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Old 11-10-2016, 10:23 AM   #1
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How cold is too cold?

I am pretty sure I know the answer but I need a real experienced answer.
I live NE of Atlanta and have planned two more camping trips this year. The weekend of 11/19 and 12/3. After these two trips I will winterize.
Is there any reason to really be concerned with temps here in Georgia during this time? We have a couple of potential frost warnings but it would not stay cold for long. I drain off the tanks after every trip as well.

Thanks for the informed answers from this board!!
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Old 11-10-2016, 10:32 AM   #2
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You need several hours of sub-freezing temperatures before you really have to start worrying. If you want some insurance, just use an air compressor and blow out your water lines between trips. This only takes a few minutes.
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Old 11-10-2016, 11:12 AM   #3
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Thank you!
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Old 11-10-2016, 12:38 PM   #4
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I do not worry unless it gets below 28 for more than 8-10 hours.
Remember, just because the outside temperature gets below freezing for a few hours, it doesn't instantly freeze inside your RV.
I have a wireless remote temperature sensor inside my RV that I can monitor from inside the house. I often see temps 5-8 degrees warmer in the camper than the outside temperatures.

As mentioned, if you still have concern, either just drain the plumbing or run the furnace or a space heater inside your RV set on low. We often extend our season (with plenty of below freezing temps) by several weeks to a month by doing this.
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Old 11-10-2016, 02:13 PM   #5
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This is the definitive answer to your question however it's
rather embarrassing. When we were new to this RV business,
we hauled our trailer (not an FR product - I learned my lesson
after that) from Canada to North Florida & across to Texas.
When we got to San Antonio, TX I didn't winterize. After all
we're in the south right? and in Texas. That winter was the
coldest in Texas in 50 years. Some of the street water mains
froze and broke (they are only down a foot below ground).
Anyways our trailer's waterline froze and water was running out the front. That happened about mid-day. You'd think it would happen over night.
Upon inspection the water line at the faucet popped out on the
cold side. The HWT was turned off & in bypass.
That was the only damage & that was after about a day
of -25F to -30F. So you need consistently cold weather During
The Day not just overnight & you probably don't want to be
camping when it's that cold anyways. Ask at the CG what the
overnight temperature will be.
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Old 11-10-2016, 02:50 PM   #6
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Ian, I suspect maybe something got lost in the conversion of your temperatures being from Ontario?

The OP asked about concerns with 'frost' warnings.
Water freezes at 32F so frost warnings are typically issued when the temps will get close that mark for a few hours.

-25F and -30F temperatures are usually designated as temperatures which are below 0F.
So, -25F and -30F would be an additional 57 or 62 colder than the freezing mark. (32)

If you actually experienced those severe, negative numbers in Texas, it is no wonder the water mains froze one foot below the surface and you had problems with your camper. That is extremely cold weather for the United States let alone Texas.
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Old 11-10-2016, 05:10 PM   #7
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Atlanta in the winter Some years ago we were there for the fall NASCAR race. It was around 32deg or a bit lower and the water pipes in our motor home froze up just take the time to winterize you can also blow the lines out with air. and if you have washer prep hooked up or not get the water out of both lines.
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Old 11-10-2016, 09:11 PM   #8
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How much more time or lower temperature do the ArticPac's buy you? (I think that is what they are called.) Apparently my new coach is equipped with them as there is a switch that lights up when poked and says it will come on at 40 degrees. Have not seen them mentioned. This is a 2014 Georgetown 270s.
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Old 11-10-2016, 09:57 PM   #9
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I grew up in Birmingham, AL, and now live slightly NW of Memphis in Arkansas, so I'm speaking from experience with our (shared) Southern climate. Unless we have sudden unseasonably and uncharacteristically cold weather you'll most likely be fine through mid Dec. It's looking like we're having one of "those" years where we can continue to sit out on the deck and drink margaritas through Christmas But as you know, there have also been years when we've gone to Nashville for Thanksgiving, and it was entirely too cold to camp. So it remains to be seen how long this mild weather lasts.

I'm personally not going to worry as long as it stays above 28 at night and continues to warm into the 60s during the day. When it ceases to do that, I'll start blowing out the lines between trips and/or winterize temporarily, depending on how long the cold snap lasts. Given the current trend, I plan to keep on going until the new year, perhaps with a trip down to the Gulf Coast during Christmas week (I'll see all you Wisconsonians and Michiganers down there then! ) Even if I have to winterize before then, it'll probably only be for a couple of days. I do plan on giving it up in Jan and Feb, however, as it's a safe bet that it'll be too cold then.

