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Robbiecs

Help: Alde Comfort Boiler - Radiators work, but no hot water

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Hi all, recently bought our first boat and have been continueous cruising so the engine has heated the water through the calorifier. Now we're staying put for a couple of weeks at a time we would like to use the Alde Comfort 2928 for hot water whilst keeping the radiators turned off! The boiler has been recently serviced so works well. 

 

We've turned all the individual radiators off and turned the external thermostat on high but the water is still not warming up! (The radiators get nice and hot quickly when turned on). We've referenced all the instruction manuals but these are mostly on how to turn on the boiler etc. 

 

From reading forums etc I'm beginning g to think it could be a restictor valve? But no clue what that looks like on the boiler/calorifier. 

 

Any guidance or suggestions would be greatly appreciated! 

 

Cheers, Robbie

Edited by Robbiecs

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I don't know how old your Aldi Comfort is, I think they are all called "Comfort." Anyway I have an Aldi Comfort on my boat, the great big tall skinny thing, and mine doesn't heat the water only the rads. My boat was built in 2000 so I expect the Aldi to be around that age. I can only heat the water using my engine or the immersion if I'm on shore power.

Edited by pete.i

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Mines an Aldi comfort tall one on a 2003 boat. It heats both the radiators and hot water. The cauliflower (ever how you spell it), is under the bed. It always heats that but we can isolate the radiator system by turning and tap valve on and off under the bed to.

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2 hours ago, Robbiecs said:

Hi all, recently bought our first boat and have been continueous cruising so the engine has heated the water through the calorifier. Now we're staying put for a couple of weeks at a time we would like to use the Alde Comfort 2928 for hot water whilst keeping the radiators turned off! The boiler has been recently serviced so works well. 

 

We've turned all the individual radiators off and turned the external thermostat on high but the water is still not warming up! (The radiators get nice and hot quickly when turned on). We've referenced all the instruction manuals but these are mostly on how to turn on the boiler etc. 

 

From reading forums etc I'm beginning g to think it could be a restictor valve? But no clue what that looks like on the boiler/calorifier. 

 

Any guidance or suggestions would be greatly appreciated! 

 

Cheers, Robbie

It wont be a restrictor but it might be a three way valve. If you said that it was heating the calorifier (domestic hot water) but not the radiators I would have suggested there was a simple isolation valve that turns the hot supply to the radiators off but that is not what is happening. AS you always need hot water it is very unlikely anyone fitted a valve that allowed you to keep the radiators on and the not heat the hot water.

 

From this we can conclude, as others have said, that maybe the Alde never, ever heated the hot water or, if it can you have a valve somewhere that needs altering. I would be looking for a lever valve with three positions but where I have no idea.

 

Also find out where the calorifier (hot water cylinder) is. Exactly what you will see depends upon if its vertical or horizontal. If you have four pipes connected to it (cold in, hot out, and two coil connections) it is likely that the Alde never heated the domestic water. IF there are six pipes on it (cold in, hot out and four coil pipes serving two coils) then the Alde is likely to also provide hot water but that circuit is either air locked or a valve is turned off. You then need to trace the pipes that do not run to the engine looking for a valve.

 

If you are unsure about what you are looking at on the calorifier then post a photo.

 

Edited to add - you do know the knob on the boiler is also a thermostat - the one with the star on it for igniting the boiler. If that is set low then you may not get any hot water or hot radiators. The room stat only controls a pump AND the Alde roomstat has a switch on it that turns the boiler and pump on and off. I don't think you can strat the boiler with the room stat switch turned off but if you can that would explain no hot water.

Edited by Tony Brooks

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Thanks for the info, both. Boat is 2003 build. Big tall, skinny boiler as both described. The instruction manual suggests it does heat the water too but it is the instructions for 2 models, perhaps mine is the simpler if the two?

 

Lots if valves and pipes on the calorifier under where the old bed was... Any suggestions as to which might isolate the radiators? It may be the case that this version only does the rads too but want to troubleshoot all possibilities! Thanks again! 

1 minute ago, Tony Brooks said:

It wont be a restrictor but it might be a three way valve. If you said that it was heating the calorifier (domestic hot water) but not the radiators I would have suggested there was a simple isolation valve that turns the hot supply to the radiators off but that is not what is happening. AS you always need hot water it is very unlikely anyone fitted a valve that allowed you to keep the radiators on and the not heat the hot water.

 

From this we can conclude, as others have said, that maybe the Alde never, ever heated the hot water or, if it can you have a valve somewhere that needs altering. I would be looking for a lever valve with three positions but where I have no idea.

