Dave Solberg

Heating System Fundamentals + DVD

Dave Solberg
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Heating System Fundamentals + DVD
  • In-depth Instruction; over 87 mins
  • On-demand video access anytime
  • Bonus downloadable PDF resources
  • Access to class Q&A
  • Available for purchase: $49.99
Whether your rig has a Dometic or Suburban brand furnace, both operate on LP gas provided by the DOT Cylinder on a trailer, or ASME tank in a motorhome. When the thermostat calls for heat, the motor starts blowing, lifting a sail switch that tells the module board there is proper air flow and to light the vapor. An exterior vent provides fresh intake air and exhausts the heated air to the outside.
Forced air furnace models are popular as they allow manufacturers to place the furnace in a variety of locations. They run either duct work or ducted hoses throughout the coach to vents. This provides a superior distribution of heat inside the rig and reduces the amount of cold air pockets that can be created.
Direct vent furnaces are often used in smaller rigs due to space restrictions and cost. They are often times mounted under the dinette or bed platform and utilize a blast of heat directly from the unit rather than duct work throughout the coach.
The thermostat is the temperature sensor and the component that calls for heat. Typically mounted in the kitchen or living room, it can be set to the desired temperature and controls the module board. Most newer rigs have a thermostat that controls both the furnace and the air conditioner.
If you are going to be using your rig in cold weather, there are a few things you can do to make the furnace run more efficiently. Make sure you have the proper voltage and LP pressure. Ensure that all your vents and cold air returns are open and unobstructed. Insulation can be added to areas such as the windows. Add quilted blankets or pads to the front windshield area and supplement the furnace with a catalytic heater.
The circuit board is the brains of the furnace and has many functions. It receives information from the sail switch to start the burner assembly and receives information from the high limit switch which can shut the unit down. If your troubleshooting steps have taken you to the circuit board, there is very little diagnostics that can be performed. Replacing the board is less expensive than taking it out and getting it checked.
An understanding of the specific sequence used by the furnace is critical to troubleshooting a furnace that is not working or insufficiently heating. Once the thermostat calls for heat, the blower motor starts, lifting the sail switch to tell the module board there is enough air flow. Then the burner assembly lights and provides heat. Many RV owners bypass this step in troubleshooting and think that if the blower is running, the module board must be bad.
Sometimes the standard heater in an RV is not enough to heat the entire rig, especially if the thermostat is in the living room and you are sleeping in the bedroom. Many RVers use the small ceramic electric heaters. However, a better option is the catalytic heater that runs off a small LP canister and provides superior heat and limited CO emissions.
8 Lessons
1  hrs 27  mins

While most RV owners purchase their rig to use during the summer months or to escape the cold weather and “snow bird” in the south, there are still times when the heating system comes in handy.

You may not camp in below freezing weather for months at a time, but depending on your location, you can still encounter cold weather in just about any month of the year.

So, a well maintained and efficient heating system will make your trips much more enjoyable!

In this class, your instructor Dave Solberg will show you the fundamentals of an RV heating system, how to maintain and keep it running efficiently, and how to troubleshoot some common problems you may see.

Most RVs utilize either a simple forced air heater providing heat directly off the furnace, or a ducted system routed to vents throughout the coach. Almost all heaters run on efficient and clean-burning liquid propane (LP).

Just like in your home, the furnace is controlled by a thermostat mounted to the wall in the living room or kitchen area. Some have zone capabilities, allowing for different temperatures in the bedroom vs. the living room area.

One thing different about an RV heating system and a residential system is that there is limited air circulation in an RV. There’s typically only one cold air return, so there can be “pockets” of cooler air. This situation can be supplemented with auxiliary heaters such as electric units which demand a lot of 120-volt power. These are not the best alternative. You’ll learn about a safer and more efficient auxiliary heater to use.

Troubleshooting an inefficient or non-working heating system is easy once you understand how the system operates and are familiar with the main safety switches that can detect proper airflow, flame, and temperature. You’ll see step-by-step ways to check key elements of your system, to diagnose and resolve common problems.

In addition to the detailed video instruction you’ll receive, this class provides you with some downloadable resources and helpful information to print and keep, including: A detailed Class Guide you can follow and use as a reminder for the key points of the class instruction; and a few resource documents that will help you keep your heating system running smoothly.

NOTE: You’ll receive this Class video instruction in two forms: As on-demand streaming video (in your RV Account); and as a physical DVD, mailed to you.

Dave Solberg

Dave Solberg is the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club. For over 25 years, Dave has conducted a wide range of RV maintenance and safety seminars, developed dealer and owner training programs, written RV safety and handyman articles, authored an RV handbook reference guide and logged over 100,000 miles on the road in an RV.

Dave Solberg

Bonus materials available after purchase

Heating System Fundamentals + DVD Purchase this class for $49.99.