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Aqua-Hot Heating System

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Can anybody tell me about the Aqua-Hot Heating System on Country Coach motorhomes. I was told that this unit controls the heat and hot water in the coach.

Be patient with me. I am new to the FMCA forum, and am hoping to get my first coach in march 2010. Thanks.

Mike

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I have it in my 2003 Country Coach, and love it. I would not have a coach without it. I just serviced it myself and it took maybe 30 minutes, and it is good for another 1,000 hours.

More information here:

http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/Country-Coach-Owners/

http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/HydronicRVHeating/

Jack Nichols

2003 Country Coach Intrigue

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Thanks, Jack, for the reply.

After reading other forums about water heaters and hot water issues, I was wondering about the Aqua-Hot system. I was told that way, you will have plenty of hot water and instant hot water. Is that true?

Of course, the dealer trying to sell the coach is the one who told me that.

Any more info would be greatly appreciated, or you can e-mail me privately. Thanks.

Mike

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Like Jack, our 2002 Monaco has an Aqua-Hot unit. You will run out of space in your holding tank long before, if ever you run out of hot water. I keep our unit in a covered storage space and have it plugged in. I set the furnace at 40 degrees to protect the plumbing inside the coach. The system will also keep your water and holding tanks from freezing. Just an all around good unit. By the way, WELCOME TO FMCA.

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My Hurricane (Aqua-Hot cousin, same basic mechanism, I think) may be enough different that I cannot say you are being "sold," so I can only give my experience.

The Hurricane uses the engine radiator header tank as the header tank for the hydronic heater boiler, so acts as an engine pre-heat when used. It also has a water heat exchange loop through the water heater tank, so will keep that warm when it is used. Some units have an electric element, so that may be where the "instant" hot water comes from, not on my unit. There is a thermostat in the water bay that will turn the Hurricane on when it senses freezing, and that is a comforting thing to have.

I have a problem with "instant" -- I think of instant as one of the dedicated little heaters under a kitchen sink, and when you press the valve, HOT water comes out. On my setup, you have to wait for cold water to clear the line before hot water is available, just like a little house. The Aqua Hot may (or may not) address that. Not a big deal, just trying to clarify. I would want him to demonstrate just what he is talking about, so I would know what I was buying. I doubt it would have any bearing on my decision to buy, one way or the other.

I rarely use the Hurricane, because I try to use electric space heaters where I am hooked up. That works for me because the electricity costs me nothing -- might be a different matter if I was spinning a meter on my nickel. When using electric heaters only, of course the Hurricane does not have an input, because it is not used. An electric element in my water heater gives me a nice shower when I am on shore power, if I do not linger too long. (If more than one person was using the shower, I would have to fire up the propane water heater, then will not run out of hot water until I run out of propane.) That sentence had nothing to do with your question, just a little info to let you know how I use it. When I do use the hydronic unit, it works great to heat the coach, keep the engine radiator water warm, warm the water bay area, if needed, and keeps the domestic water heater warm.

As I said earlier, I would not have a coach without a hydronic heating system, and my next coach will also have the heated floors that are available. I know the hydronic heaters are an expensive option, if ordering new. Typically a used coach does not get full price for extra features, so it may be a real bargain in that case.

Hope this helps. Ask if you want any more of my limited experience.

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My Hurricane (Aqua-Hot cousin, same basic mechanism, I think) may be enough different that I cannot say you are being "sold," so I can only give my experience.

The Hurricane uses the engine radiator header tank as the header tank for the hydronic heater boiler, so acts as an engine pre-heat when used. It also has a water heat exchange loop through the water heater tank, so will keep that warm when it is used. Some units have an electric element, so that may be where the "instant" hot water comes from, not on my unit. There is a thermostat in the water bay that will turn the Hurricane on when it senses freezing, and that is a comforting thing to have.

I have a problem with "instant" -- I think of instant as one of the dedicated little heaters under a kitchen sink, and when you press the valve, HOT water comes out. On my setup, you have to wait for cold water to clear the line before hot water is available, just like a little house. The Aqua Hot may (or may not) address that. Not a big deal, just trying to clarify. I would want him to demonstrate just what he is talking about, so I would know what I was buying. I doubt it would have any bearing on my decision to buy, one way or the other.

