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Old 12-23-2012, 08:37 AM   #1
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Aqua/hydro hot

Happy Holidays,
I have been reading many posts about the Aquahot/HydroHot, from repairs to I would never live in another without it. A big concern for us is that we do boondock for long periods of time. Hubby is under the impression that it can't be done. eg. this past summer we volunteered with USFS. USFS provided propane which gave us heat. We had no shore power. WE do have solar panels.
I don't understand how the Aqua/Hydrohot can be used when that is the type of camping one does? Can someone please explain. Thanks
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Old 12-23-2012, 10:09 AM   #2
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The Aqua/Hydrohot uses Diesel fuel for the burner system (there is a propane version available now). It also has a 120v electric heating element.

If boondocking for extended periods you would need to transport diesel fuel to keep the Aqua/Hydrohot going. Not sure if you could talk the USFS into providing diesel or a stipend as you would not be using much propane.

If you are using a forced air furnace than I think the electrical demands would be similar. Aqua/Hydrohot has a 12 v motor for the burner, 12 v water pump for heating, and the heat exchangers have 12v low volume fans.

Hope this answered some of your questions.

Steve
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Old 12-23-2012, 08:11 PM   #3
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If boon docking, in the summer, you would not need much diesel fuel, just for making hot water for shower/sink use. If you have a electric post, it would work great on the electric element too.
I have the Aqua Hot for 4+ years, next coach will have it too.
Also the generator is a diesel, so no need for gasoline or LP Gas.
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Old 12-24-2012, 09:19 AM   #4
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All else being equal, I'd think an Aqua Hot system would be a benefit for boondocking. Remember, you're not keeping a 6 or 10 gallon tank of water hot constantly, it's more of a demand system.

So far the longest we've been parked without moving is a couple months this past September and November and the combined use of diesel for both hot water and heat was hardly noticable on the fuel guage when we left (150 gallon diesel tank). If you are 100% LP I can't say what to expect for time between required fill ups, but I hope they deliver.
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Old 12-25-2012, 09:17 AM   #5
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Agree, theAquaHot uses 1/3 gal per hour of run time. Tha means my unit might run 15 min per hour on a bitter cold day, this would use a gal diesel fuel in 12 hrs. Again on a very cold day.
Yes, I have it serviced ever year just lik our home oil fired hot water radiator system.
From years experience, it takes 3times the gallons of LPGas to do what 1gal of furl oil/diesel does.
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Old 12-25-2012, 10:06 AM   #6
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The AquaHot is not a demand" system. Depending on the model, you may have as much as 16 gal of coolant that is heated to between 190-230 all the time that its switched on. This hot coolant is circulated through heat exchangers in the coach for heat. There is a fresh water copper coil in the coolant tank that provided hot water. There is also an engine preheat loop that Circulates engine coolant through the AquaHot tank to provide a preheat function.

The Only 120 VAC used by the AquaHot is the electric heating element (newer models have 2) which can be switched off and all functions work on diesel only. I suspect the AquaHot will use somewhat more 12VDC power than the blower on an LP furnace but I think boon docking with AquaHot is certainly workable.
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Old 12-25-2012, 03:20 PM   #7
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The A-H is not for everyone, just like the LP Furnace is not for everyone. For me, I enjoy the low noise level and extreme comfy heating of the coach the Aqua Hot provides, yes it is not an economy system, there are annual maintance required, like the home oil burner furnace. The cost vs comfy and reliability swings to the A-H unit for me. Heck, last year I spent about $1,200.00 for a 100% rebuild, not a fix it up, but a make it new, so far it has been flawless and have to listen close to know it is runing, the exhaust is very clean and does not make black marks on the ground as it did when I bought it. The 10 kw Kubota powered genset does darken the ground from the exhaust. So the A-H burns a lot cleaner. Upon testing, it is running between 84-87% efficient with exhaust at 375-400 f.
Smile, you only go around once.
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Old 12-26-2012, 08:17 AM   #8
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Thank you so much for the information you have provided. We had wondered how much diesel it used. Here is a stupid question..does it smell outside when it is running?or inside for that matter? Are your rv's insulated?
I have no problem with maintenance issues as long as I know upfront. We jumped into rving without any knowledge (40' dp 1 slide) fell in love with rving. And then learned!
While up in the High Sierras the furnace broke I forgot what piece it was but it took a month for the part to arrive then arrived broke ! I had no idea of the waiting times! Thank goodness we were able to plug in as we had space heaters.
So now I research . I have noticed that some of you know the temperature of your exhaust. So that tells me something that has to be done that I didn't know about. why do you monitor this?

How do you cook? what provides the energy?

Not said but indicated is that maintenance can be expensive, does that mean one cannot do it oneself? Are we talking the same type of maintenance as a stick house? Normal type stuff?
Honey is not so well, is this anything that I could not do while on the road? I was an analog tester in telecommunications is a past life, but don't have much physical strength.

Thank you so much for taking the time to provide me with so much needed information.

