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Alde heating or blown air Sir?

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I asked the manager at my local Aldi store if he still had any heating systems left. No sorry, they got sold out weeks ago.:D

Groan.

 

Serious question to all here though. In compiling the index and looking at the various types of heating systems I am surprised by the amount of snags, troubles and required expense demanded  in comparison with other heating systems. Two examples are Here and Here

 

Is this a case of 'The more there is - the more there is to have trouble with?' or is it because the whole system is not perfected for required needs yet?

 

Having not even seen or experienced the advantages / disadvantages of the system I can't make any comment, however, I can see LOTS of written disadvantages and in buying another caravan I would insist NOT to have an Alde system.

 

If you own a caravan with the system, would you choose to have the Alde heating in your next caravan?

 

If you have a conventional or blown air system are you happy with it?

 

Whats is your opinion? 

 

 

 

Edited by BOAC
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This is our third caravan with Alde wouldn’t do without it 

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Thank you.  A vague answer really, now I ask the question Why? 

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It must be remembered that in all caravan manufactured prior to 2019 they only had the 2 year fluid and the cost to change car range from £200 all the way up to £300!  A big disadvantage with ALDE as after 5 years the fluid will need changing and by that time the cost will be even higher!

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Blown air, always.  Lighter, cheaper, less maintenance and less to go wrong.  In addition, the van warms up quicker.  Maybe not so good in bigger vans, but in our 2 berth, it's perfect.

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If all other things were equal.  I would choose the Alde system.  Even heat no cold spots quiet, good back up from Alde.   Disadvantages, cost of fluid change, slower heat up than the old Truma fire.  Also I believe that it’s efficiency is very dependant upon the quality of installation and if corners are cut then it won’t be as good as it could and should have been.   The only problem we have had with ours is in extreme cold weather I’ve had to get out of bed to adjust the temperature because it’s just been to damm hot in the van. 

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I'd go back to Truma blown air if I could - with the proviso that any underfloor ducting would need insulating properly, easy enough DIY.

 

Our present Alde system is supplement by a 1kw/2kw fan heater as it takes forever to warm up.

 

"Change is inevitable, progress is optional"

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5 minutes ago, Black Grouse said:

I'd go back to Truma blown air if I could - with the proviso that any underfloor ducting would need insulating properly, easy enough DIY.

 

Our present Alde system is supplement by a 1kw/2kw fan heater as it takes forever to warm up.

 

"Change is inevitable, progress is optional"

Ours takes less than 1 hour to heat up.  Our van is in storage so if the outside temp is -2c then so is the inside.   But then again our previous vans had most of their ducting inside.   The exception was a 1m length that bridged the shower.  Like I said the efficiency is as dependant on installation as anything else. 

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I would choose Alde. These are their reasons why;

 

My previous two caravans and now my current one are big long vans and we Like to use over the four seasons.

The first caravan I had was blown air. It had hot spots to the front but was cold at the rear and in the toilet/shower. I could never get the heat to balance and whilst it did warm up quicker than a wet system the air was very dry. Also the structure of the van always felt cold to the touch.

 

My last caravan had a 2kw Alde system. It wasn’t the quickest to heat up from cold after storage but we supplemented with a small fan heater. It was a large single area to heat due to the caravan layout. Once up to temperature it was lovely and cosy feeling like “home”. This was a 2011 caravan.

 

Our latest caravan is a 2020 twin axle model and has a 3kw Alde system. The layout is a central bathroom and allows the caravan to be split in to three zones. Testing last weekend in Buxton we found that the heating was much quicker to respond than our last caravan and no additional heaters were required. The whole caravan has a very even lovely heat and we are very happy with it. Also, now that Alde systems are being supplied with G13 fluid than the need to change every 2 years has changed to 5 years cutting maintenance costs considerably.

 

In conclusion a non decision for me.

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In my opinion the Alde System is the business.  However like all systems you do need to a install it properly and be actually read and understand the instructions.  (Including not ramming the seat boxes until you can't get an oxo cube in them.)  I have seen some awful installations by some manufacturers.

 

For example.  The quickest warm up with Alde is using both Electric and Gas.  Dependent on the site amps you have a choice of 1kw - 2kw or 3 kw consumption.  Add in Gas and you are adding in roughly twice as much again as 3 kw electric.  That is a hell of a lot of heat.  You can set it to prioritize electric so that once the initial warm up is done then it will revert to electric only.  So many people who say slow to warm up either don't know this or refuse to run it on both for the initial warm up.  

 

If you want to see what it is capable of then see here.

