3 Common Forest River RV Furnace Problems (Solution)

Whether you consider yourself a camping enthusiast or not, owning an RV (recreational vehicle) or motorhome can always be useful. An RV is designed to give you the full comfort of a home on wheels and thus includes a kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and all the appliances one might need on their trip. One of these other appliances, which might be considered extremely useful, is a furnace.

A furnace is a useful device, especially during low temperatures. By using them, you can quickly raise the temperature inside your RV when entering extremely cold weather. Like all other devices, a furnace may run into some issues despite its usefulness. Because of that, this article aims to offer solutions to some of the problems you might run into with your Forest River RV Furnace.

How Does an RV Furnace Operate?

Working principle of RV Furnace

How an RV furnace operates depends on whether your RV thermostat only controls the furnace or if it controls the air conditioner as well. If it is the first option to turn on the furnace, you should turn the “On” setting, and if your thermostat controls both the furnace and the air conditioner, then you should turn the “Heat” setting.

Keep in mind that the furnace blower, once you’ve raised the thermostat to the desired temperature, has to run for half a minute in order to ignite the burner, and it will take 30 seconds for the blower to start functioning. The blower continues working even when the desired temperature is reached, but the burner stops periodically turning on and off as the furnace is working.

If you want to learn more about this, be sure to read How Does an RV Propane Furnace Work?

Forest River RV Furnace Problems

1. Vehicle Not Heating

RV Furnace is not heating

One of the most common problems that many RV owners have is that their furnace is not heating their vehicle. As we’ve previously mentioned, it is important to use the thermostat when choosing the desired temperature. In order for the furnace to heat your vehicle to the desired temperature, you need to input it into the thermostat correctly. Whether you have a Forest River RV furnace or any other furnace, keep this in mind.

Be aware that if the temperature you input is lower than the current temperature of your RV, it might lead to the furnace shutting off completely. This issue is also easily fixed by setting up the thermostat to the desired temperature, which is higher than your room temperature.

A great function to use is the automatic function which automatically sets up your temperature settings depending on the room’s temperature. This will save you some time since you don’t have to manually adjust your thermostat whenever there is a temperature change or whenever you have reached the desired temperature.

2. Auto Mode Is Not Working

Set Auto mode on RV furnace

You might run into some issues even if you have set up your thermostat’s temperature properly. This is due to the sensitivity of your device’s temperature sensors, which can be disrupted even by a small amount of dust, but there is a very easy solution to fix this issue.

To avoid this issue, cleaning the furnace vents, including your device’s sensors, is a MUST! The easiest way to do this is by using a small pin that you insert under your device’s pinholes without using too much power since the sensors are sensitive and thus can be damaged easily. If you do, in fact, damage the sensors, the best way to replace them is by contacting the manufacturer since it is very tricky to change the sensors yourself.

3. Furnace Not Starting

RV Furnace not working

The first thing you should do if your furnace isn’t starting is check your connections since this issue is, in most cases, connected to an electrical problem. If the connections are not the problem, then the issue could be caused by devices that serve as protection against electrical surges, such as the fuse or circuit breaker. Even though these devices are necessary, they can blow out, leading to your furnace being unable to start.

Devices that you can use to check your outlets are a voltmeter or multimeter, which are used to check if the electrical current flowing through the wires is sufficient. Before using these devices, be sure to check if the wiring is connected tightly. Once you’ve done all this, and if you still haven’t pinpointed the issue, check the circuit breaker, which might only be tripped, and the fuses too.

In most electrical stores, you can find replacement parts. Be sure to check whether the voltage rating of your fuse is compatible with the fuse that was blown out to prevent any further and more dangerous issues.

RV Furnace Won’t Stay Lit? Possible problems

Another issue you might encounter is when a furnace lights up but doesn’t stay lit. If this is the problem, be sure to read the section below:

Defected Thermocouple

Replace the thermocouple

The thermocouple is a device that is used if your furnace comes with pilot lights. The main purpose of the thermocouple is to prevent gas leakage once the pilot light is off by shutting the gas valve. If this device malfunctions, it will not register the pilot light heat, which will lead to immediate blockade of the gas valve, preventing your furnace from working properly. Luckily, this part can be easily replaced, and you can do it on your own or with the help of a professional.