Happy Trails!
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Old 12-26-2012, 09:40 AM   #9
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I don't think people monitor their AquaHot exhaust temp other than if the exhaust isn't hot you know your burner is not working. You can however tell quite a bit about how well your unit is working by observing your exhaust.

When the AquaHot diesel burner starts the following sequence happens:
1. The blower starts & runs for several seconds.
2. The burner fires with an audible whoosh and you will get a light puff of blue-white smoke and a very light diesel odor.
3. The burner will continue to run with a very steady sound. If there is any stuttering or smoke it's an indication that the nozzle needs to be changed.
4. When the coolant temp reaches approx 230 degrees the burner shuts off.
5. The blower continues to run for between 2-3 minutes during which time you may have a light diesel smell. This purges the combustion chamber for the next burn.
6. If the blower starts making odd sounds after the 2-3 minute run period like it's trying to shut down & takes several attempts to stop before it finally does, that's a sign the electronic burner controller is failing.
7. If you leave the electric switch on all the time, the diesel burner will only run when demand is high.

The diesel burner needs to run regularly. You will need fewer tune ups if it gets regular use. We are full timers and our unit is on 24/7/365 unless I'm letting it cool down for service. I went 3 years between service intervals last time and I started getting puffs of smoke and stuttering. I'll do it at 2 years in the future if I don't start to get any smoke before that.

A normal service calls for the replacement of the fuel nozzle and the fuel filter along with cleaning the combustion chamber. Doing the service requires having some physical dexterity and some upper body strength.

Most people with AquaHot still use LP for cooking and running the frig when electric is un available.
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Old 12-26-2012, 03:36 PM   #10
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Thanks Steve, We have not seen any rv that has lp if it has the aquahot. In particular the Gulfstream Friendship. So we have been trying to figure out how the aquahot influences the cooking and running frig.

Thanks again
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Old 12-26-2012, 03:51 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigreentrtle View Post
Thanks Steve, We have not seen any rv that has lp if it has the aquahot. In particular the Gulfstream Friendship. So we have been trying to figure out how the aquahot influences the cooking and running frig.

Thanks again
Many coaches with AquaHot also have LP for cooking and running the RV frig. If no LP then the coach is all electric and will have a residential frig, an electric cooktop of some type and generally a larger pure sine wave inverter with up to 8 6 volt batteries.

The AquaHot doesn't have any effect on the frig or cooking type. Our coach has AquaHot for heat and hot water, LP for cooking and we switched to a residential frig a couple of years ago. We have not needed to fuel with LP since the fall of '09.
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Old 12-26-2012, 04:02 PM   #12
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We do occasionally get a whiff of diesel fume smell from our Aqua Hot. Usually very light winds that move the exhaust directly past the windows on one side or the other. If standing near the exhaust pipe when the burner is lit you will smell the exhaust. No where near as bad as the generator exhaust, but you can smell it.

I've been wondering about service intervals. We bought our rig new and took delivery 2 years ago. The Aqua Hot did not work right at time of delivery. The dealer made an attempt to address the problem and only made it worse (it would not reliably light and after the dealer futzed with it - it leaked fuel onto the ground). When we had the coach back at the factory for other warranty repairs an Aqua Hot tech (from the factory, I believe in Colorado?) serviced it and it's worked flawlessly since. I've been full time in the rig for almost a year and one half now and given my experience with the dealer I'm reluctant to "fix" something that seems to be working just fine, in spite of many here that insist it should be serviced annually.
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Old 12-26-2012, 04:04 PM   #13
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I just looked at Gulfstream Friendship on line (8708, 8411, 8412, 8414). All had Hydro Hot for heating and hot water. 85lb Propane tank. I would assume for stove and Fridge.

Most RV's with Hydro Hot/ AquaHot still use propane for stove and fridge.

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Old 12-26-2012, 04:27 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by JMonroe View Post
We do occasionally get a whiff of diesel fume smell from our Aqua Hot. Usually very light winds that move the exhaust directly past the windows on one side or the other. If standing near the exhaust pipe when the burner is lit you will smell the exhaust. No where near as bad as the generator exhaust, but you can smell it.

I've been wondering about service intervals. We bought our rig new and took delivery 2 years ago. The Aqua Hot did not work right at time of delivery. The dealer made an attempt to address the problem and only made it worse (it would not reliably light and after the dealer futzed with it - it leaked fuel onto the ground). When we had the coach back at the factory for other warranty repairs an Aqua Hot tech (from the factory, I believe in Colorado?) serviced it and it's worked flawlessly since. I've been full time in the rig for almost a year and one half now and given my experience with the dealer I'm reluctant to "fix" something that seems to be working just fine, in spite of many here that insist it should be serviced annually.
Hey Jay & Peggy,

Don't be concerned about a 12 month service interval. We are full timers also and I went 3 years the last time. That was too long and I started to get smoke and stuttering. I will do at 2 years unless I have indications it should be sooner. Rodger Burke is one of the best AquaHot techs around and he says as long as its lighting and burning clean with little smoke and smell, leave it alone. If having some one else do the service, look for the real authorized AquaHot service techs who do the service all the time.
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