The Alde hot water system on our teardrop trailers is amazing but the control panel can be confusing to some. The Alde provides two things: hot water for the shower and sink, and also cabin heat. There are three main components of this system: 1. the “electric cartridge” 2. the propane burner 3. the circulation pump Alde central heating is a hydronic system that works on the same principles as those found in many of our homes. The heat source consists of a propane furnace with a 230 Volt electric element that heats a mixture of water and glycol. The hot glycol mixture is circulated through the system's convectors and pipes with the aid of a pump. Because of the glycol being pumped through the plumbing, you may hear a ‘bubbling’ sound coming from inside the bench seat when the Alde is running. This is normal, and means that it’s working. :-)
The round knob is your cabin heat temperature control. Start at the “o” setting between 3 and 4 (about 72 degrees F) and adjust up or down to your comfort level. The most efficient way of heating up the system, especially if it´s cold, is to turn it on with propane and electric until it has reached the desired temperature, then turn off the propane and use electric to maintain the heat. Using both electric and propane? The heater always prioritizes electric over propane so if you activate both sources it will always try to keep the propane usage to a minimum. The Alde control panel also has a little red LED light. Probably not surprising to you, if the red light comes on something is obviously needing attention. If you are dry camping, keep a close eye on that light! If it blinks red, the voltage on your battery has dropped below 10.5V. When that happens, turn off all things pulling power from the battery, or start your generator! You know what’s worse than a blinking red light? Letting your battery drop even further and hearing the smoke detector and CO2 detector chirping because of low voltage. If it stays constantly red, the propane line to the Alde has become blocked (check your propane levels and valve) or has the unit has overheated. You can reset the system by resetting its circuit breaker, found on the face of the driver’s side bench seat. Have fun, stay warm, and enjoy the Alde!
*For the curious, one BTU is the amount of work needed to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit