The Alde Heating and Hot Water System is found in many modern and high spec caravans. Very different to the Truma system, the Alde system works very much like a closed home central heating system and includes a pump and boiler, convector panels, radiators, towel rails and a digital control panel. The system uses a mix of glycol (automotive anti-freeze) and water, which can be topped up at the expansion tank. The system is fully controllable and can be set to operate on different days and times. Some systems have the optional extra of being controllable from an app on your smart phone!
Alde Heating and Hot Water Set Up Guide
Caravan expert John Wickersham explains how the Alde central heating system works
Leigh Marsden of Alde talks through the basic operation of the Alde Heating System in a 2011 Bailey Unicorn Madrid.
Video made by Alde, demonstrating how to use all the functions of the control panel including day/time and Auto Night settings.
How to Set Up The System:
1. Connect 230v electrics or turn gas supply on.
2. Inside the caravan, locate the yellow drain tap and make sure this is in the closed (horizontal) position, to fill the hot water tank. Connect the water supply as for any other caravan, i.e. using an Aquaroll and external pump, and then bleed the air out of the pipes in the usual way by turning on the taps until the water runs clear, then turn off the taps.
3. Switch on main Alde Water Heating isolator switch so that the Orange Neon on the switch is lit. A 'plug' icon should show in the top right corner of the Alde control unit, showing that the electric supply is connected.
Using the Alde Control Panel to operate the system:
1. Press the 'On' switch to turn on the panel. 'On' display should flash, indicating that the boiler will be turned on to heat the water. Press 'Store' and the water will heat to 70 degrees (not adjustable). No heating will be provided at this stage.
2. Use the left/right navigation arrows to move to the 'Thermometer' icon. This sets the desired thermostatic temperature of heating in the caravan and switches the heating pump on. The 'Pump' icon (circulating arrows) should be displayed in the top line of the control panel. Use the +/On button or the -/Off buttons to set the required temperature of the caravan and then press 'Store'. In warm weather, if heating is not required, set the temperature to 'below' the shown ambient temperature of the caravan, and press 'Store'. The 'Pump' icon should then turn off.
3. The next icon on the top row is the 'Tap' icon which is a hot water booster. The Alde system supplies plenty of hot water for a shower but if more is required, use the navigation arrows until the Tap icon is flashing and then press the '+/On' button. The system will increase the boiler temperature to supply additional hot water for 30 mins only and will automatically switch off. Note that heating will NOT be provided when boost mode is operating.
4. The next symbol along is the 'Flame' icon for Gas. To run the system on gas instead of electric, move the navigation arrows until the flame icon is lit, and press the +/On icon. The system will then run on gas. It is possible to run the system on both electric AND gas at the same time which will heat the water very quickly if required.
5. The next icon along the top row gives the option to change the amount of power being drawn from the campsite. Use the navigation arrows until the box is flashing and then use +/On or -/Off to choose the amount of power from 1kw, 2kw or 3kw, depending on the campsite.
6. The last icon on the top row is is the 'Plug' icon which shows the boiler is connected to the electrical supply. If this is not showing, the system will not work, and the hook up cable connection and main isolation switch should be checked.
Using the Advanced Settings on the Alde Control Panel:
There are a number of useful advanced settings which are displayed on the bottom line of the control panel and the icons are as follows:
1. Use the navigation arrows to select the Sub Menu icon in the bottom left hand corner of the control panel and press +/On.
2. The first icon is a 'Clock face' which allows you to set the day and time for the heating to operate, similar to a domestic central heating timer. Use the navigation arrows until the clock icon starts flashing. Press +/On to select the day. Scroll across to select the hour and minute. Once the day and time has been set, press 'Store'.
3. The next icon on the bottom row is 'EXT'. This is an optional extra which, if fitted, allows the system to be controlled from a smartphone, using an Alde app.
4. The next icon is the 'Auto Night' icon, which allows the heating system to operate within two set times and two set temperatures. The heating will come on between two times e.g. 10.00pm and 07.00am, and between a lower and upper temperature, set by the user. Use the navigation arrows until the 'Auto Night' icon is flashing and then press +/On to access the settings and once set, press 'Store'.
5. The next symbol along is the 'Auto On' icon, which provides the option of setting the system to operate on a certain day and time. This is particulary useful if the caravan is being stored on a seasonal pitch as it will 'air' the caravan.
6. The next symbol is an 'AMP' icon. This is an optional extra which, if fitted, allows the boiler to self regulate by monitoring the level of available power from the site.
7. The menu icon, at the very end of the bottom row, is for engineers only and should not be accessed.
The system uses a mixture of ethlyne glycol and water at a ratio of 50% ethylene glycol to 50% de-ionised water, which ensures the correct level of anti-freezing, anti-bacterial, coolant, and anti-corrosion for the system. The expansion tank is usually located in a cupboard and provides a visual level of fluid in the tank. This will rise when the system is operating but when cold, the fluid level should be 1cm above the 'minimum' marker. The tank can be topped up if necessary using the correct ratio. Alde recommends using only G12++ or G13 anti-freeze and says the fluid in the system should be replaced every 2 years. If you are unsure about which antifreeze has been used in your caravan, drain and replace all the fluid.