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Old 12-09-2013, 12:40 PM   #1
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Winter Camping in 2011 378

We leave New England each winter and travel south to get out of the cold weather but this year Mother Nature played a cruel trick on the Dallas Fort Worth area and we have been iced in since Thursday (this is Monday) and the roads are still impassable. A lot of this is due to the folks down here not having a clue on how to clear ice but that gets away for the story.

We had been on the road for a couple of weeks and running the refrigerator water and ice maker, etc. Happy trails, then this happened we are camping in temperatures down to 9 degrees. I put heat tape on the water hose and had previously added a little extra insulation in the water supply compartment and water tank area. I have a temperature sensor in the water supply compartment and with the Arctic PAC running the compartment never got below 39 degrees. No freeze up and what really surprised us is that using the fireplace and a small supplemental electric heater the gas furnace very rarely came on, even at 10 degrees.

I have to admit that this coach is pretty darned snug and draft free. What also was a surprise is that the waterline to the ice maker never froze, that compartment must make quite a bit of heat from the refrigerator. So good job Forest River, this coach really passes the winter camping test. Note that in our previous coach (brandX) we almost froze in 20 degree weather and used propane like it was going out of style.

Happy and snug in a 378 sitting in the froze wastelands of Fort Worth.
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Old 12-09-2013, 04:24 PM   #2
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Had to replace the refer water valve for the ice maker/water in the door and found that the valve had a little heat blanket wrapped around it and is powered by the ArticPac.
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Old 12-09-2013, 07:22 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by JimF View Post
We leave New England each winter and travel south to get out of the cold weather but this year Mother Nature played a cruel trick on the Dallas Fort Worth area and we have been iced in since Thursday (this is Monday) and the roads are still impassable. A lot of this is due to the folks down here not having a clue on how to clear ice but that gets away for the story.

We had been on the road for a couple of weeks and running the refrigerator water and ice maker, etc. Happy trails, then this happened we are camping in temperatures down to 9 degrees. I put heat tape on the water hose and had previously added a little extra insulation in the water supply compartment and water tank area. I have a temperature sensor in the water supply compartment and with the Arctic PAC running the compartment never got below 39 degrees. No freeze up and what really surprised us is that using the fireplace and a small supplemental electric heater the gas furnace very rarely came on, even at 10 degrees.

I have to admit that this coach is pretty darned snug and draft free. What also was a surprise is that the waterline to the ice maker never froze, that compartment must make quite a bit of heat from the refrigerator. So good job Forest River, this coach really passes the winter camping test. Note that in our previous coach (brandX) we almost froze in 20 degree weather and used propane like it was going out of style.

Happy and snug in a 378 sitting in the froze wastelands of Fort Worth.

Do you have the ArticPac switch on?
Maybe you don't even have it.
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Old 12-10-2013, 10:34 AM   #4
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I'm curios...does the artic pack include heating pads on the fresh water tank as well as the waste water? Seems redundant if the fresh tank is heated by the arctic pack since that area in a heated bay (in our coach anyway).

In our 2014 GT 351 we too find that a space heater is quite adequate for keeping it toasty inside. My only concern is when it gets down in teens and below to make sure the furnace will still kick on periodically in order to circulate warm air down to the basement, but sounds like you fared quite well with your approach so that's great.
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Old 12-12-2013, 11:58 AM   #5
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I'm curios...does the artic pack include heating pads on the fresh water tank as well as the waste water? Seems redundant if the fresh tank is heated by the arctic pack since that area in a heated bay (in our coach anyway). In our 2014 GT 351 we too find that a space heater is quite adequate for keeping it toasty inside. My only concern is when it gets down in teens and below to make sure the furnace will still kick on periodically in order to circulate warm air down to the basement, but sounds like you fared quite well with your approach so that's great.
Our unit does indeed have an arctic pack, as stated in my original post and it also has heating pads on the fresh water supply tank as well as furnace heat in the tank area. The heat from the furnace also goes into a tube run from one side of the coach to the other. The tube contains all the hot and cold water lines from the fresh water tank and water heater. The only weak point is that the water inlet side where the water fill and water filter is located does not have direct furnace heat. That is where the additional insulation and arctic pack come into to play. With the arctic pack on and the furnace set to a low comfortable level the holding tanks hold heat above freezing (in this case about 39 degrees) when the outside temp is 10 degrees. We did find that the holding tank valves need to be shut so there is water in the waste tanks so the arctic pack is not heating a dry tank. We also found that with the grey water valve open cold is transmitted up the sewer line hose into an empty tank which resulted in much lower tank temperature readings even in higher outside temperature ranges, i.e., last night it only got down to 20 outside and with the arctic pack off and holding tank open the reading was 34 this morning. The previous night it got down to 20 and with the tank valve closed and the arctic pack off the tank temp stayed at 38.

For what it's worth..
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Old 12-12-2013, 12:36 PM   #6
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Ok I'm curious...how are you measuring holding tank temps?
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Old 12-12-2013, 05:36 PM   #7
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Ok I'm curious...how are you measuring holding tank temps?
I use an indoor/outdoor thermometer and place the outside sensor in the compartment beside the water filter. Have it held on with Velcro. It does a good job.
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Old 12-12-2013, 05:50 PM   #8
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I use an indoor/outdoor thermometer and place the outside sensor in the compartment beside the water filter. Have it held on with Velcro. It does a good job.
Oh, ok. I monitor temps in that compartment too. But that's for temps in the compartment, not necessarily the temp of the holding tanks. In ours there is a small heat pad from the arctic pack on both elbows of the waste lines right before the valves in that compartment, so if they arctic pack is "on", that generates a little heat in that compartment.

-Mike
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Old 12-13-2013, 04:40 PM   #9
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We are in Id and the temps have gotten to -8 and a high of 14 and what I have had to do is place in each compartment where pump is and the holding tank dumps/water filter is a small personal space heater draws 2 amp each and runs off 110. My temps in these compartments stay approx. 60 degrees, some may feel that's two high but better safe than sorry. Only issue I have had is the cold water line to the hot water tank has frozen but a simply drop light on the side takes care of that problem. good to -10 now that I know of. Problem was the sub zero temps and the high in the teens caused the air around the hot water tank to get so cold, it does freeze where the valve is on the fill side of H/W tank. Just food for thought to anyone that wants to camp in winter weather. Also block off 2 of the3 vents for the refer.
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Old 12-13-2013, 10:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Had to replace the refer water valve for the ice maker/water in the door and found that the valve had a little heat blanket wrapped around it and is powered by the ArticPac.
I also had to have that valve replaced. Two years ago in the spring after returning from TX we had a cold snap and the Georgetown was in storage.
When I discovered that water was leaking from under the fridge and could not find where it was not coming from I shut of the water to the fridge. Last winter in AZ I took it Lazy Days in Tucson to have the noisy fans on the fridge replaced. I also had them look for the leak and found the broken valve and I had it replaced. They did not do a good job putting the heat blanket back on.
There are only a bunch of wires kind of hanging there with little bit of foil wrap.
I tried getting information from Forest River about a replacement and they directed me to Dometic and they told me it was not their part it and it must be aftermarket. I have given up on it and drained it and will probably leave it discounted.
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