I rarely use the Hurricane, because I try to use electric space heaters where I am hooked up. That works for me because the electricity costs me nothing -- might be a different matter if I was spinning a meter on my nickel. When using electric heaters only, of course the Hurricane does not have an input, because it is not used. An electric element in my water heater gives me a nice shower when I am on shore power, if I do not linger too long. (If more than one person was using the shower, I would have to fire up the propane water heater, then will not run out of hot water until I run out of propane.) That sentence had nothing to do with your question, just a little info to let you know how I use it. When I do use the hydronic unit, it works great to heat the coach, keep the engine radiator water warm, warm the water bay area, if needed, and keeps the domestic water heater warm.

As I said earlier, I would not have a coach without a hydronic heating system, and my next coach will also have the heated floors that are available. I know the hydronic heaters are an expensive option, if ordering new. Typically a used coach does not get full price for extra features, so it may be a real bargain in that case.

Hope this helps. Ask if you want any more of my limited experience.

Jack, I have seen many of your responces to different post. I have taken several to my memory bank (very small kb). I may have not stated it correctly, we get hot water the same as we do at home, just that there less length of pipe for it to travel through. I know of several people that use the space heater when hooked up but we have just never gotten them for our coach. But as I said I like the basement heating for the tanks and the fact that we don't have to winterize the coach. That being said you do need to keep an eye of the fuel guage to make sure you have enough to run the Aqua-Hot during cold spells.

Thanks again for your thought and answers to many topics.

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Thanks again for the reply. As you can tell, I have not owned a motorhome before, but hopefully that will change in march. The coach I am talking about is the 07 Country Coach Affinity. I think we will be well pleased with the coach, and I will have to shower last. Luckily for me the wife, does not like a hot shower.

You can certainly learn a lot on these forums, and I am thankful for finding this Web site, and for all the posts and replies.

Have a Merry Christmas. Mike

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Thank you, Herman. I have had so much help from folks on these forums. I am happy to contribute where I can. I have found people on these forums very helpful, and it lessens the anxiety of buying and owning one of these huge, expensive, complicated machines. I wish I had done it ten years ago.

Mike, you will LOVE that '07 Affinity. The prices are getting right, too.

Jack Nichols, 2003 Country Coach Intrigue

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Keep in mind that Country Coach just filed for bankruptcy, though the warranty on that 2007 (if not a "new" coach) wouldn't be good anymore anyway, except the chassis warranty, being longer, might be compromised. Other components are warranted seperately by mfr. and any still in force, such as the engine, would not be affected.

All that aside, the hydronic heat system, though more complex, is a great upgrade from water heaters and furnaces. We love our HydroHot and I've serviced my own, replacing the nozzle and fuel filter. How easy that job is depends on the accessibility of the unit, which varies with make and model of coach; mine was no piece of cake and certainly took more than 30 minutes - being a contortionist would have helped. And getting every last bit of diesel fumes out of the compartment after slopping fuel trying to change the impossibly-located filter... well that was no fun. Next time I let the pros do it.

The speedy water and coach heat that hydronic systems provide can't be beat, and on most rigs that hot water can be circulated through the engine before starting it on cool days, to preheat and make starting easier. Conversely, after arriving at camp, engine heat can be circulated through the hydronic system to save on fuel for the system. In milder conditions, the electric side can help to maintain heat to the system and save fuel also, though it won't keep up as well as diesel fire if there is much demand for hot water or space heat.

I'm just thankful I don't have to mess with water heater and furnace maintenance anymore; it's all in one unit now. Our only gripe is that the outlet vent fans are as noisy as rigs with furnaces, and when they cycle on it can distract from conversation or TV watching. There are, I've been told, quieter fan models that can be used to retrofit. So it depends on which model fan is in your Affinity's vents. You'll have to listen to them run in an otherwise quiet environment in the rig to see if you think they might bother you.

Don't worry, Mike. As long as you have a good water source and room in your gray water tank, you will have plenty of hot water for as long a shower as you want.