 

Also find out where the calorifier (hot water cylinder) is. Exactly what you will see depends upon if its vertical or horizontal. If you have four pipes connected to it (cold in, hot out, and two coil connections) it is likely that the Alde never heated the domestic water. IF there are six pipes on it (cold in, hot out and four coil pipes serving two coils) then the Alde is likely to also provide hot water but that circuit is either air locked or a valve is turned off. You then need to trace the pipes that do not run to the engine looking for a valve.

 

If you are unsure about what you are looking at on the calorifier then post a photo.

Thanks Tony. Photo of calorifier attached. 

20190712_134326.jpg

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A valve to isolate the calorifier would have to come AFTER a T in the hot pipe coming from the boiler. Without seeing all the pipe runs its hard to tell but the white valve in the middle of the pipes might do it apart from the fact it is turned on.

 

The white valve by the elbow joint at the top seems to isolate that hot water supply from the calorifier but I am not 100% sure. For some odd reason it could be in the drain from the PRV (see below).

 

The brass valve fitted close to the calorifier I first though was the PRV but with that white valve in the pipe I would expect to be the PRV leak off I think the brass valve must be a thermostatic mixing valve to blend hot and cold water so you can't scald yourself from a hot tap.

 

I caan't see the all but mandatory PRV if that is a mixing valve and I cant see the pipework clearly enough to say much else.

 

Even the most basic Alde will provide hot water via a calorifier but in recreational vehicle use you cane get extra kit that saves on the calorifier. I very much doubt your Alde has that. It is all to do with the pipework.

 

For instance if its a two pipe system and the fitter just pipes the calorifier as another radiator turning all the rads off will stop water flow so the calorifier could not get hot. To get heat to the rads and/or the calorifier needs two Ts in the Alde supply & return pipe work and a control valve that may form one of the Ts.

 

 

To add. If you are new to boating it might be far quicker and easier for an experienced  member local to  to visit and have a look see but your profile does not have a location. Maybe give us a rough idea an someone may volunteer. If your in the mid Tames or Easter K&A I would happily have a look for you.

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25 minutes ago, Tony Brooks said:

A valve to isolate the calorifier would have to come AFTER a T in the hot pipe coming from the boiler. Without seeing all the pipe runs its hard to tell but the white valve in the middle of the pipes might do it apart from the fact it is turned on.

 

The white valve by the elbow joint at the top seems to isolate that hot water supply from the calorifier but I am not 100% sure. For some odd reason it could be in the drain from the PRV (see below).

 

The brass valve fitted close to the calorifier I first though was the PRV but with that white valve in the pipe I would expect to be the PRV leak off I think the brass valve must be a thermostatic mixing valve to blend hot and cold water so you can't scald yourself from a hot tap.

 

I caan't see the all but mandatory PRV if that is a mixing valve and I cant see the pipework clearly enough to say much else.

 

Even the most basic Alde will provide hot water via a calorifier but in recreational vehicle use you cane get extra kit that saves on the calorifier. I very much doubt your Alde has that. It is all to do with the pipework.

 

For instance if its a two pipe system and the fitter just pipes the calorifier as another radiator turning all the rads off will stop water flow so the calorifier could not get hot. To get heat to the rads and/or the calorifier needs two Ts in the Alde supply & return pipe work and a control valve that may form one of the Ts.

 

 

When turning the white plastic valve in the top left of the photo it simply starts to trickle water from the valve itself. I'm assuming because the calorifier stores hot water from the engine heat - This is then turned on and allowing hot water to flow? 

 

I think you're right regarding the brass valve being the hot/cold blender.

 

The black rubber pipe leads from the calorifier (bottom middle) to what I think is the PRV - Red twist valve that starts to trickle water out if the black rubber pipe, that goes up past the white valve (this simply leads under the floorboards...)

 

We had considered that we might need to have a radiator running simultaneously to keep water moving. The radiators work without any influence from the external thermostat (which I think was turned off last time we tried to have one radiator heating and trying hot water). So will give that another go. 

 

Sadly all if the pipes run behind the wall panels and I'm yet to take them off to see what leads where. 

 

Thanks again for your help! Really appreciate it. 

 

Great suggestion - We're learning a lot everyday and happy to take as much guidance as possible. Currently moored in Croxley/Rickmansworth area.

Edited by Robbiecs

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It does appear to be a twin coil (both plumbed in), which would indicate that there is another heat source than the engine.

The boiler manual will not help with explain the various valves in the plumbing as the installer may have done their own thing.

 

a thought that occurs to me is that there could be a valve to isolate the calorifier coil from the boiler to eliminate hot water rising from the calorifier up the pipes into the boiler and heating the boat in summer, but this is only speculative based on your observations so far.  I suggest a torch and pad and try to draw out the various circuits.

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5 minutes ago, Chewbacka said:

It does appear to be a twin coil (both plumbed in), which would indicate that there is another heat source than the engine.

