Frost Control

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Frost Control

Post by Rubi's Dad on Fri Feb 03, 2017 5:39 pm

I
We have 'carried on camping' though Dec and Jan and a couple of times the Frost Contol protection gizmo has done its thing and dumped the water from the boiler as temp was below 7c. In the A/S owners manual page9-12 for Broadway it refers to an accessory that can be fitted, a Truma heating element for the FrostControl. Just wondered if anyone has fitted one of these and what the experience was? How is to gut, does it work, what was the cost?

Thanks all
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Re: Frost Control

Post by ajrm on Mon Feb 20, 2017 11:32 am

There is another thread on here ( you may have already found it as your post is quite old now) that explains in detail about the frost control system.

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Re: Frost Control

Post by Gromit on Mon Feb 20, 2017 12:00 pm

Depending on your attitude to gadgets that try to do your thinking for you, you may like to consider changing the auto dump valve for a manual one.

Apart from anything else it seems pretty daft (to me) to have a dump valve which senses when it's cold so it can open and dump the water, then to fit it with a heater which totally negates its primary purpose . . . and effectively turns it into a manual valve!! shrugg

I have replaced ours with a manual one, which is completely idiot proof (fortunate in my case, some would say snigger ) providing I remember to open it when frost is likely.

I don't find that difficult at all. During the cold weather season it's essential to drain down straight after a trip anyway, and one part of the process is to flip up the little yellow lever - then run the pump for a few seconds when all the water has drained.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/GENUINE-Truma-Water-Heater-Safety-Drain-Valve-Push-On-Fittings-70141-02-/272537014018?hash=item3f7478cf02:g:r8YAAOSwUKxYi8ZA

Just my opinion of course, and I know others disagree - but it all depends on precisely why you want to fit the heater.

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Re: Frost Control

Post by Rubi's Dad on Mon Feb 20, 2017 12:36 pm

Useful reading, Thanks both.
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Re: Frost Control

Post by Paramedic on Mon Feb 20, 2017 3:52 pm

My understanding is the dump valve should not activate if your are using the van the winter because the space/water heating will keep the temperature sufficient to prevent the drain valve from operating.

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Re: Frost Control

Post by Liam on Mon Feb 20, 2017 5:45 pm

Paramedic wrote:My understanding is the dump valve should not activate if your are using the van the winter because the space/water heating will keep the temperature sufficient to prevent the drain valve from operating.
Paramedic,
You are correct - this time last year in the mountains in Spain, where the day time temperature can be deceptively pleasant in the sun, the first night we were lulled into thinking we did not require any night heat - only to be woken in the middle of the night when the dump valve opened and we discovered that the outside temperature was well below 0c. There after we left the heating on at night and set at about 12C  and had no further issues with the dump valve even though we experienced much lower temperatures. 
I think we can be comfortable and warm in bed in a modern motor-home and not realise that there has been a considerable temperature drop outside. So for that reason I am a fan of the " infamous" valve but I agree it can be a pain when it unexpectedly trips and I do think it is a tad too sensitive!. 
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Re: Frost Control

Post by Libraryman2 on Mon Feb 20, 2017 8:30 pm

I have a 2016 Broadway and it has the auto dump valve of course, it also has a heater to heat the fresh water tank in case the cold water trips it.
However for the life of me, I can't understand why the tank is not insulated! To prevent the water temp dropping to ambient!
So I plan to order some insulation later in the summer and prepare for next winter!

Ray
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Re: Frost Control

Post by Gromit on Mon Feb 20, 2017 10:46 pm

Libraryman2 wrote:However for the life of me, I can't understand why the tank is not insulated! To prevent the water temp dropping to ambient!
So I plan to order some insulation later in the summer and prepare for next winter!
Ray
Hi Ray

There's an interesting discussion here, which is still more or less on topic. smile!

Insulation cannot prevent the tank freezing. It can only slow the process down, and by the same laws of physics it slows down thawing by the same degree. The thermal capacity of a tank full of water will keep it from freezing solid for many hours, however cold it is, but the same can't be said for the pipework.

The comparatively tiny amounts of water in the pipes can freeze very quickly, after which it doesn't matter whether the tank is frozen solid or not - you still can't draw any water. shrugg  Much more effective therefore to insulate the pipework, and best of all to run along it some low powered heater cable or tape.

https://www.tlc-direct.co.uk/Manufacturers/Bush_Nelson/Heat_Tape/index.html

These are mains powered, which is probably quite practical since you are more likely to be on hook-up in winter, but it is obtainable as 12 volt. (I doubt if the battery would last long however.) Some of this along the pipes and under some insulation would be very effective.

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Re: Frost Control

Post by Libraryman2 on Mon Feb 20, 2017 11:11 pm

That's interesting Dave, thanks.
My understanding is(correct me if I'm wrong) thatthe auto dump valve operates under two specific conditions 
1. If the ambient temp around the sensor is low enough (2degsC) 
2. Water passing through the valve that is lower than 2degs C regardless of the ambient temperature around the valve sensor!