Main thing is, keep a frequent and close eye on the weather forecast and when in doubt, run out there and take appropriate measures. Shouldn't take more than 15 minutes to do just enough to protect your plumbing for a short cold spell. I think we're still safe for the time being however.
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Old 11-10-2016, 10:40 PM   #10
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Arctic Package

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandy B View Post
How much more time or lower temperature do the ArticPac's buy you?
I have a cedar creek with the arctic package (12 volt heaters on waste & water tanks, enclosed bottom). This January in Maryland the temp went down to 4 degrees and below freezing for over a week. We live in the RV full time and had no problems. The arctic package is advertised to accommodate to 0 degrees.
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Old 11-10-2016, 11:01 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandy B View Post
How much more time or lower temperature do the ArticPac's buy you? (I think that is what they are called.) Apparently my new coach is equipped with them as there is a switch that lights up when poked and says it will come on at 40 degrees. Have not seen them mentioned. This is a 2014 Georgetown 270s.
My dealer, after a long discussion with me after my first year of owning a 2011 Georgetown 327DS finally said that the arctic package doesn't provide the ability to use the rig in much colder temperatures. This package uses 12V heaters on the necks of the waste pipes and has heating pads under the tanks. There's also silvered bubble wrap insulation on the inside of the tank compartments. Unfortunately, at 12V, heating pads under the tanks aren't going to do very much to keep the contents from freezing. The pads on the waste pipes should keep the pipes and valves from freezing though.

Your exposure (pun intended) to freezing depends on how your unit was built. Four season models with heat to the basement compartments shouldn't freeze up if you keep the furnace running. Three season models (ie. mine) can have freezing issues but often can be easily modified for colder weather use. As delivered, my rig used waste heat from the water heater, through the styrafoam insulating blanket, to keep the plumbing compartment warm. This isn't really enough heat. The simple overnight solution is to put a 75-100W light bulb in the compartment. I took a different approach since I regularly use the rig in below freezing temperatures. My modifications were:

1. Install a 1kw Xantrex MSW inverter with internal transfer switch. Shore power for it was routed from the 120AC line that fed the electric heating coil in the Dometic 2-way fridge. Output from the inverter went to the fridge AC receptacle.
2. Install a 120AC outlet on the ceiling of the plumbing compartment. It's also attached to the inverter output.
3. Attach a 300W gutter heating strip to all of the plumbing pipes in the compartment. Wrap three turns of heating strip around the water filter canister and hold them in place with electrical tape. This heating strip has its own thermostat and I have a shutoff switch for the outlet inside the RV.
4. Cut the low point drains and install valves on them inside the plumbing compartment.
5. Always stay overnight at a location with AC power when travelling in the winter.

When I'm driving, the alternator provides power for the inverter to run the fridge AC heater and the heating strip. I also have a remote digital thermometer mounted in the plumbing compartment so I can keep tabs on the temperature in there. I've overnighted with lows in the mid teens and kept the temperature in the plumbing compartment just below 40F.

Another caveat for winter camping. Never fill a fresh water tank at the end of the day. Fill it in the morning and make sure to empty the water from your hose before storing it. Heated hoses may prevent freezing in the hose but really cold temperatures can freeze the water in the metal pipe that you hook your hose to. I've seen the result when the ice melts in the morning and it's not pretty unless you intend to build a free form skating rink and are willing to pay to park to repair the hydrant. (This wasn't me that did that.)
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Old 11-10-2016, 11:16 PM   #12
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Wow! Thanks PMSherman, that is quite enlightening. I likely will be using the rig off and on all winter so may well incorporate some of those ideas. Thanks very much.
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Old 11-11-2016, 08:52 AM   #13
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Hello 5picker,
I stand behind my statements and I am very familiar with the Fahrenheit and Celsius scales. The temperature in Texas went down
to -25F which is 7 degrees "below" freezing. The winter was 2010 / 2011 and it happened
in February 2011. The Question was: How Cold is Too Cold?

Unless you've frozen up yourself, everyone else is just speculating. I wouldn't advise doing what I did and I take great care now to avoid it but it did happen. Thankfully I was able to repair the damage easily.
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Old 11-11-2016, 09:50 AM   #14
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I have to differ.
-25F is NOT 7 degrees below freezing.

25F is 7 degrees below freezing but -25F is 57 degrees below freezing.

The National Weather Service warns that frostbite can occur within 5 minutes of exposure at temperatures of 0F to-19F.

So, -25F is EXTREMELY cold. No one or no camper could endure those temperatures for more than a few minutes unprotected.

Count them yourself.
I've marked freezing (straight up 12:00 position) and -25F. (9:00 position)
Each degree mark represents 2.
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Old 11-11-2016, 10:13 AM   #15
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Hi Again 5picker,
My mistake. You're right that should be +25F not -25F.
But the 7 degrees below freezing was correct.
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Old 11-11-2016, 10:30 AM   #16
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Thanks Ian,
I just didn't want someone coming to this thread and scratching their heads.

I'm also glad you were able to get your RV fixed without much problem.
That is always a good thing.

We need to enjoy these RV's as much as possible!
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Old 02-01-2017, 08:05 PM   #17
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We are winter camping as we speak in the mountains of NC..it has not been as cold as previous winters, but did go down to zero a few days..we all have heated hoses and extra insulation around the water pumps...also have an artic pkg with heated tanks. Our water did freeze anyway but as long as our heat is on inside, we had no problems with frozen pipes...we love the cold weather and have had a great time...but when we leave we will winterize until we come back.
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