The boiler manual will not help with explain the various valves in the plumbing as the installer may have done their own thing.

 

a thought that occurs to me is that there could be a valve to isolate the calorifier coil from the boiler to eliminate hot water rising from the calorifier up the pipes into the boiler and heating the boat in summer, but this is only speculative based on your observations so far.  I suggest a torch and pad and try to draw out the various circuits.

and the OP saying that the room stat does not stop the radiators getting hot when it is turned off suggests to me that either the Alde wiring has been messed about with or, more likely, the system is circulating by gravity.

 

The room stat definitely controls the Alde pump in its standard form and the switch on it turns the whole Alde system's 12V electrics on and off.

 

I am getting the feeling something very odd is going on here.

 

11 minutes ago, Robbiecs said:

When turning the white plastic valve in the top left of the photo it simply starts to trickle water from the valve itself. I'm assuming because the calorifier stores hot water from the engine heat - This is then turned on and allowing hot water to flow? 

 

I think you're right regarding the brass valve being the hot/cold blender.

 

The black rubber pipe leads from the calorifier (bottom middle) to what I thik is the PRV - Red twist valve that starts to trickle water out if the black rubber pipe, that goes up past the white valve (this simply leads under the floorboards...)

 

We had considered that we might need to have a radiator running simultaneously to keep water moving. The radiators work without any influence from the external thermostat (which I think was turned off last time we tried to have one radiator heating and trying hot water). So will give that another go. 

 

Sadly all if the pipes run behind the wall panels and I'm yet to take them off to see what leads where. 

 

Thanks again for your help! Really appreciate it. 

 

The valve referred to in red above should not "trickle water" unless its leaking or the end of a pipe it is connected to is open but then the pipe would leak water. I would expect it to just isolate the hot water system.

 

The red twist valve sound like a PRV but you need to find out where it vents otherwise you could end up filling the bilge.

 

 

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one thing to check...

on our boat the bathroom radiator was looped in with the feed to the calorifier from the alde boiler (all the rest were on their own isolatable loop), so if you went round turning off all the radiators you got no hot water from the alde, but if you left the bathroom radiator on you got a tank of hot water.

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2 minutes ago, Jess-- said:

one thing to check...

on our boat the bathroom radiator was looped in with the feed to the calorifier from the alde boiler (all the rest were on their own isolatable loop), so if you went round turning off all the radiators you got no hot water from the alde, but if you left the bathroom radiator on you got a tank of hot water.

Will give this a go with each radiator (none in the bathroom). Thank you. 

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A couple of rhetorical questions....

 

1) Did it ever heat the water?

2) Does it heat the water if you have the radiators all turned ON?

3) Have you asked the previous owner if it ever work, and if so how? 

 

Ok I can't count....

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Thanks Mike!

 

1) Don't know - We've always been on the move until recently. It may be the case! 

2) Trying with select radiators turned on now as well

3) Bought through a brokerage but will ask them (it's an ex-hire so the previous owner was likely the marina close by)

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52 minutes ago, Jess-- said:

one thing to check...

on our boat the bathroom radiator was looped in with the feed to the calorifier from the alde boiler (all the rest were on their own isolatable loop), so if you went round turning off all the radiators you got no hot water from the alde, but if you left the bathroom radiator on you got a tank of hot water.

That’s a good point as I think it common practice to have a rad in series with the calorifier so in summer (other rads off) when the boiler comes on and the calorifier is hot there is a rad to get rid of the heat until the stat turns off the boiler.

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On our boat the output from the Optimus goes through the top coil on the calorifier and then to a three way valve which either returns the water to the Optimus or pushes it round the CH loop depending on its position.

 

The engine uses the bottom coil to heat the complete tank.

 

If you run the optimus circulation pump with the burner turned off but with the calorifier hot and the engine running does the optimus warm up at all? Our does and we are seriously considering fitting a heat exchanger in the engine return so we can actually heat the CH circuit when we are cruising.

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1 hour ago, Chewbacka said:

That’s a good point as I think it common practice to have a rad in series with the calorifier so in summer (other rads off) when the boiler comes on and the calorifier is hot there is a rad to get rid of the heat until the stat turns off the boiler.

Not need on those Aldes. There are two stats. A room stat that simply controls the  pump and a boiler stat that controls the boiler water temperature. With no heat sink such as you refer to the boiler will just heat up until the boiler stat cuts it out even if the pump is off. The only sensible reason for having a bathroom radiator/towel rail in series with the calorifier is so in summer you can have the rest of the rads off but still dry towels.

36 minutes ago, StephenA said:

On our boat the output from the Optimus goes through the top coil on the calorifier and then to a three way valve which either returns the water to the Optimus or pushes it round the CH loop depending on its position.

