Things that don't work at 30 below

Dripping icicle Christmas lights - we have some strands of lights that have plastic icicles, with lights inside the icicles that run in sequence to look like the icicles are dripping by his morning, some weren’t on at all, and some were on very faintly, but no dripping effect.

No experience with 30 below, but at 15 below the seats in an early 90’s Chevy truck lose their cushiony properties.


apparently, neither do electronic thermometers. Our car has an electronic thermometer, but it’s not showing up on the dashboard display this morning.


Triple Lindy

Years ago I was in Fargo (the city, not the movie) when it was around -20F. We went into the garage (still air) with a bottle of soapy water and blew bubbles. The bubbles rose at first because they were filled with warm breath, but they quickly cooled and then sank. On the way down the soapy film froze solid - and they crumpled on the floor like little piles of plastic wrap.

I’ve seen rubber mallets shatter like glass, though I think the temperature was closer to -40°C than -30. I’ve also had extension cords break like old sticks (while unplugging my block heater).


Cross-country ski glide wax.

Personal electronics - when I go walking in really cold weather, I have to keep my iPod in my mitten so it will work. Cameras don’t work well in the serious cold, either - batteries lose their charge in a very short time out there.

ETA: Oh yeah, cheek muscles, too - you smile, and it takes a beat or two for your face to go back to normal. :smiley:

I once had a motorcycle trip that did the same thing to my legs. It was about 35 degrees out. I had an electric vest on, so I was not hypothermic - no shivering - but my legs had become so chilled that when I got off of the bike it was difficult to walk. My legs were, quite literally, slow. Very strange sensation.

My old car was toast at -26. It rarely gets that cold here, during that record-cold winter, my car was total hit-or-miss in the game of “will it start”? Plugging in a light bulb and sticking it under the hood was only partially effective, as well as was liberal application of starter fluid spray. We also lost trees to the freeze that are normally very hardy (lilacs, azaleas.)

Apparently our new polymer 20 dollar bills - they “break” at -30. :smack:

Our Toyota Corolla had fold-down rear seats, and the back of the seat & floor of the cargo area were covered in one continuous length of bendy plastic which, at -25, wasn’t so bendy. I left the seat down one night when I got home and in the morning I had to take the kids to daycare, so I opened the back, reached in, grabbed the top of the back seat and pulled, and all along the base of the seat where it was supposed to bend, it just shattered like glass.

The trim on the edge of my windshield snow cover, and the *#&$%ing cord and motor on my discount garage heater. Seriously people - if you’re going to be selling a product for cold weather, make sure it functions there! :smack:

I’d heard that too, but not any confirmation. I should have tested that a few days ago; today it’s t-shirt weather at -3.

Are you in Edmonton? You’re describing my week perfectly.

Years ago, the heater in our minivan packed it in when it was -40, which was a bitch, because we had to haul ourselves and the girls back home, a drive of over 6 hours.

Fortunately the van was roomy enough to start a small fire…

I know what shouldn’t work at -0°F temps. Car washes. Really? It’s -15°F. No, I don’t want a car wash with my tank full of gas.

It wasn’t -30 (my experience there has thankfully been limited) but I remember being outside in the aftermath of one of Chicago’s snowstorms with a Polaroid camera, and getting shot after shot of gray nothing. It wasn’t until I took the photos of gray nothing into the house to warm up that they finally developed.

So, around -5 or -10, late model Polaroid film stops developing.