The bedroom duct has the longest run from the furnace and would therefore have the lowest air flow. The tap for the wet bay takes at least 70% of the duct's flow leaving little for the bedroom. The bathroom duct is located in the same area and would have been a much better choice for the wet bay tap. As it is, there's way too much hot air going into the bathroom.

Phil
That's interesting. We have five propane furnace outlets: two in the main living area right at the furnace, one in the half-bath also right at the furnace, one at the foot of the bed, and one under the shower in the rear bath. We have plenty of hot air coming out the one in the bedroom and in the one in the rear bath, enough to keep the floor warm by them.

Ray

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Old 11-15-2019, 11:10 AM   #19
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Cold weather follow-up

It's been dropping into the low 20's and high teens at night around here and we have the motorhome in the driveway and plugged in. A few "Arctic Kit" observations:
  • Because the wet bay only stayed about 3 degrees above the outside air temperature, I added a 250 watt mini electric heater into the wet bay. It's sitting on a block of wood to keep its safety switch on the bottom pushed in due to the ribs in the compartment floor.

    The heater is 120 VAC and I'm powering it with a 16 gauge extension cord run out the wet bay opening, underneath to the next compartment forward (the electrical bay) and back in. The extension cord runs through the pass-through section to the passenger side and plugs into the factory-installed outlet on that side.

    I originally ran the heater continuously on its Low setting, which I presume is 125 watts. It would keep the wet bay at 50 degrees when it was 35 degrees outside. The heater is a Honeywell Heat Bud, about $20: https://www.amazon.com/Honeywell-HCE...-garden&sr=1-3

    I was a bit leery of running the Heat Bud continuously because that cheapo thing probably was not designed for a 100% duty cycle, even on Low, so I bought a Thermo Cube and plugged the heater into it. The Thermo Cube is a three-outlet adapter and turns the outlets on at 35 degrees and turns them off at 45 degrees. While the Thermo Cube adds another point of failure I feel it is worth the risk over the heater failing due to running all the time. I did switch the Heat Bud to its High setting for a faster recovery time.

    I put my weather station remote temperature sensor in the wet bay at the rear outside corner. The Heat Bud is close to the forward outside corner. The temp sensor confirms the wet bay has never gone below freezing even when it got down to 11 degrees one night.

  • The second area of concern is the water pump compartment. Although it has a holding tank as its inside wall and the tank heaters are on and has the foil insulation and the black plastic wall to help keep heat in, the weather station remote sensor showed its temperature only stays about 10 degrees above the outside air temperature.

    Running the pump for normal uses does keep the water in that area from chilling too much and some of the lines are clear so you can see if they have water or ice in them.

    Since this is a fairly small area I'm not sure how a supplemental heater could be installed or powered. If nothing else I suppose you could pack some fiberglass insulation in the holes to help retain the heat. I don't think this would be a concern until it got colder than I would want to camp in, though.

  • We are now carrying a floor space heater in the basement, a 1,500/750 watt unit, due to that furnace blower failure we experienced in 35 degree weather. To keep from using too much propane I can set it in the rear bathroom to help keep that area warmer and to help keep the bathroom warmer.

    We do run the propane furnace because the rear bath duct runs underneath the shower and will help warm those water lines.

FWIW,

Ray
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Old 11-15-2019, 04:07 PM   #20
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Just to be clear....

Good discussion and I appreciate the insight.

Just to be clear, if the fresh water tank has been drained and lines blown out and the Grey and Black holding tanks have been emptied and RV antifreeze has been added to each (about one gallon to black and the same in P-traps where some should have made its way to the gray tank), would it be a good idea to turn on the Arctic Pac and leave it on?

Our unit is stored inside an unheated barn/garage in NW New Mexico (where we have already had temps dip below 20F degrees.

Is the Arctic Pac made to be left on continuously in cold weather? As was stated elsewhere in this thread, there was no documentation when the coach was purchased new.
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