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Alde wet central heating

Aug 8, 2016
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Hi
We have just been out in our new to us Swift Challenger. After setting up we found the caravan took a long time to warm up - once at temperature it was fantastic.! Just asking if this is the case generally with wet central heating, as we have only had experience of blown air heating previously. If so, do people have any tips to help with this? Many thanks
 
Mar 8, 2017
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wandering.me.uk
A lot depends on how cold your van is at switch on.

Assuming a cold winter start I would expect ours to take at least two hours to get all the fixtures and fittings as well as the air up to a reasonable temperature.

If we are on a hook-up I set it to use both gas and electric power.
 
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Hobbyt600

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Sep 20, 2011
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jallin

Compared to most blown-air heating systems an Alde ‘wet’ system will be slower to initially heat up a caravan's interior. This is inevitable as the former system heats air directly, whereas an Alde system heats fluid that in turn heats radiators installed throughout the caravan.

How quickly an Alde system will heat up a caravan will depend on the volume of the caravan’s interior, how well the caravan is insulated and the Alde installation itself (eg. how many and what types of radiator have been installed and where they are positioned) but there is not a great deal a caravan owner can do to reduce the warm-up time. As your Alde system works well after it has warmed up, you should not be concerned...

Plenty of on-line comment about the Alde warm-up issue

https://tinyurl.com/vvyqdjl
 
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Aug 8, 2016
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Ah thanks - it did take a couple of hours so we wondered if we were doing something wrong. I agree it was brilliant once at temp - really even throughout the van. We were on a cl site on our own which was fantastic - with just water and electric. A great way to get used to the caravan. I did look at using elec and gas but our system said elec would take priority so wasn't sure if they worked together?
 
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May 7, 2012
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I agree that wet heating will take longer for the reasons stated. The Alde system is probably more consistent throughout the caravan, where as blown air can be a bit patchy if the installation is not good and some are not. Alde do design each installation for each model so it should give you a better result although we have no complaints with our blown air system which must be one of the better designed ones.
 
May 24, 2014
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TBH, we take a small compact fan heater, and give that a blast until the heating kicks in. Setting the heating to 3kw and running both gas and electric will greatly improve the startup time. Dont forget to knock it down from 3kw when temp is reached.
 
Jan 31, 2018
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Not sure why more manufacturers don't go the Bucanneer way and install underfloor heating pipes too; second time out in ours and was very worried about having Alde heating-all our previous vans have had Truma blown and warmed up very quickly-need not have worried-we were toasty warm before we'd finished setting up! First thing we do (after getting the legs down) is electrics on and heat on in the colder weather at least. VERY impressed and it's a bit of a shock coming home to find the floor cold!
 
Nov 16, 2015
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The first thing we do when we get to pitch, is make sure the electrics work, then level the caravan.
 
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Jul 17, 2008
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Before setting off from home in the winter, I run everything up to prewarm the caravan and also turn the fridge on with cool blocks in the freezer compartments. Then I turn everything off prior to setting off. The fridge doesn't have to work too hard on the car's electric and the caravan doesn't take as long to warm up when we get to our destination. (within reason eg 4hrs away)
 
Nov 16, 2015
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Before setting off from home in the winter, I run everything up to prewarm the caravan and also turn the fridge on with cool blocks in the freezer compartments. Then I turn everything off prior to setting off. The fridge doesn't have to work too hard on the car's electric and the caravan doesn't take as long to warm up when we get to our destination. (within reason eg 4hrs away)
When i had to have my fridge electronic circuit boards replaced, the engineer suggested that I start the fridge on gas for 30 minutes and then change to 230 mains , when I am happy with the temp fill with the cold and frozen stuff.
It's worked well for last year for the few times we were out.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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When i had to have my fridge electronic circuit boards replaced, the engineer suggested that I start the fridge on gas for 30 minutes and then change to 230 mains , when I am happy with the temp fill with the cold and frozen stuff.
It's worked well for last year for the few times we were out.
Do the instructions tell you to do that?

