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Old 07-22-2016, 12:53 PM   #1
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Hydronic Heating Startup and Review

For those who may have or will be taking delivery of the 2017 hydronic heating, we had the opportunity to start ours up this month because of cold nights in the mountains. I thought I would submit a report and review on it.

Unfortunately, the system didn't heat at first. Even though we were showing the boiler temp at 140+ degrees, there was no heat coming from the radiators which run the entire perimeter of the walls, heat the shower floor and towel racks.

In response to our call for help, Airstream, together with Alde, the manufacturer of the heating system expertly assisted by telephone. Turns out the glycol mixture that flows through the closed circuit was not fully charged. There is a multi-step process, not difficult, for adding liquid through the expansion tank, circulating while stripping off air. To fully purge the air, the process must be repeated multiple times until finally the air is all out.

On ours, the addition of about 1.5 liters of water got the flow to start by the circulation pump. But then the circulating liquid made sounds and gurgled throughout the trailer. Another liter allowed us to fully charge the system eliminating all air.

Now the good news. This is an AWESOME system we like much better than the conventional forced air furnace. It's absolutely silent, and is incredibly effective at maintaining the temp inside the trailer. We love the shower floor and towel bars which dry the towels. The boiler heats both sink/shower water and the heating system. We can use electricity, gas or both to heat the boiler. The wall mounted control is very easy to use.

We believe the hydronic system gives our trailer true four season capability since by simply having it plugged into a minimal 20 amp shore power, we can maintain internal and tankage temps even during winter conditions without burning propane.

Finally, it's my opinion after reading the material from Alde that it can be difficult to eliminate all air out of the system in a factory setting. Therefore, it may be likely that owners need to be familiar with how to maintain fluid levels and strip air out of the system. After that, it's a joy to use.
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Old 07-22-2016, 01:05 PM   #2
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Sounds like a great system. Thanks for the report!
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Old 07-22-2016, 01:06 PM   #3
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How cold was it outside? Taking the chill off a 50 degree night is much different than being in 20 degree weather! Ill be intrrested in that report!
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Old 07-22-2016, 01:45 PM   #4
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It sounds like a great heating system. How does the hot water portion of the Alde perform? Was there enough hot water for a longer shower? Doing dishes?
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Old 07-22-2016, 01:49 PM   #5
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Yeah, there is a different thread with someone having problems with hot water for showers.
Larry
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Old 07-22-2016, 02:41 PM   #6
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The temperature outside was 46 to 48 degrees for the low. You're absolutely right about colder temperatures. We'll see!
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Old 07-22-2016, 02:53 PM   #7
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The boiler can operate on electric, gas, or both. The electric can be set low (1) or high (2). The tank is only 2.5 gallons so one shower will deplete the hot water unless the electric is set to high (2) and the gas burner is also on. The panel allows you to monitor the temperature within the boiler of the hot water tank. If the sink was just filled with hot water, I might glance at the tank temp to make sure it has recovered before the shower starts. At first, I watched it pretty close. Now I know if someone is going to the shower they need to start with a recovered hot tank of water. If not, I'll turn on both electric and gas to heat faster and that takes care of it.
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Old 07-22-2016, 03:36 PM   #8
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Wow, maybe you can get used to that process but it sure seems like a major step away from convenience for hot water use. Do these designers ever really go camping to prove their designs?

Larry
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Old 07-22-2016, 04:54 PM   #9
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Let me get this straight. The new Classic comes with a 2.5 gallon water heater? I understand that this unit also heats the glycol mixture which is in its own closed loop circulating through the coach.

Right now we have a 6 gal heater and it works fine for us. We have never run out of hot water as there are only two of us and we don't take long, long showers. I have heard others complain about running out of hot water and I am thinking that this system might be a problem for those folks.

Is this heating system an option or do all the classics come with it?
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Old 07-22-2016, 04:59 PM   #10
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Just checked the Airstream website and it lists their 2017 Classic as coming with a 6 gal water heater and ducted furnace. Apparently they are not up to date yet.
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Old 07-22-2016, 05:10 PM   #11
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In my Cruiser 1954 I install an Alde heating . Here in the "cold" countries of Europe ( Sweden , Norway, Finland ) are virtually all campers / caravans with an Alde !

http://www.alde.se/usa/

Greetings from Switzerland - Werner
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Old 07-22-2016, 07:28 PM   #12
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I installed an Eberspacher Hydronic 10 diesel boiler in our navion a few years ago. It replaced the standard propane furnace and water heater. We enjoy the availability of hot water anytime limited only by the amount of water we can carry. With a hookup it's like being at home. The propane-fired furnace is now a radiator and the radiant heat does not cause condensation issues and provides a very cozy atmosphere. As a plus, it's a real miser on fuel usage.

I plan on installing a similar hydronic system in the '77 Sovereign I am rebuilding.

These systems are awesome, I highly recommend them- if they are designed and installed properly.

Electric/propane boiler not a bad way to go. I prefer diesel because of the possibility of using bio-diesel, or other type of fuel. I only use propane for the stove and fridge. The electric is a plus when hookups are available,
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Old 07-27-2016, 06:15 AM   #13
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Cool Where do you store the diesel for your Eberspacher Hydronic heating system?

Hey, sounds like a great alternative to the Alde trailer heater/water heating system. Where do you store the diesel for your Eberspacher Hydronic 10 heating system?
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Old 07-27-2016, 07:57 AM   #14
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The diesel is for the hydronic boiler is in a 12 gallon aluminum tank I had custom made to fit in a recess in the water system compartment where I also installed the hot water manifold. The tank cost a couple of hundred and was a perfect fit in the recessed space.

Our Itasca Navion is diesel powered; I could have tapped the engine fuel tank but I wanted to have a separate supply for the hydronic system; it is capable of using different types of fuel such as kerosene, vegetable oil and biodiesel. If necessary I can transfer the diesel between the tanks.

I'm not sure yet how I will incorporate the boiler into the airstream rebuild. I am thinking it will go into the compartment where the propane heater used to be...
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