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Old 09-08-2015, 02:32 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by frankdamp View Post
Our Class A had the "Artic Pak". Georgetown's poor spelling was the indicator that the system was a real turkey.

It only heated the grey and black tanks, using small (maybe 7" x 3") elements stuck to the bottom of the tanks - 2 on each). They drew 7 amps each from the house DC system.

They system had no sensors to ensure there was fluid in the tanks. The non-adjustable thermostats switched on at 40F and stayed on until the contents got to 64F.

I couldn't see wasting 28 amps from the house DC system to heat sewage to 64 F, or risking melting a hole in the tanks if the system was inadvertently switched on when they were empty.

IMO, this is the dumbest accessory system being foisted off onto the RV community. It needs many additional safeguards to make it worth the trouble.
Nice post Frank.
How did you measure it shutting off at 64?
On at 40? Like most house ice dam heaters. I put my house system on a switch which requires some weatherman skills and memory space.
With my tanks hanging down below I would worry if I hit an extended deep freeze. but contrary to what many think about out West it may get chilly overnight but 50-60 degree temperature swings are quite common.
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Old 09-08-2015, 04:22 PM   #16
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Went to New Mexico last December on an elk hunt. Boondocking. My buddy has an Artic Fox. Temps were low single digits with daytime highs in the 30's. Left the grey water valve "cracked" open and had no problems. Were gone from the trailer all day "left thermostat on lowest setting, around 45" and turned it up some at night. Have to run the genny about 4 hours every evening though.
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Old 09-08-2015, 04:29 PM   #17
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But then again it may speed up with a wind chill.
Wind chill affects only warm blooded animals, it has no effect on inanimate objects.
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Old 09-08-2015, 05:07 PM   #18
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Wind chill affects only warm blooded animals, it has no effect on inanimate objects.
The term wind chill index is a formula used to suggest what a combination of humidity, temperature, and wind feels like on exposed human skin, you are correct, but moving air (wind) does have a chilling effect on inanimate objects too, it's just not measured by the wind chill index. An RV transfers heat from inside to outside at a speed relative to it's insulation, called the R-value. Single pane glass has the worst R-value but the sides of an RV, being less than 2" thick, doesn't have all that much greater R-value. The heat would stay close to the RV's sides, slowly dissipating into the surrounding air, since it's a poor conductor of heat. Add wind to the area around the RV and you will have the heat lost much more quickly. Especially underneath, where the air gets trapped by the sides against the warmer ground, wind will cause a rapid cooling, thus people often use skirting to reduce the air movement and heat loss. Zac808 was correct in posing his question about wind speeding up freezing.
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Old 09-08-2015, 05:11 PM   #19
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I use 26 degrees as my "watch" temperature. Here in NE. Ohio I try to stretch it into Nov. before I winterize. Have camped Thanksgiving weekend 3 times in the last 10 years.
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Old 09-08-2015, 08:26 PM   #20
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TT without "polar package" questions

All this talk about cold weather makes me anxious to go camping this fall... Just Sayin..,
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Old 09-09-2015, 08:53 AM   #21
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There you go, injecting science into a perfectly good rant.

- - - - retired science educator
Yes, but in all fairness, the manufacturers do caution against leaving them on with an empty tank. Either that is a liability move, just in case one of their sensors goes bad, or there is a remote possibility that a hot spot will develop. Here is what one of them says..

Will the UltraHeat® Tank Heater damage the holding tank if no liquid is in the tank when the Tank Heater is "ON"?
If the holding tank is completely empty there is a possibility that damage could occur, especially if the ambient temperature is above freezing. When there is liquid in the tank it absorbs and distributes heat away from the heater and mounting surface. Without liquid in the tank, it would be like putting an empty pot on your stove. The pot will get hot and scorch or possibly burn if left unattended.
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