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Old 06-30-2016, 10:28 AM   #1
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Cool Underfloor hydronic heating.

Does anyone have experience with using underfloor hydronic heating in their Airstream?

The new Classic has introduced hydronic heating using radiators with an Alde furnace/water heater.

This new design seems clumsy in that it requires an unwelcomed gap between the kitchen counter and the inner wall to allow heated air to rise from a radiator that is positioned on the floor behind the base cabinets.

Also, previous posts have mentioned the loss of floor space do to other radiator fixtures that are place on the floor along the interior wall's perimeter.

Is it that Airstream thinks an hydronic underfloor system using the same Alde furnace is too complicated or too difficult to design and maintain, or is it a case of timidity in introducing something 'new'.

Love to hear the forum members thoughts on this 'new' heating/continuous hot water system.

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Old 06-30-2016, 11:50 AM   #2
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Just another thing that will ad to the weight of the coach. Is the heating fluid water or something that won't freeze if there is no heat?

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Old 06-30-2016, 12:20 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by DaytonaDan View Post
Does anyone have experience with using underfloor hydronic heating in their Airstream?
Is it that Airstream thinks an hydronic underfloor system using the same Alde furnace is too complicated or too difficult to design and maintain, or is it a case of timidity in introducing something 'new'.
Neither. It doesn't work, laws of physics get in the way. There isn't enough floor area in an Airstream to transfer sufficient heat to keep the trailer warm on a cold day, without heating the floor to the point where it's uncomfortable to walk on and hot enough that most common RV floor materials would be damaged.

Malconium, who doesn't post here much any more, tried it, with great effort and some cost, and then discovered that (surprise) it didn't produce nearly enough heat.
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Old 06-30-2016, 01:43 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Jammer View Post
Neither. It doesn't work, laws of physics get in the way.
Damn you, physics!
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Old 06-30-2016, 02:07 PM   #5
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Nope for me

To make the system convenient, and not have to drain it, which would be a hat trick…..the system would have to use a fluid with antifreeze in it, which makes it even less efficient.

A while back, a forum member, used a water heater to heat water that was circulated by a low volume water pump, that ran thru a car radiator, with a fantastic fan blowing behind it to circulate the warm air. He said that it use a lot less electricity that the standard furnaces. I'm thinking that the downside would be the difficulty in directing the warm air to tanks and such.
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Old 06-30-2016, 02:25 PM   #6
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Underfloor hydronic heating.

Look at how the Aqua Hot systems are built. Not for their boiler set up but the war they move the heated antifreeze mixture thru the PEX tubing and how they use mini heat exchangers with computer fans to circulate the warmed air.

It's an excellent system that could easily be modified for use with a tankless water heater and circulation pump.

Easy to build, almost silent to operate and could be arranged to heat the tanks too.
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Old 06-30-2016, 02:33 PM   #7
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This looked interesting to me and was considering it before I sold my last trailer.
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Old 06-30-2016, 10:50 PM   #8
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From a mechanical engineer with an emphasis on heat transfer and fluid flow:
Jammer nailed it, and malconium learned it the hard way.

Some toe kick hydronic radiators could probably work if they were converted to 12v fans.
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Old 07-01-2016, 05:34 AM   #9
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We have hydronic in-floor heat at the S&B house and love it. As a result I understand very well how it works, it's strengths and limitations. It would not work well in an Airstream for all the reasons previously mentioned. This is a solution looking for a problem.

Did someone mention that the new Classics come with this "feature?"
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Old 07-17-2016, 11:37 AM   #10
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I just watched the Colonial Video on the new 2017 Classic and then read a How it works pros and cons of Hydronic Heating/Cooling versus Forced Air Heating Cooling.

I am surprised that Airstream would use a water based system (glycol) in the trailer with a wood floor. The article shared how that all over Fairfax county homes with hydronic heating and PEX plumbing sprung leaks at all different fittings. Additionally two of the issues mentioned were how quickly the efficiency dropped over age/time and the slow response of the system converting through a heat exchange system. There was a sub section on how homes have started going with glycol-based systems or adding glycol to some systems but that expansion was an issue to be aware of for fittings, etc. The article was thorough but it described it as a system with multiple concerns for few benefits- those being lack of noise, more even heating and stable humidity. It mentioned one outstanding issue by regular homeowners as being unable to spot heat and having more difficulty regulating temperatures in transitional weather seasons like fall and spring.
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Old 07-17-2016, 12:52 PM   #11
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I had it in a home in NY, brazed copper pipe system. After I had lived there two years I had a wet carpet and could not troubleshoot. thought it was a roof leak and chased that too long. Finally I determined it was the heating system by isolating it. Then I had to cut through the wall and found that a trim finishing nail had penetrated the copper pipe but took 2 years to corrode enough to leak. Repair was not too hard but I am happy to have the simplicity of forced air heat where I live now...and in my Airstream.
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Old 07-17-2016, 01:02 PM   #12
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I cant see there being enough surface area in the AS to effectively heat it well. The system might take the chill off the floor but getting it toasty inside, doubtful! Furthermore, what about the tanks?
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Old 07-17-2016, 01:04 PM   #13
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I looked carefully at the system in the '17 Classic. While it might be nice not to have furnace and water heater vents in the side of the trailer, I was not taken with the amount of wall space dedicated to the system. The guts of the system are located under the forward dinette seat. While the forced air system is noisy and the distribution system is far from even in my trailer (the two vents facing the sofa put out huge amounts of hot air -- the ductwork and registers are only about 18" from the furnace -- the BR and bath are pretty meager. I didn't much care for the enormous heated towel bar in the bath (it's how the heat in the '17 is distributed in the bathroom), but my largest question has to do with the battery power necessary to heat the electric tank heater pads. I was told these come on automatically at 40 degrees. Will be interesting to see how the "pioneers" with this system like it.

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