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Old 03-21-2021, 01:40 AM   #1
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Default What do we risk camping while 20 degrees?

We need to drive to Colorado next week and where we need to stay forecast is a low of 20. I assume if we unhook the water source at night we should be okay. Do we risk hurting/damaging anything for one night at 20 degrees or lower? We do run a small plug in heater that heats of the space quickly along with the Alde. We stayed out two nights with a low of 37 but 20 is much colder.
Speaking of Alde, can we run the Alse on propane while driving to help heat up before we arrive?
Thank you
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Old 03-21-2021, 03:50 AM   #2
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My 2015 Roadtrek 190 has the Alde with both electric and propane options. With the "under hood" generator I run the Alde on electric and only switch too propane when I arrive or stop for the night. The Alde control panel allows me to choose electric or propane. We stayed 2 nights in Clarksville TN and the lows at night was 24 and the high during the days was about 32 and we stayed toasty warm.
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Old 03-21-2021, 03:54 AM   #3
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If you winterize the plumbing should have no damage and you can flush your toilet with rv antifreeze.
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Old 03-21-2021, 04:32 AM   #4
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Keep the inside surfaces of your windows clean and dry. I'm hunkered down on the Oregon coast with temps hovering above freezing, but the humidity is way up in the 80-99% range.

I kept my windows covered on the inside to help keep the heat in, but found that created lots of condensation which resulted in mold growth on both the window surfaces and on my window coverings. Daily wipe downs with antimicrobial sprays helped, but I found there was a much better solution.

Now I cover my windows with insulation on the OUTSIDE. It lets the inside window surface stay warm and dry, and since they're now above the dew point, the moisture problem is gone as well as the mold.

The flexible closed-cell foam I covered the big Sprinter windshield with came with my 100 Watt HSQT solar panels, and it's just the right height. Three of them span the entire windshield and the windshield wipers and a bungee at across the top holds them down.

We need to find a better source for this flexible packing foam. Or, I guess you can pay $83 for two sheets, and get a free 100 W solar panel with them in the box.
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Old 03-21-2021, 02:09 PM   #5
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Outside insulation works best in summer, too.
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Old 03-21-2021, 11:26 PM   #6
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We have camped in minus 15 degrees F a couple of times and below freezing frequently. RV Anti-freeze will keep your waste tanks sludge and if not full freezing is not going to damage them but you may not get to dump until it warms up. Our exhaust pipe goes down the center of the van between the fresh water and waste tanks. I suspect underway it acts radiantly to keep tanks from freezing especially in nominal close to freezing weather.

Our fresh water tank is grooved down the side and a glycol waste return at 160 degrees from our heat exchanger for hot water and heating keeps our water from freezing. So we travel with maybe a half full tank in the winter below freezing temperatures. Otherwise, you may have to keep water inside the van for drinking, coffee and such and winterize you fresh water tank.

When it is below freezing we just use sleeping bags and wear a hoodie sweatshirt to bed. We do have diesel-fired Espar heat that uses about a quarter-cup per hour of diesel from the chassis tank and set the thermostat usually at 50 deg. for overnight. We are better insulated than Roadtreks, however, we have attended the Winter Freezeout in Michigan's Upper Peninsula in January with Roadtreks of all models and years and other brands and those people have weathered cold weather below zero.
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Old 03-22-2021, 01:34 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OnlyRoom42 View Post
We need to drive to Colorado next week and where we need to stay forecast is a low of 20. I assume if we unhook the water source at night we should be okay. Do we risk hurting/damaging anything for one night at 20 degrees or lower? We do run a small plug in heater that heats of the space quickly along with the Alde. We stayed out two nights with a low of 37 but 20 is much colder.
Speaking of Alde, can we run the Alse on propane while driving to help heat up before we arrive?
Thank you

Just winterize properly with RV antifreeze. Flush with RV antifreeze, keep bottled water inside. One night at 20 is enough to freeze and damage fittings, especially after chilling during the day.

This is what antifreeze is for.
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Old 03-22-2021, 03:41 PM   #8
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I think the biggest risk, beside damaging water lines, is with high humidity causing condensation in the area between the inside walls and the outside walls. This can be avoided by exhausting the high humidity air from your RV. But you still will have condensation on the inside of the exterior walls and on your windows.
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Old 03-25-2021, 04:15 PM   #9
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From Alberta so lots of experience with the cold. Rv antifreeze is your friend. A bit in each waste tank. What you have to be careful about is if you have an out door shower, and makes sure a bit of antifreeze gets into your macerator. The only thing I have had freeze damage from was the two way fill valve that I forgot to blow out one year. Don’t count on your exhaust keeping the tanks warm underway as air movement will negate any infrared heat the tanks get unless you are sitting still.
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Old 03-25-2021, 05:13 PM   #10
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We have been using the ERA as a base lodge for skiing in VT this past Covid Winter. Blew out all the fresh water lines --hot water tank and out side shower,
Emptied holding tanks and rans some RV antifreeze into both tanks and then pumped out through macerator to protect that.
Carried gallon jugs of fresh water for coffee and cooking, used RV antifreeze for toilet flushing of #2 but used a wide mouth bottle for urine.