  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pnr3tzEnvIM

Or testing it against extreme heat see here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5P2blCvHbas

 

Obviously if you fail to read the instructions and leave it set to just 1 kw (as I came across one one site 2 years ago)  It is going to take forever and struggle to maintain a temperature in cold weather.  On this occasion having  reset the heater to a sensible setting the owners went from castigating it to extolling the virtues to every one who would listen.  Yes it has a cost of replacing the fluid at 5 years but worth every penny for us.  Being members of an owners club we  are visitors to both vans and motor homes fitted with both types.  Alde is far superior in comfort as far as we are concerned.  Every thing in the van including clothes in lockers, soft furnishings  etc feel as though they have just come out of the airing cupboard.

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We have had 2 caravans with blown air and the current with Alde which is by far the best.

Cliff

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17 minutes ago, Alan Stanley said:

In my opinion the Alde System is the business.  However like all systems you do need to a install it properly and be actually read and understand the instructions.  (Including not ramming the seat boxes until you can't get an oxo cube in them.)  I have seen some awful installations by some manufacturers.

 

For example.  The quickest warm up with Alde is using both Electric and Gas.  Dependent on the site amps you have a choice of 1kw - 2kw or 3 kw consumption.  Add in Gas and you are adding in roughly twice as much again as 3 kw electric.  That is a hell of a lot of heat.  You can set it to prioritize electric so that once the initial warm up is done then it will revert to electric only.  So many people who say slow to warm up either don't know this or refuse to run it on both for the initial warm up.  

 

If you want to see what it is capable of then see here.

  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pnr3tzEnvIM

Or testing it against extreme heat see here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5P2blCvHbas

 

Obviously if you fail to read the instructions and leave it set to just 1 kw (as I came across one one site 2 years ago)  It is going to take forever and struggle to maintain a temperature in cold weather.  On this occasion having  reset the heater to a sensible setting the owners went from castigating it to extolling the virtues to every one who would listen.  Yes it has a cost of replacing the fluid at 5 years but worth every penny for us.  Being members of an owners club we  are visitors to both vans and motor homes fitted with both types.  Alde is far superior in comfort as far as we are concerned.  Every thing in the van including clothes in lockers, soft furnishings  etc feel as though they have just come out of the airing cupboard.

 

Regardless of the number of power sources and kw used, once the Alde coolant is up to about 80C, it cuts off - so it's not about the time it takes to warm the coolant, it's about the time it takes to warm the air, structure and fabrics within the caravan.

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We have come from a Pegasus 2017 blown air to a Buccaneer with underfloor and wet Alde heating. Controls on the  Truma air seem more as per a house ie water and heating separate and on timers-Alde has day mode night mode and times set and then a nothing period can be set too-took some getting my head round.

 

Only been out once in it but it was jolly cold-sharp frost and the water system  coped REALLY well-of course the  added benefit is we have underfloor heating which is great-and a towel rad in the bathroom-no more cold damp towels if is raining out side-quite the opposite. The service cost is now only every 5 years so happy to pay a bit more and of course the system makes for a heavy caravan but if it carries on working like that we WON'T want to go back. It seems much quieter-at night you can't hear it-you can the air a bit even on eco mode, the heat around the van is MUCH more even-no cold patches-our bathroom in the Bailey was always cooler-now it feels the same, and the night time temp seemed to be able to be kept more steadily-more like a home system. Bit longer to get up to temp perhaps but only marginally-after that so far the wet heating has it for us! (and we were very happy really with the Truma).Def seems more luxurious!

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We have blown air. . . . . If we start it off on duel fuel it’s ok . We thought initially that there was something wrong with it having had a smaller van with the same system where we couldn’t breath after half an hour because of the heat. Truma had the van (our present one)in and said they had adjusted  the thermostat and there was nothing wrong with it . If we try to get toasty hot quickly on electric it won’t happen . Others say the wet system is better but as we don’t do mid winter trips we are not fussed. I have heard you can hear the wet system if the tank is in the wardrobe next to your head. I always put earplugs in as our dogs shuffle and sigh/sneeze/occasional howl in the night so that wouldn’t bother me also with our sliding bed a radiator at the end would restrict the space to get past. But I certainly wouldn’t discount changing .hope that helps

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2 hours ago, Black Grouse said:

I'd go back to Truma blown air if I could - with the proviso that any underfloor ducting would need insulating properly, easy enough DIY.

 

Our present Alde system is supplement by a 1kw/2kw fan heater as it takes forever to warm up.

 

"Change is inevitable, progress is optional"

 

Sadly, Lunar’s efforts with Alde were not done properly. They didn’t do any cold climate chamber testing as far as I’m aware and there was much guess work. We had two Lunar’s with Alde heating and it was ok, but there were cold spots and it took ages to heat up.

 

Other manufacturers (I know that Bailey, Coachman and Swift do) do full cold climate chamber tests (I’ve witnessed the process on a Swift), and work with Alde  on the initial design and prototype caravans. We now have a Coachman which has the new 16mm pipework (something that Coachman don’t advertise, despite being the first European manufacturer to use it!), and it’s MUCH quicker to heat up than the Lunar’s with 22mm pipework were and is consistently warm throughout the caravan.

