Hi Tech

RV Fur­nace Main­te­nance

Snowbirds & RV Travelers - - Contents -

Your fur­nace is one of the most crit­i­cal ap­pli­ances within your RV and if you are RVing this win­ter you need your heater to work cor­rectly – even if you are lucky enough to be RVing in a sun­nier cli­mate, the tem­per­a­ture can still get quite chilly at night. Here are some ba­sic trou­bleshoot­ing tips that will help you solve your RV fur­nace prob­lems. If you do need more than a sim­ple re­pair, you let your favourite qual­i­fied RV tech­ni­cian do the work.


If the fan isn’t work­ing, check your bat­tery first. Make sure that you have 12 volts at the fur­nace and that you haven’t tripped a cir­cuit breaker or blown a fuse. If all checks out, then move on to your RV’s ther­mo­stat.

Re­move the cover and find the “an­tic­i­pa­tor” ad­just­ment – this is an ad­justable con­trol with a slid­ing con­tact over a straight bare wire or a wire wound around an in­su­lat­ing ma­te­rial. (Some newer RVs may not have one).

Start by set­ting the tem­per­a­ture to the max­i­mum and then move the slider to see if the fan starts – wait at least 30 sec­onds. If the fan does start, then you most likely have found the is­sue. You might solve the problem by set­ting the slider just near its orig­i­nal po­si­tion.

How­ever, if your an­tic­i­pa­tor ad­just­ment has a wire that lies di­rectly on the plas­tic hous­ing, you should make sure it hasn’t sunk into the plas­tic. If it has melted a lit­tle, then it won’t make any con­tact, and you will have to re­place the ther­mo­stat.


Your ther­mo­stat is work­ing if your fur­nace fan is run­ning, but you might have an air­flow problem if you can’t feel any warmth. An in­ter­nal switch in the fur­nace will sense if the air­flow is suf­fi­cient and if not, it pre­vents the fur­nace from ig­nit­ing, your fan won’t run, and you won’t have any heat. If the mo­tor is too slow, this could be be­cause of a low bat­tery or a bad con­nec­tion in the wiring.

The ‘brain’ of the sys­tem is the propane reg­u­la­tor, which works to lower the pres­sure from your propane cylin­der, so it can de­liver the right amount of pres­sure to op­er­ate your fur­nace. A lousy propane valve at the fur­nace or a bad reg­u­la­tor at the propane tank will af­fect the air­flow, as well.

Fi­nally, check to see if any heat reg­is­ters are blocked – your fur­nace might not tol­er­ate even the small­est clo­sure of a reg­is­ter.

You should get your fur­nace checked at least once a year by a trained RV service tech­ni­cian.

If you are not com­fort­able work­ing on the RV fur­nace, have your main­te­nance per­formed by an au­tho­rized RV service cen­tre.

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