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I agree with Joel, the Hydo Hot is a great motorcoach heating system that I used in my 2005 ALFA this past two weeks extensively in Houston Texas. It keeps the water hot and the coach warmed during the 29 degree temperatures on December 4th when it snowed. It is both hot water as described earlier and forced air heating in the living areas of the coach. My coach has three zones controlled by individual thermostats. My system warms the tile floor in the bath, kitchen and commode area making those late nigh trips to the head almost enjoyable. But... I have only used it for a week this year and for a few days last year. It is in my opinion the best choice for really low temperatures if you happen to get caught somewhere that snow is not the usual occurance, or.. obviously if cold weather RVing is your thing.

The accessibility of the system and a little knowledge will allow the owner to do your own required annual maintenance. I urge you to get the salesman to show you where it is located and get down to where it is to try it out. Maintenance is amply described by Roger Berke in the yahoo group link described in the earlier post. Roger is always available by phone for assistance. He also services them if he is in your area, (frequently at conventions). Aqua Hot web site also lists the certified facilities that can help. The key to the hydro hot is to recognize that it runs off your diesel supply, requires Boiler Coolant diluted to a specified specific gravity, not Antifreeze in the tank and runs best if you keep up the maintenance religiously. Again Roger Berke has diagrams, explanations and FAQ's.

Good Luck

Cathe

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You'd be lucky if the system is on a slide-out tray. I haven't seen one like that yet.

By the way, we've got a cold snap here in the Northwest, and it's in the teens and twenties for several nights this week. Normally the one solar panel keeps my batteries charged during storage, so I don't need to plug in the coach. But when the thermometer around here heads south of about 35, I plug in my coach and hit the electric switch on the HydroHot panel, after prewarming the system with the diesel burner, and set the front thermostat at it's minimum 40 degrees. I keep a digital thermometer in the rig and keep an eye on it. Checking the inside thermometer daily, it always reads about 41 degrees, so I only fret if there's a power outage, at which time I can always kick on the diesel. But since my system has been winterized by blowing out anyway, I'm just backing up that protection, esp. for the hydronic unit's water lines themselves.

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Well gentlemen, after all of my cudos for the Aqua-Hot, I lost my heating. The unit would not come on. It worked a little on 50 amp. but nothing on the burner. I had the Aqua-Hot service scheduled for today. It confirmed my thought that the system had never been serviced.

Here are some of the things I learned.

1) keep an eye on the over flow tank. It should always have some fluid in it. Mine was 2.5 gal. low.

2) change the fuel filter at least every other year. More often if used often.

3) change the injector on the same schedule.

4) make sure your switch is in the right position. Ours was upside down. Off was on and on was off.

All were corrected today and we have great heating now.

Moral to this story: Watch and learn from an expert.

Wayne, now I can fix someone else's unit while I call the expert for mine.

Herman

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We have just recently purchased a Beaver coach with the Aqua hot system. Is it suppose to keep the coach warm if it is on electric instead of diesel when the temperature outside is below freezing?

Sandraw,

The technician that serviced our Aqua-Hot said that the unit will operate on 110 volt Electrical. However it needs the full access to 50 amp service and is only a 1500 watt element. I don't know if I would relie on it for a lot of heat. In most cases the Aqua-Hot will have vents into the bays with a thermostat that will turn on the system to prevent the tanks and water line from freezing.

If you have a Beaver, what year is it? A friend of ours has a 1999 Beaver Patriot Thunder and it has a Hurricane Unit. I don't know much about it but understand that it is similar to the Aqua-Hot.

The bases of the Aqua-Hot unit is that it operates like hot water heater. The unit has a fluid that is kept at Approx 184 degrees. Upon demand from the thermostat a pump will circulate warm water through a radiator and a low speed fan will force air across the radiator and into your living area. At the same time it is keeping your hot water hot and ready for use. Great unit and works well if maintained.

Down side it does burn diesel. So if you are camping for and extended time be sure your tanks are full before you park. Just like your generator it will stop working if your fuel tank goes below 1/4 th.

But also note that I am a novice and may not all of which I speak.

