RV Furnace Troubleshootingby J. Taylor Ludwig
Recreational Vehicle (RV) furnaces always seem to malfunction just when you need them the most. If you are having problems with your RV furnace, you do not want to have to take the vehicle in to have it serviced. You want the problem fixed immediately. Some RV furnace troubleshooting tips can help you to better understand how your RV furnace works and can give you some ideas on how to repair it yourself.
How an RV furnace operates
If the thermostat in your RV controls both the air conditioner and the furnace, be sure the switch is set on "Heat." If the thermostat in your RV controls only the furnace, then turn the setting to the "On" position. When you raise the thermostat to a warmer temperature, the furnace blower will turn on after about 30 seconds. The furnace blower must run for 30 seconds after it comes on for the burner to fire up. It is perfectly normal for the burner to continue to cycle on and off while the furnace is running. When the RV reaches the desired temperature, the burner will shut off, but the blower will keep running for a little while longer.
The pilot light will not light
If the pilot light on your RV furnace will not light, check that the thermocouple is correctly positioned in the pilot flame. The problem could also be that the propane tank has a bad regulator. You can test for a bad regulator by lighting all the stove burners and examining the color of the flames. They should be a bluish color and contain little or no yellow. If the flames change colors, the regulator is most likely bad. The regulator will need to be repaired because a bad regulator will also affect the hot water heater.
The fan runs but there is heat
If the fan on your RV furnace runs but there is heat, the problem could be that the furnace has an insufficient air flow. The propane tank could also have a bad regulator or there might be a bad propane valve. Furnaces have internal switches that can detect air flow. If there is insufficient air flow, the switch will not let the furnace ignite, and the fan runs but there is no heat. There could also be a low battery, a bad wiring connection, or a restricted ventilation system. Examine the heat registers to see if they are blocked or closed. Some RV furnaces will not operate if the heat registers are even partially closed.
The fan does not run and there is no heat
If the fan on your RV furnace does not run and there is no heat, check the battery with a battery tester. If the battery is putting out at least 12 volts, then the battery is fine. You might have just tripped the circuit breaker, so try resetting the circuit. The problem could also be a blown fuse on the fan. Replacing the fuse should get the fan running again.