Dave Solberg

RV Furnace Troubleshooting Tips and System Overview

Dave Solberg
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Duration:   8  mins

There’s not a ton of maintenance required on an RV furnace, which operates similarly to the furnace in your home. However, there are things you can do to make it run more efficiently and to troubleshoot if you experience any issues. Say for instance, what should happen when the furnace on a 2003 Winnebago Brave, which runs off of liquid propane, starts to experience issues? How does one go about completing RV furnace troubleshooting to diagnose and solve a problem?

In this in-depth video lesson, RV maintenance and repair expert Dave Solberg teaches you about RV furnace troubleshooting. To give you a better understanding of maintaining a furnace, he begins by explaining how the furnace operates, component by component. You’ll learn what happens from the moment the fan kicks on because the thermostat calls for heat until the end of the line when the thermostat recognizes that the input temperature has been met.

Start with the fan: laying the RV furnace troubleshooting groundwork

Dave begins with the basics of RV furnace troubleshooting. He emphasizes that it’s important to note that the furnace on your RV works by drawing air from the inside and heating in, rather than pulling in outside air to heat.

A mounted thermocouple on the backside of the furnace senses when the furnace is getting too hot and automatically shuts the system down. Good airflow guarantees that the furnace doesn’t overheat, and proper flow is necessary in every system, whether it utilizes a plenum or corrugated hoses (AKA elephant trunk ducts).

To ensure optimal airflow, you should always avoid blocking vents with area rugs and piling objects on or near corrugated hoses. It might not seem like a big deal at first, but putting weight on the hoses can pinch them and restrict airflow, which results in an inefficient or often unresponsive heating system.

How to: troubleshooting step by step

What you need to check if your unit isn’t running, according to Dave: firstly you need at least 10.5 V, so if your battery is sulfated the LP system might start up but won’t run for too long. The fan won’t spin fast enough to lift the sail switch and get heat flowing. However, when the sail switch drops, that doesn’t stop the fan from spinning, which can deceive RVers who think the heat should be coming if the fan is in motion. If this is the case for your furnace, your battery likely isn’t producing enough voltage to lift the sail switch.

Take Dave’s advice into account, and see if you can solve your RV furnace troubles. If you need further help, feel free to leave us a comment or send an email!

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14 Responses to “RV Furnace Troubleshooting Tips and System Overview”

  1. Sean Sorrin

    Do you have a video on replacing the sail switch?

  2. Brendan

    2003 chateau class c... my heater works fine but it now blowes black smoke out of the exhaust and the vents start to smell like carbon monoxide! Whats the cause of this??

  3. Bobby Polvado

    Heater blower motor making a high pitch noise.How do I pull the unit?

  4. Robert Mackie

    furnace runs for 10-15 seconds and then shuts off, then it comes back on 15- 20 seconds later

  5. Stephen Raphael

    Hi, I have a 2005 National Tropical T396. In Zone 1, I have 1 heat register under the refrigerator and it blows strong and hot air. But I also have 2 heat registers"Elephant trunk" that come from under the passenger side Sofa. 1 works great (near kitchen) but the one nearest the passenger seat just suddenly stopped blowing when the furnace is on. The conduit to the working register is warm to the touch but the other conduit is cool to the touch. In Zone 2, the register located under the sink in the bedroom blows hot air but the register on the toilet pedestal in bathroom is Barely blowing warm-ish air... Im not certain where the ducts run in Zone 2 so I can't see if they're " pinched" . In Zone 1 I can see the ducts under the sofa until they disappear under the kitchen sink cabinet, but again , don't know where they go from there. This issue is ( 2 out of the five registers not operating correctly) appears as though is starting to make the furnace " Short Cycle" duration of intervals is approx 5 to 7 minutes...all night. Please help me. (Please email response to me at stephen.raphael@gmail.com) I'm in my 60s and have a hard time navigating around the site to get back to the right thread. Thank you</strong>

  6. Chris R Kottmann

    Our furnace just stopped coming on no fan starting or anything . I tried changing the thermostat out and it worked for about a week then stopped again. Any ideas?

  7. James Paul

    Awesome video 🙂

  8. Lisa White

    Replace blower motor nt24sp

  9. Steve Bomgardner

    My fan goes on for 20-30 seconds then stops. Propane bottles are full and all other systems work. No igniter clicking heard. Control board?

  10. Daryl Eide

    My heater and A/C will not come on. I have replaced the converter box on the main A/C unit. Mine is a 2010 Montana with duel A/C. My control panel is lit up but neither one will come on. I have checked all fuses

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