 

Both systems are very good generally, and each has its merit or disadvantage. Originally, the blown air systems were very cost-effective as they had separate heating and water systems, but now as they’re combi-boilers, they’ve lost much of that cost USP. 

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2 minutes ago, nigel207 said:

Sadly, Lunar’s efforts with Alde were not done properly.

Our 2018 clubman seems to be well installed. Even heat throughout the van, and about 45 mins heat up from cold. 

The only issue is a creaking noise at the front when the system cuts in. I guess it’s a pipe rubbing, just haven’t got round to investigating

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3 minutes ago, Lost in the wilderness said:

Our 2018 clubman seems to be well installed. Even heat throughout the van, and about 45 mins heat up from cold

 

WOW. If it took that long in ours I think Petal would have a REAL moan about it and as we all know that is not conducive to having a good time :unsure: 

 

The system may fine when up and running but that is too long to be wearing overcoats inside.

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17 minutes ago, Lost in the wilderness said:

Our 2018 clubman seems to be well installed. Even heat throughout the van, and about 45 mins heat up from cold. 

The only issue is a creaking noise at the front when the system cuts in. I guess it’s a pipe rubbing, just haven’t got round to investigating

You are lucky. On the whole our second Lunar was ok, but I think that a good system with Lunar was more good luck than judgment. I’m not knocking Lunar generally, as our last two gave good service and we were genuinely sorry to see them go. In some respects, the 2015 SE that we had was actually better than the Coachman VIP - lighting, access to storage in places for example. But, the heating in the Coachman is FAR quicker to heat up (similar sized caravans) and more even. With the last Lunar, heat in the lounge was good above floor level, but we did get cold draughts coming up from under the front chest.

Edited by nigel207
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Our swift has Alde heating. Our previous ones had blown air.

 

From a pure heat perspective, radiators everytime. You just need to look at housing in terms of whether houses have wet systems or blown air. Builders tried blown air in the 70s and it was horrible. Hard to control and it provides (IMHO) a very dry unpleasant environment.

 

In terms of other factors such as weight or maintenance you pays your money and takes your choice. The fluid change is a pain but it's once every five years. Our blown air systems were probably noisier than the Alde but that's probably down to installation and whether an in-line pump or header tank pump is used.

 

But we'd never go back to blown air...

 

 

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2 hours ago, PandR said:

From a pure heat perspective, radiators everytime. You just need to look at housing in terms of whether houses have wet systems or blown air. Builders tried blown air in the 70s and it was horrible. Hard to control and it provides (IMHO) a very dry unpleasant environment.

 

Absolutely true, the problem is in caravans the wet heating system is usually finned pipes inside built in furniture, not really a good way to heat the van. Look at commercial premises you'll find the majority use hot air heating not radiators.

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4 hours ago, Black Grouse said:

 

Regardless of the number of power sources and kw used, once the Alde coolant is up to about 80C, it cuts off - so it's not about the time it takes to warm the coolant, it's about the time it takes to warm the air, structure and fabrics within the caravan.

Nope.  If the heat given out to the structure is greater than the ability of the system to keep the fluid at optimum temperature then it will take longer to heat the structure.

Simple test. Set it to 1 kw and it will take hours to reach the set temperature if ever. Give it the works and you will be stopping off   As for it switching off at that temperature. Of course it does. A scalded bum from the towel rail is probably bloody painful when stepping out of the shower. 

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Well we are just about to switch back to Truma from Alde as the compromise to go into a TA van and the weight issue. Alde heating was difference between switching or not.

 

The van has only 1 small section underneath the van which the dealers are lagging as part of the PDI. I will also look at potentially insulting some of the piping inside the van as well.

 

Time will tell if the change back affects our enjoyment of the caravan as we tourer in all seasons

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Alde every time, the whole van is kept warm, I remember taking out our sleeping bags from under the seats and they were freezing, not with the Alde and the air quality is much better. In the winter when we get to a site the first thing I do is switch on the heating and by the time I am set up the van is well on the way to 22*c. I will never have another van without Alde.

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17 hours ago, nigel207 said:

 

Sadly, Lunar’s efforts with Alde were not done properly. They didn’t do any cold climate chamber testing as far as I’m aware and there was much guess work. We had two Lunar’s with Alde heating and it was ok, but there were cold spots and it took ages to heat up.

 

We had to have a modification done to our Lunar Delta for it to heat more evenly.

Modification for heating..jpg

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Some of the complaints about Alde heating  is coming from some site owners about the amount of leccy they use  in comparison to the truma blown air system . They can tell as the sites have meters on the pitches.

Edited by J & S

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