Happy Rving and keep warm.

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MIKE and SANDRAW: I have a Monaco Camelot with the Aqua-Hot system--it is excellent! I will want this system on any coaches I may have in the future! I went through the entire North Carolina winter last year with a low temperature of 8 above and absolutely no problems. And we have just come through one of the coldest nights so far in NC with wind chills below zero. The basement stays heated and I have an auxiliary heater in the service bay to help with the coldest nights.

To Sandraw: The electric element is really meant for heating hot water--I do not believe you will find it useable for winter heating. If I am alone in my rig and it is not winter, I use the electric element rather than the Aqua-Hot for heating the water but you can run out if the shower is very lengthy! The Aqua-Hot setting will keep you in hot H2O without any problem. My system also has an engine pre-heat setting so that I can turn it on about 2 hours before I need to fire up the Cummins--makes it much easier on the starter and the motor to have it pre-warmed before cranking it up, especially on these chilly mornings!

Safe travels!

Rich H.

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The technician that serviced our Aqua-Hot said that the unit will operate on 110 volt Electrical. However it needs the full access to 50 amp service and is only a 1500 watt element. I don't know if I would relie on it for a lot of heat. In most cases the Aqua-Hot will have vents into the bays with a thermostat that will turn on the system to prevent the tanks and water line from freezing.

If you have a Beaver, what year is it? A friend of ours has a 1999 Beaver Patriot Thunder and it has a Hurricane Unit. I don't know much about it but understand that it is similar to the Aqua-Hot.

The bases of the Aqua-Hot unit is that it operates like hot water heater. The unit has a fluid that is kept at Approx 184 degrees. Upon demand from the thermostat a pump will circulate warm water through a radiator and a low speed fan will force air across the radiator and into your living area. At the same time it is keeping your hot water hot and ready for use. Great unit and works well if maintained.

Down side it does burn diesel. So if you are camping for and extended time be sure your tanks are full before you park. Just like your generator it will stop working if your fuel tank goes below 1/4th.

But also note that I am a novice and may not all of which I speak.

Happy Rving and keep warm.

Herman, thank you for your insight. Our Beaver is a 2008. It is our first with the Aquahot system. We were told that it would heat with either electric or diesel, but found it to be inadequate for heating the coach when the tempuratures were below freezing. I thought maybe we were not doing something right. Do you think the heat on electric would be warm enough to keep the bays from freezing? The heat works really well on diesel.

Thanks again,

Sandra

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MIKE and SANDRAW: I have a Monaco Camelot with the Aqua-Hot system--it is excellent! I will want this system on any coaches I may have in the future! I went through the entire North Carolina winter last year with a low temperature of 8 above and absolutely no problems. And we have just come through one of the coldest nights so far in NC with wind chills below zero. The basement stays heated and I have an auxiliary heater in the service bay to help with the coldest nights.

To Sandraw: the electric element is really meant for heating hot water--I do not believe you will find it useable for winter heating. If I am alone in my rig and it is not winter, I use the electric element rather than the Aqua-Hot for heating the water but you can run out if the shower is very lengthy! The Aqua-Hot setting will keep you in hot H2O without any problem. My system also has an engine pre-heat setting so that I can turn it on about 2 hours before I need to fire up the Cummins--makes it much easier on the starter and the motor to have it pre-warmed before cranking it up, especially on these chilly mornings!

Safe travels!

Rich H.

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Rich, thank you for your answer to my question on the Aquahot system. When going thru the cold nights in North Carolina were you using the Aquahot system on diesel? It does work very good on diesel, but I was a little disappointed that I could not use the electric for heat also. I guess the disappointment was due to the dealer telling us that you could heat with the electric Aquahot or diesel. (electric when it was available or diesel if not hooked up to electric)

Thanks again,

Sandraw

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We bought a 2009 Monaco Camelot last summer. I have it in an unheated garage. I have it on electric and it seems to be working fine . I have the three zones on 50 degrees and the bay heater turned on. It has been real cold down to the teens and is going to be close to zero. I have thermomertors inside and keeping track of the heat. So far everything seems to be good. Just asking if the diesel would be better when it gets down to zero. Will the bay heater keep the fresh water tank and lines that go to it from freezing. This is the second coach with a aqua hot system and they work great. The other coach I had in a heated garage and didn't have this problem. I can drain the fresh water tank but dont know about the lines going to it .This is my second attempt to respond to this topic I guess the other one is still out there in little bits in a vacuum somewhere.