So if the outside temperature was say -2C the the heater would be in operation and providing the water in the feed pipe had not frozen the heater would potentially prevent the dump valve from operating when the tap was run!
My understanding of decent lagging was to assume that even at -2C limited use of the heater would work to keep the water temp high enough without sucking all the life out of the batteries if not on mains (a situation I find myself in quite often)

I can quite accept that the heater elements described in the link would be useful on the feed pipe in addition to lagging..

Ray
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Re: Frost Control

Post by Gromit on Tue Feb 21, 2017 9:32 am

Morning Ray

I think you are correct in every detail, but are you going to a lot of trouble (and risk, if you flatten you battery) to solve a problem that is actually created by the fancy safety valve??

If you are off hook-up and the ambient temperature is cold enough for long enough (don't forget that factor) to freeze your tank solid, you are in the clag anyway. There's no way your battery alone could cope with such extremes. Plus - would it really matter if your polypropylene fresh water tank did freeze solid?? That's not the one the auto dump valve is designed to protect.

There will be no possible risk to your hot water tank, as you will be using it all the time, using gas if not on hook-up, so the auto dump valve is totally redundant. It only really becomes useful and important if the van is not in use and you have forgotten to drain down. It then dumps the water, most importantly from the boiler, because if that freezes solid it will be very expensive.

Since there is no risk to anything that matters during the time you are using the van, it seems to me that your primary concerns are twofold.
1). Keep the water flowing by insulating and/or heating the pipework. (That could be achieved by careful use of the battery power I think.)
2). Replace the auto dump valve with a manual one, which won't over-react and leave you with no water, and rely on your common sense to open it and drain down when you leave the van unoccupied.

The basic point at issue is - the auto dump valve was designed primarily to protect the boiler when the van is unoccupied in case the owners forget to drain down. It's not really of much use when living in the van, since the boiler will be in use and therefore at no risk.

That's how I see it anyway. smile!

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Re: Frost Control

Post by Libraryman2 on Tue Feb 21, 2017 1:58 pm

Hi Dave, thanks for helping me to understand the function of the valve a little better!
If I can clarify my viewpoint; I really aren't worried about the tank freezing, I'm guessing that I'm being a little too anal about this valve and my tank water temperature!
E.g a couple of w/e's ago, the temperature was -1 C or so....
I worried somewhat about the valve dumping my water...(probably unnecessarily)..so I ran the heater all night...and as per my expectations; the battery suffered a little...
Now; as far as I'm aware the heater has a thermal cut off so it does not just run all night but clearly; it's not ideal when no hook up is available!
I really need time to assess the behaviour of this dump valve and find out when it's prudent to use the heater and when it's not needed!
To be fair, I don't think there's enough info for me about its parameters of use but many thanks for lending me your ear and your view.

Ray
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Re: Frost Control

Post by Paramedic on Tue Feb 21, 2017 4:36 pm

Gromit wrote:Morning Ray

I think you are correct in every detail, but are you going to a lot of trouble (and risk, if you flatten you battery) to solve a problem that is actually created by the fancy safety valve??

If you are off hook-up and the ambient temperature is cold enough for long enough (don't forget that factor) to freeze your tank solid, you are in the clag anyway. There's no way your battery alone could cope with such extremes. Plus - would it really matter if your polypropylene fresh water tank did freeze solid?? That's not the one the auto dump valve is designed to protect.

There will be no possible risk to your hot water tank, as you will be using it all the time, using gas if not on hook-up, so the auto dump valve is totally redundant. It only really becomes useful and important if the van is not in use and you have forgotten to drain down. It then dumps the water, most importantly from the boiler, because if that freezes solid it will be very expensive.

Since there is no risk to anything that matters during the time you are using the van, it seems to me that your primary concerns are twofold.
1). Keep the water flowing by insulating and/or heating the pipework. (That could be achieved by careful use of the battery power I think.)
2). Replace the auto dump valve with a manual one, which won't over-react and leave you with no water, and rely on your common sense to open it and drain down when you leave the van unoccupied.

The basic point at issue is - the auto dump valve was designed primarily to protect the boiler when the van is unoccupied in case the owners forget to drain down. It's not really of much use when living in the van, since the boiler will be in use and therefore at no risk.

That's how I see it anyway. smile!
Hi Gromit and congratulations on a most comprehensive synopsis extolling the virtues for the dump valve. Me thinks that you have convinced yourself to reinstall it on your van. Harrah....you have seen the light! hugegrins

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Re: Frost Control

Post by Gromit on Tue Feb 21, 2017 5:02 pm

Just the opposite Paramedic.

The main point I tried to make (and obviously failed shrugg ) is that the auto dump valve is designed to protect the boiler, which obviously doesn't need protecting when the van is occupied. Therefore it's of little use to Ray.

If I understood his comments correctly, he's trying to avoid the unwanted dumping of water when he's using the van. Simple fix - fit a manual dump valve and take back control of his life! snigger

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