Faulty Thermostat

Thermostat is broken

Replacing the thermostat with a temporary one could help you figure out if your current thermostat is actually the cause of the problem. The main issue arises if the thermostat signals to the furnace informing it that it had reached the desired temperature even though it actually hasn’t.

This is why it is useful to use a temporary one to check if this is the issue. If not, you should inspect other parts of the furnace or consult a professional. If the problem is resolved once you’ve installed another thermostat, purchasing a new one is a must.

Clogged Drain

The drain is clogged on RV furnace

A clogged drain of the condensate pan, which is a part used to collect the liquid created by the condensation within a condensing RV furnace, could cause your furnace to malfunction. The excess fluid collected by the condensate pan has to flow off somewhere, and if it doesn’t, it can overflow, causing the furnace to shut down. An easy and quick solution to this problem is unclogging the drain and cleaning the pan regularly.

Blower Motor Issues

Problem with blower motor

When it comes to issues connected to the blower motor, the best way to fix them is to contact a professional, but if you want to find out what the problem is, you should start up the furnace and make sure that hot air is exiting the vent by moving the hand over the supply register.

If you don’t feel any hot air, there is a number of things that might have gone wrong: the fan relay might be damaged, and the motor might be out of power, which would cause the furnace to shut down due to security issues involving overheating.

Restricted Air Flow

Air Flow problem with RV Furnace

Restricted airflow is an issue that could lead to many more complex issues, such as the overheating of the heat exchanger and the blockade of the gas valve. Furthermore, the furnace starts to overheat, shut down, and reignite again. All this can be caused by clogged and dirty vents, registers and air ducts, and especially air filters in these parts, which should be properly maintained and often cleaned. Once you’ve cleaned your air filters, or maybe even replaced them, the problem should be solved. If the problem is still there, be sure to contact a professional.

Can RV Furnace Run Without a Filter?

One of the most important parts of a furnace is the blower fan, which is connected to an air filter, which filters the air once it has been sucked into the blower fan and forwarded to the furnace, where it heats up and then gets re-introduced into your living space.

The air filter thus prevents any debris from entering the furnace and enables your furnace to work properly. Furthermore, a clogged air filter could cause your furnace to overheat, and it would obstruct the flow of air which enters the furnace, but also the one which leaves it. Because of that, the desired temperature simply wouldn’t be reached.

For those who want to learn more, be sure to read How Long Does Propane Last in an RV?

Can a Furnace Leak Carbon Monoxide if It Is Off?

Install carbon monoxide in your RV

If you feel nauseous, fatigued, dizzy, or have a headache, you might be suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning. However, an RV furnace cannot leak carbon monoxide if you are not using it, leaks from other appliances could be pulled into the furnace, causing the gas to circulate your living space.

Carbon monoxide is created when wood, oil, kerosene, propane, natural gas, or oil go through the chemical reaction of incomplete burning. The symptoms above could be accommodated by loss of coordination, blackouts, vomiting, or disorientation.

To prevent issues relating to carbon monoxide, which is a common byproduct of furnaces, be sure to have the furnace installed by experts, invest money into a carbon monoxide detector, and have your furnace checked out by experts as often as you can.

FAQ: People Also Ask

How to reset an RV furnace?

When trying to reset an RV furnace be careful not to get burned. First, you should shut down the breaker which is located in the circuit box. That way you’ll cut the power supply to the furnace. Next, push the reset button located in the blower compartment of the blower motor.

Why Is My RV furnace only blowing cold air?

This is caused by the ignition switch which has been blocked by dust particles, your pet’s fur or even debris which has been blown into the furnace or has accumulated due to the RV not being used. If the ignition switch isn’t cleaned, the furnace won’t ignite properly and due to the low temperature of the furnace, the air it circulates will be cold.

Can You manually light the RV furnace?

Yes, some furnaces even have a striker ignition device, but a furnace can also be lit up with matches or a lighter. To light your furnace, go to the access panel and remove the cover of your furnace. The gas dial should be in the pilot position after which you hold down the knob and light the furnace with the aforementioned devices.

Final Thoughts

If you follow our tips, your problems should be solved easily, but don’t be scared of simply replacing a part which you might think is faulty. Most of these problems can be resolved on your own, but if you don’t manage to pinpoint the issue, consult a professional. I hope that this article has helped you and if you have any additional questions about the RV furnace feel free to comment below.

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