MYSTIFIED BY your heater's controls and what they do? Follow our handy tips on how to crank up the heat and keep the cold at bay.
1. Read the instructions
To make your heating work efficiently, be familiar with how it works. You’ll need to know how to use each element of the Truma system – the Trumatic gas heater, the Ultraheat secondary heater and the Trumavent fan. Follow the directions in the caravan’s quick-start guide for how to get up and running before reading the manual for each product.
2. Choose the right source
This will depend on the availability of gas or hook-up power. Both the Truma and Alde systems can work on gas or electricity, or a combination of both, so if one power source isn’t available, you’ve always got the other one to fall back on.
3. Dial it in
The Trumatic unit has two dials: the thermostat for the Trumatic S3002 gas heater (see image gallery below, second picture from left) and one for the Trumavent fan (below, third picture from left). The Ultraheat 230V electric heater is controlled using a dial on the wall of the caravan (below, right-hand image). The Alde system uses a digital control panel, which is fully covered in its instruction manual.
4. Keep the heat locked in
Preventing heat loss is a vital element of keeping warm in the van, so close any open windows and keep the caravan door shut. Caravan insulation is improving all the time, but bear in mind that when a heating system attains thermostat temperature, it will shut down and the heat will start to dissipate. Using a porch awning will also help you keep the heat in.
5. Make a drying room
Our Dan Wright used this to great effect during his trip to Auvergne. To dry off your skiing clothes at the end of each day, close the air ducts at the front of the van and direct the blown air into the washroom. Hang any wet garments in there, pop out for a meal or a drink and within a couple of hours your togs will have started to dry out.
6. Plan ahead
Don’t expect your heating system to warm the van through instantly. A blown-air system needs around 20 minutes, while central heating can take up to half an hour to get up to temperature. Plan ahead and turn on the heating before you want to use it. Alde’s control panel even has a digital timer.