Vol. 6 - No. 1



For those who don't know, is located in Grants Pass, Oregon where our town's slogan is "It's the climate!" due to our mild weather.  We may need to revise the slogan since the temperature hit 5 degrees in early December.  This was VERY unusual weather for our area.

Shortly thereafter, during the heatwave of 19 degrees we got a call from a customer concerned with leaving his new LCD TV in the RV where temperatures could drop to 20 below zero!  (and we thought WE were cold!) We are always surprised when we get questions that challenge us, so we did a bit of research online to see what we could learn about this topic.   The quick answer is - nothing very definitive!.

A survey of several popular TV manufacturers found that they do not recommend storing the TV in temperatures below -4 degrees Fahrenheit or the warranty will be voided.   One RVer noted that most new cars and trucks have LCD screen technology built into them and they are often exposed to very cold conditions with no ill effects.  A trucker added that he often delivers truckloads of these TV's in extreme cold and they are then stored in unheated warehouses and distribution centers, all with no problems.  All agree that the TV should be unplugged during storage.

The concern seems to be that the "liquid" in the LCD crystals might freeze.  There isn't actually any liquid in a Liquid Crystal Display. The crystals are said to be liquid only relative to their ability to change shape when given an electrical charge. They are not liquid in the same sense that water is liquid, and will not expand or burst the screen by freezing in the same way that ice can burst a pipe.

Most likely, the damage to a TV, or any electronic device exposed to prolonged deep cold, is from rapid temperature fluctuations and/or condensation forming inside the device. 

Rapid temperature fluctuations, or extreme temperatures are obviously hard on any electronic device. Rapid changes cause uneven expansion or contraction of various electronic components and connections. Extreme temperatures stress the design tolerances in the same fashion.

Condensation will happen when the device is moved directly to a warm humid environment when the device itself is still cold. Moisture from condensation on circuit boards and electrical contacts can cause damage, in exactly the same way that spilling a glass of water into the device can. Water will cause short-circuiting and that, in turn, can even cause a fire. A fire caused by water seems counter-intuitive, but it happens in electrical situations. For instance, never try to put out an electrical fire with water. It will only aggravate the situation.  Simply give the device opportunity to warm to room temperature and the condensation will evaporate. Then the device can be turned on without doing any harm.

So, you can store your TV in sub-zero temperatures provided you keep it unplugged and give it the opportunity to warm to room temperature before connecting the power.