Spring might be here in RI so I'm tempted to empty tanks and recommission ---but --never trust New England Spring weather. But so far everything seems ok -we used bubble wrap on the windows with scotch tape for insulation.
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Old 03-25-2021, 06:45 PM   #11
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Don't forget most refrigerators can be damaged in temps below 22F. I would winterize the plumbing and during the low temps.
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Old 03-25-2021, 07:02 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Liam View Post
Don't forget most refrigerators can be damaged in temps below 22F.
Is that true?
I would think that someone around here would have noticed this by now.
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Old 03-25-2021, 10:19 PM   #13
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Yup, that's why they make "garage" refrigerators, check your manual, and/or manufacturer's recommendations. Just something else to consider during low temperatures.
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Old 03-25-2021, 11:41 PM   #14
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There is a problem with household refrigerators when the refrigerant goes below a certain temperature. Since these refrigerants vary, you should check your manufacturer's recommendations for that. Note, the manufacturers tend to be conservative with their temperature ratings, and your unit may still operate below their recommended limit, but not as well.

There's another problem when single compressor refrigerators are operated below the refrigeration set point. Once the outside temp drops below the set point, the refrigerator no longer needs to run. Then your freezer also stops cooling and everything melts because it is on the same system.

There are more expensive double compressor refrigerators to address this problem. Or, you can just use a separate freezer, creating two zones.

RV absorbion refrigerators differ from compressor refrigerators in that they use heat to move the refrigerant, so they should be better at low temperatures. How much, I can't say so again, check with the manufacturer.
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Old 03-26-2021, 12:03 AM   #15
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You will be warm but unless you winterize you will freeze you pipes most likely.
Quote:
Originally Posted by OnlyRoom42 View Post
We need to drive to Colorado next week and where we need to stay forecast is a low of 20. I assume if we unhook the water source at night we should be okay. Do we risk hurting/damaging anything for one night at 20 degrees or lower? We do run a small plug in heater that heats of the space quickly along with the Alde. We stayed out two nights with a low of 37 but 20 is much colder.
Speaking of Alde, can we run the Alse on propane while driving to help heat up before we arrive?
Thank you
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Old 03-26-2021, 01:18 AM   #16
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I just looked up the minimum storage temperature of a random Danfoss DC compressor:

Quote:
The compressors will withstand storage temperatures down to -35C.
Condensing temperatures:
Max. 60C at stable conditions and max. 70C at peak load. Ambient temperatures: Min. -10C, max. 55C
https://assets.danfoss.com/documents...2en-000701.pdf

I guess that explains why this list isn't filled with reports of failed RV compressor fridges during winter storage.
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Old 03-26-2021, 01:36 AM   #17
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That's useful info, particularly since you included the operating temp range. That says Iceco refrigerator chests with Danfoss SECOPE compressors should operate down to -10C, or 14F. Danfoss compressors are known to pretty good, but lesser brands may not perform as well.

Anyone know other numbers from other manufacturers?
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Old 03-27-2021, 05:53 AM   #18
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If your refrigerator is inside I doubt you will be operating at -10 C inside. If your heat is on the refrigerator while underway and parked at night will be fine since cabin most likely won’t be at or below -10 C. Water lines, exterior taps/showers and holding tank valves are what I want winterized. RV antifreeze in holding tanks if you use or good old fashioned dry camping for the weekend and leave everything winterized and drink/wash with bottled water in plastic tub and dispose water outside from tub. To avoid excessive condensation leave the roof vent open slightly plus a window at a crack usually works for us.
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Old 03-27-2021, 06:10 AM   #19
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That is true for compressor refrigerators locsted inside an RV. The low temp problems with compressors are probably from the oil in the refrigerant jelling. So for that reason and several others, it's a good idea to keep some heat going if you leave your rig unattended.

Absorption refrigerators have most of their working parts right behind a vent panel exposed to the outside air. But since they operate with a flame or electrical heat source, that space won't be quite as cold as the outside air.

But your point is good, and we're not getting any reports of freeze problems, so the problems we brought up can't be that common.

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Old 03-27-2021, 07:47 PM   #20
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FWIW, Here's what Dometic says in the DM2652 operating manual:

EXTREME COLD WEATHER
OPERATION
Refrigerator performance may be reduced in extremely
cold (subzero) temperatures. This temporary condition is
normal for absorption refrigerators and does not indicate
product failure. In the event that performance is reduced
in such conditions, turn the refrigerator off. As ambient
temperatures rise, please restart your refrigerator according to instructions before requesting service.

Sounds like lawyer speak for "If it's not working right, turn it off."
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