TecTowers - what I've learnt

Discussion in 'Fridges & Ovens' started by maz, Jun 13, 2013.

  1. maz

    maz Funster

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    Dometic TecTowers are those combination fridge/freezers with an oven on the top. Most motorhome manufacturers seem to be decidedly cavalier in their approach to installing these beasties. They must be installed in a draught-free manner. Otherwise not only will you get unpleasant draughts, when using gas you will also get fumes entering the van. If the wind happens to be blowing on the fridge vents this becomes very obvious, and it is a safety issue.

    I have recently had a major struggle to get Hobby to address their unacceptable installation of the TecTower in my van. Initial reaction was to state that it was 'installed in accordance with Dometic's instructions'. This is nonsense because if it was so installed it would not be draughty. Then there was the old chestnut: 'We haven't come across this issue before' - which is the motorhome dealer's equivalent of: 'It will ride up with wear'. :RollEyes:

    There followed a series of three-way 'discussions' between myself, the dealer and Dometic. I managed to understand Dometic's requirements but the dealer apparently didn't - as when I turned up last week to get the work done he was still prevaricating. :Angry: After further remonstrations I finally got to talk to Hobby UK on the phone - to a guy who knew less about TecTowers than I did and who reckoned the van would have to go back to the factory in Germany to have the installation examined! After mention of potential very public protests involving the parking of my van and the wearing of gas masks, together with removing the ventilation grilles of an 08 Burstner Aviano to show how a TecTower should be installed, it was finally agreed that my TecTower was going to be removed and re-installed - properly this time. So on my way south from the wonderful Wrenbury weekend I called back into the dealers - the work took best part of 6 hours! :Eek!: If Paul the technician at the dealers is reading this, many thanks for all the time and effort you took to make sure that the TecTower was finally properly sealed. :thumb:

    Once the TecTower was out, you could see that the recess it was in was not even sealed at one side - which explained why draughts/fumes were also coming in through the set of electrical sockets on the adjacent wall. The base of the fridge/freezer was allegedly 'sealed' with a strip of cut-down conduit and uneven blobs of silicon. The sides did have rubber seals - but these were to the front of the unit and did not run full height. The heat deflector plate did not cover the full height of the oven but started halfway up its back - meaning that draughts/fumes were drawn into the van through the back of the oven. This half plate was itself inadequately sealed with 'blobby' sealant forming gaps. :Angry:

    If you have a van with a TecTower (or are thinking of buying one), please do check to see whether it has been correctly installed. You can get a good idea by removing both ventilation grilles. You should be able to see wooden battens fitted with compressible foam sealing strips (like thick draught strip) along the bottom of the fridge/freezer and up both sides. The unit is pushed into its recess until it compresses these, making an efficient seal. There should be an angled aluminium or heat-resistant plastic deflector shield running from the top of the fridge/freezer (where it joins the oven) to the inside top of the upper ventilation grille. This plate must be completely sealed on all sides - otherwise draughts and fumes will enter the van via the oven and control panel. The oven itself does not have to be airtight but it does have to be completely sealed from the fridge/freezer void. The oven does not need to take air in via the ventilation grilles in the van wall - this is a misconception. Your gas oven at home does not need external ventilation - nor does the one on top of the TecTower.

    Please do not let motorhome manufacturers continue to get away with installing TecTowers in an unsafe manner. If yours is incorrectly installed, protest to the dealer and insist they put it right. Hobby, at least, can no longer claim to be unaware of the issue. If you are about to buy a van, get the sales guy to take those vents off so you can see exactly what's in there.

    And if any motorhome manufacturers or dealers are reading this: I would be far more impressed by a brand that can fit a TecTower properly than any amount of bling!
     
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  2. peter H

    peter H Funster Life Member

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    I think if a DNA test was carried out on Maz, you would find a fair bit of Rottweiler in there!

    Well done, don't let the buggers get away with it.

    Peter
     
  3. maz

    maz Funster

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    Part Rottweiler, part Chihuahua. :BigGrin:
     
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