 

The engine uses the bottom coil to heat the complete tank.

 

If you run the optimus circulation pump with the burner turned off but with the calorifier hot and the engine running does the optimus warm up at all? Our does and we are seriously considering fitting a heat exchanger in the engine return so we can actually heat the CH circuit when we are cruising.

The calorifier might do a good enough job for you as long as you can independently switch the Optimus pump.

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5 minutes ago, Tony Brooks said:

 

The calorifier might do a good enough job for you as long as you can independently switch the Optimus pump.

It takes the chill off and pre-warms the Optimus so at least when you are burning gas its not just heating everything up from cold.  The built in switch for the ignition circuit failed so we have a manual switch which allows us to do just that.

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If it's like my old also set up in a similar age boat the switch on top of the thermostat operates the circulation pump but the boiler only fires up if the thermostat is above the room temp so even if you only want hot water no rads on you still need the thermostat to be above the room temp which in a hot day may be full point being is the alde boiler actually firing up .

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2 minutes ago, calon said:

If it's like my old also set up in a similar age boat the switch on top of the thermostat operates the circulation pump but the boiler only fires up if the thermostat is above the room temp so even if you only want hot water no rads on you still need the thermostat to be above the room temp which in a hot day may be full point being is the alde boiler actually firing up .

The alde will fire up without the room thermostat calling for heat or the switch turned on but will cut out as soon as the boiler thermostat reaches its temperature. The room stat controls the pump as Tony has said and with the pump circulating water the temperature drops below the set temperature of the boiler stat and the burner will continue to fire.   You are right to say that the room stat would have to be set above ambient for the water to be heated,

My money would be on the calorifier piped as another rad. Turning on all the rads and seeing if the domestic hot water gets hot should prove this. Turning them off again one by one should show if just one rad is piped in series with the calorifier.

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We have a seperate tap to turn the rads on or off, we also have a seperate switch for the boiler circulation pump.

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10 hours ago, calon said:

If it's like my old also set up in a similar age boat the switch on top of the thermostat operates the circulation pump but the boiler only fires up if the thermostat is above the room temp so even if you only want hot water no rads on you still need the thermostat to be above the room temp which in a hot day may be full point being is the alde boiler actually firing up .

Unless someone has misfired the thermostat assembly or altered the boiler wiring I am sure that switch on the thermostat switches the whole Alde electrical circuit so without it being switched on the igniter will not work. That thermostat requires 3 wires. 12V+ 12V to Boiler electrics and then the feed to the pump controlled by the thermostat so what you say is not likely to be true unless the standard wiring has been altered.

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9 hours ago, Rickent said:

We have a seperate tap to turn the rads on or off, we also have a seperate switch for the boiler circulation pump.

Yes, exactly like mine but that is because I made it so. I also have a warning LED to indicate the boiler electrics are live. The family managed to wreck 2 igniters by leaving the switch on the boiler control turned off.

 

All this whole topic has shown is that there are  variations to be expected in how the Alde is plumbed d into the system and that one can not even be absolutely sure about the Alde electrical circuit.

 

Robbiecs seems new to narrow boating like so many before and after him has got to learn that narrowboats are all basically one offs and so very unlike cars and such like that are mainly very similar under the body. This is why we often can only make suggestions and ask questions when we are not given sufficient information to understand exactly what a poster has.

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Spot on Tony, but what confuses me is , why would you not plumb a boiler into the hot water system, it makes no sense. 

The only thing I can think of is to keep costs down when built, but the saving would be negligible. 

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2 minutes ago, Rickent said:

Spot on Tony, but what confuses me is , why would you not plumb a boiler into the hot water system, it makes no sense. 

The only thing I can think of is to keep costs down when built, but the saving would be negligible. 

Did you notice its an ex hire boat? With my hire boat manager's hat on I may well be tempted to do that. If you let the punters have lots of hot water and a warm boat they could easily tie up near a pub for several days and not run the engine so the batteries go flat then they call you out with recharged ones. By not connecting the heating to the hot water you almost force them to run the engine every day and often twice a day. That is a reason but who knows. WE have yet to discover exactly what is going on with the OPs boat.

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20 minutes ago, Tony Brooks said:

Did you notice its an ex hire boat? With my hire boat manager's hat on I may well be tempted to do that. If you let the punters have lots of hot water and a warm boat they could easily tie up near a pub for several days and not run the engine so the batteries go flat then they call you out with recharged ones. By not connecting the heating to the hot water you almost force them to run the engine every day and often twice a day. That is a reason but who knows. WE have yet to discover exactly what is going on with the OPs boat.

Didn't realise it was an ex hire boat, that would make sense.

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