I can not think of any reason why that should work any better than just using 230V from the get go. What ever power source is used it does the same thing, it provides heat in a particular region of the refrigerant coil to drive it. The refrigerant cant tell the difference whether its gas mains or 12V.
 

JTQ

May 7, 2005
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Do the instructions tell you to do that?

I can not think of any reason why that should work any better than just using 230V from the get go. What ever power source is used it does the same thing, it provides heat in a particular region of the refrigerant coil to drive it. The refrigerant cant tell the difference whether its gas mains or 12V.
Are the gas burner and electric element heat ouputs to the fridge heat exchanger the same or one greater than the other?
If not the same that could account for differing performances.
 

Damian

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Mar 14, 2005
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Do the instructions tell you to do that?

I can not think of any reason why that should work any better than just using 230V from the get go. What ever power source is used it does the same thing, it provides heat in a particular region of the refrigerant coil to drive it. The refrigerant cant tell the difference whether its gas mains or 12V.
Caravan fridges were originally designed to run primarily on gas.

It was only with the advances such as leisure batteries, mains hook up and car power available that , due to customer demand, the electric elements were added.

Using the fridge on gas is a quicker way of getting the temp down as the heat is directly to the cooling matrix, whereas the electric elements are fitted to the side of the flue and must heat that first , before transferring heat to the coolant tubing.

It also makes sense to use gas for 30 minutes or so each time to keep the gas valves in good working order, as well as the burner module.

Do the instructions say that, No, but then they dont tell you everything that is beneficial to the good running of equipment.
The instruction books are basic and not the best source of information.

However, the topic is drifting off the original and it is suggested that if the virtues of fridges and power sources needs further discussion that should be in a new topic.
 
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May 24, 2014
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Just going back to the Alde system, i get this from the manual.

Checking and changing glycol mixture. Regularly check the heating system’s fluid level in the expansion tank. With the heating system cold, the level should be about 1 cm above the minimum mark. The ethylene glycol mixture should be changed every other year, as certain properties such as corrosion protection deteriorate over time. If Alde Premium Antifreeze is used, the interval for changing the mixture can be extended to five years under normal operating conditions.
Saying you should change the fluid every 2 years, or 5 if the premium fluid is used.................so which fluid is used at point of manufacture, and do you guys really change the fluid every two years. Sorry if its a stupid question, but we havent had the Alde before.
 

JTQ

May 7, 2005
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Just going back to the Alde system, i get this from the manual.



Saying you should change the fluid every 2 years, or 5 if the premium fluid is used.................so which fluid is used at point of manufacture, and do you guys really change the fluid every two years. Sorry if its a stupid question, but we havent had the Alde before.
Yes I do change the fluid as specified, the risk of not doing so is corrosion, not the freezing protection. IMO the corrosion of the boiler's burner "can" being in my view the main critical component, that comes as a very expensive repair.

I also since the first change at two years old went to the right specification fluid to offer a 5 year life.

The so called "Premium" is one "Approved " by VW to meet their G13 specification, [ specifically VW G13 Antifreeze (TL 774 J), the J being an important character]
A cheapish but reliable one that is readily available is Comma's GG40, this is a VW approved product, not one with weasel-ish words like "meeting G13", meeting in whos opinion, far best IMO one approved by VW.
Note the double "G", the G40 they offer is a G12++ fluid, still a premium one and fine to use, just production etc is less environmentally friendly.

All fluids meeting that G13 spec will be magenta in colour, it is part of the spec. Typically two year life fluids are likely to be in the greens and the blues. There are other 5 year fluids in the orange and stronger reds, these need specialist knowledge to safely use and top up. If it is these the system is best flushed before going to a G13.

Edit: I noticed the question, what is used at point of manufacture?
Up till MY 2020 then almost without exception dealers specified two year life fluid was used at the factory fill.
Thankfully pressure from the forums and the better elements in the industry has now got this totally stupid, environmentally flawed situation changed to a G13, 5 year life product.
 
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Jan 31, 2018
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Perfect answer JTQ-totally agree. Up till this year probably 2 year life, swap it for 5 year as soon as it expires and DON'T neglect to do it! The corrosion inhibitors expire.
 

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