Steve

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We bought a 2009 Monaco Camelot last summer. I have it in an unheated garage. I have it on electric and it seems to be working fine . I have the three zones on 50 degrees and the bay heater turned on. It has been real cold down to the teens and is going to be close to zero. I have thermomertors inside and keeping track of the heat. So far everything seems to be good. Just asking if the diesel would be better when it gets down to zero. Will the bay heater keep the fresh water tank and lines that go to it from freezing. This is the second coach with a aqua hot system and they work great. The other coach I had in a heated garage and didn't have this problem. I can drain the fresh water tank but dont know about the lines going to it .This is my second attempt to respond to this topic I guess the other one is still out there in little bits in a vacuum somewhere.

Steve

Steve,

I'd drain the fresh water tank and the lines in the coach if you are storing it in a cold climate. That would be the fail safe if something goes wrong and the heater quits working. There should be instructions for draining the lines in the coach in your owners manual. If you would rather, you could treat the system with an antifreeze made specifically for RV water systems. Of course you could always have this done by a RV service center or your dealer.

A second concern I have deals with the exhaust from the Aqua Hot in an enclosed space. While the open burning of the Aqua Hot will not produce the amount of carbon monoxide an internal combustion engine does, carbon monoxide is caused by incomplete burning and almost all burning produces some carbon monoxide. In addition, an elevated level of carbon dioxide and depleted oxygen level could cause other problems. If your garage is not ventilated or you do not have an exhaust outlet to the outside, I would suggest that you carefully check the owners manual for the Aqua Hot for information about usage of the diesel fuel capability in an enclosed space.

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Thanks Tom appreciate all of the info that you give on all of the forums they are very helpful to us beginners.

I will try to drain out the water and run the antifreeze thru the system in the next few days. I was going to be gone from here by now but something came up . I will try to get out of this cold weather in the first week in Feb.I can't get the big doors open but can hook up a hose and pump it out. I do monitor it everyday and so far it has been down to 12 degrees and everything is still allright but it is supposed to get to zero this Thursday.Great Oklahoma weather. Thanks for your help. I have the aquahot on electric so there are no fumes, should I still be concerned.

Steve

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Steve,

You should not be concerned about carbon monoxide if you are using electric only. Carbon monoxide is produced by incomplete combustion and using the electric you are not burning anything (except your hard earned dollars).

Tom

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We bought a 2009 Monaco Camelot last summer. I have it in an unheated garage. I have it on electric and it seems to be working fine . I have the three zones on 50 degrees and the bay heater turned on. It has been real cold down to the teens and is going to be close to zero. I have thermomertors inside and keeping track of the heat. So far everything seems to be good. Just asking if the diesel would be better when it gets down to zero. Will the bay heater keep the fresh water tank and lines that go to it from freezing. This is the second coach with a aqua hot system and they work great. The other coach I had in a heated garage and didn't have this problem. I can drain the fresh water tank but dont know about the lines going to it .This is my second attempt to respond to this topic I guess the other one is still out there in little bits in a vacuum somewhere.

Steve

First of all,I am a factory trained and certified Tech, This is an excellent heating/Hot water appliance, But as in everything it must be cared for. Also, it must be (exercised) ran.

Regarding the practice of blowing out the lines for winterizing the unit, Always, Always, pump the domestic antifreeze through the system, watch for antifreeze from each sink outlet, including the out door/shower.

If not the A/H-H/H WILL FREEZE, requiring a very expensive repair from the factory,

If anyone has a question, please feel free to call the factory, They are really a great bunch of people in Ft Lupton, Co. On the Aqua-hot website, there is a service locaton for most states and canada,Check out the website, down load your service manuals, etc

I hope this will help

Orman Claxton

206 660 9893

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