RV Furnace Won’t Ignite? Do This!

Camping in the winter can be tough for many reasons. Many different types of RVs are vulnerable to the cold weather because they’re simply not as well insulated as a home. Your RV furnace is especially critical when it comes to camping in the cold.

An RV furnace may not ignite for several reasons. The most common reason is that the pilot light is out. Other reasons include a tripped circuit breaker, a clogged burner, or a problem with the thermostat. If you encounter this problem, there are a few ways to fix it.

rv furnace wont ignite

Why Will My RV Furnace Not Ignite?

There are several common reasons why your RV furnace won’t ignite, and it’s important to find the culprit quickly so you can set out to fix it before anything (including you) freezes.

Here are some of the most common reasons:

  • Pilot light has gone out
  • Circuit breaker has tripped
  • Burner is clogged
  • Thermocouple is defective
  • Blower motor is broken
  • Gas valve is faulty
  • Thermostat is experiencing problems
  • Leak in the gas line
  • Filter needs to be replaced
  • RV battery may be dead
  • Igniter is faulty
  • Fuse may be bad
  • Furnace itself is bad

13 Reasons Why An RV Furnace Won’t Ignite + Fixes

As you can see, there are a lot of reasons why your furnace may not be working properly, so it’s important to know how to troubleshoot these issues and then fix them quickly and easily.

fixing an rv furnace

1. Pilot Light Has Gone Out

Perhaps the most common problem and the easiest to fix is that your pilot light that has gone out simply needs to be relit.

In order to do this, you’ll need to locate the pilot light on your furnace (it’s usually located near the bottom). Once you’ve found it, turn off the power to your furnace and then use a long lighter or match to relight the pilot light.

Be sure to keep the flame close to the pilot light opening in order for it to relight properly.

While this problem is incredibly easy to fix and doesn’t require the help of a professional, it can be a bit intimidating for someone who’s never done it before.

However, it’s required by law that all furnaces have instructions printed on the outside of the unit on how to ignite the pilot light.

These instructions are usually accompanied by pictures, so you should be able to figure it out on your own.

Related: Mr. Heater Pilot Light Troubleshooting Guide

2. Circuit Breaker Has Tripped

If your furnace is not igniting, it’s possible that the circuit breaker has been tripped and needs to be reset.

To do this, simply locate the circuit breaker box and find the switch that’s in the “off” position.

Once you’ve found it, simply flip it back to the “on” position and try igniting your furnace again.

Sometimes when a breaker trips, the switch only flips halfway to the off position. You may have to turn it fully off and then back on to reconnect the circuit and reset the breaker.

3. Burner Is Clogged

If your burner is clogged, it’s probably because there’s a build-up of soot and debris that’s preventing the gas from igniting properly.

This happens when you use your furnace regularly and doesn’t necessarily indicate a bigger problem.

In order to clean your burner, you’ll need to remove it from the furnace (refer to your owner’s manual for instructions on how to do this) and then use a wire brush to scrape away any build-up that you see.

Once you’ve cleaned off the burner, reattach it to the furnace and then try igniting the pilot light again.

4. Thermocouple Is Defective

The thermocouple is a small sensor that’s located near the pilot light and is responsible for detecting when the pilot light is lit.

If the thermocouple is defective, it may not be able to properly detect when the pilot light is lit.

This defective thermocouple makes your furnace think the pilot light is off when it’s not, which will prevent the furnace from igniting. In order to fix this, you’ll need to replace the thermocouple with a new one.

In some cases, your pilot light may actually be out, which causes the thermocouple to block the gas valve for safety reasons.

Again, if the thermocouple is defective, this could be why you’re having trouble getting your pilot light relit, which indicates the thermocouple should be replaced.

5. Blower Motor Is Broken

The blower motor is responsible for circulating air through the furnace and into your RV.

If the blower motor is broken, then the furnace will not be able to circulate air and will not be able to heat your RV properly. In order to fix this, you’ll need to replace the blower motor with a new one.

Replacing a blower motor is a fairly simple process that can be done by most people.

However, it’s still a good idea to consult your owner’s manual or a professional before attempting to do it yourself.

6. Gas Valve Is Faulty

Some furnaces have both a thermocouple and a gas valve. The gas valve is responsible for opening and closing the gas line to the furnace.

If the gas valve is faulty, it may not be opening properly, which will prevent any gas from getting to the furnace. In order to fix this, you’ll need to replace the gas valve with a new one.

Replacing a gas valve is a more complicated process that should only be attempted by someone who is experienced with working on furnaces.

If you’re not confident in your ability to do it, you should consult a professional for help.

7. Thermostat Is Experiencing Problems

If your furnace won’t ignite, it’s possible that the problem lies with your thermostat and not the furnace itself.

There are a few different things that could be wrong with your thermostat, such as:

  • The batteries may be dead and need to be replaced.
  • There may be a faulty wire or connection.
  • The thermostat may be set to “off” instead of “on.”
  • The thermostat may be set to a temperature that’s too low for the furnace to turn on.
  • The thermostat may be faulty and need to be replaced.

If you suspect that the problem lies with your thermostat, the first thing you should do is check the batteries. If they’re dead, simply replace them and see if that fixes the problem.

Some thermostats don’t have batteries. Instead, they’re hardwired into your RV’s electrical system. If you have this type of thermostat, check the wiring to make sure there are no loose or damaged wires.

Next, check to see if the thermostat is set to “off” or “on.” It should be set to “on” in order for the furnace to turn on.

If it’s not, simply switch it to the “on” position and set the temperature high enough that the furnace should kick on to see if that fixes the problem.

If you’ve checked the batteries, wiring, and thermostat settings, and everything seems to be in order, then it’s possible that the thermostat itself is faulty.

In this case, you’ll need to replace it with a new one.

8. Leak In The Gas Line

If you have a leak in the gas line, This can prevent the flow of gas from reaching the furnace, which will prevent it from igniting.

In order to fix this, you’ll need to find and repair the leak in the gas line.

No amount of troubleshooting is going to fix this problem and it’s safest to have the gas line repaired or replaced by a professional.

A gas leak can lead to a lot of problems outside of your furnace not working, so it’s best to get this fixed as soon as possible.

9. FIlter Needs to Be Replaced

If the filter hasn’t been replaced in a while, it could be causing your furnace problems.

A dirty filter can restrict air flow and cause all sorts of problems for your furnace. In order to fix this, simply replace the filter with a new one.

Replacing the filter is a simple process you can do yourself. It required removing the old filter and inserting a new one, much like you would an HVAC unit in your house.

However, if you’re not sure how to do it, you can consult your owner’s manual or a professional for help.

10. RV Battery Is Dead

If your RV battery is dead, it can prevent the furnace from igniting. This is because the furnace uses electricity to ignite the gas and if there’s no power, it won’t be able to do that.

In order to fix this, you’ll need to charge or replace the battery.

To charge your RV’s battery bank, simply plug your RV into shore power or use a generator to power your RV. Once the battery has been charged, try igniting the furnace again to see if that was the problem.

If your RV battery is old and no longer holds a charge, you may need to replace it. This is a more complicated process that should only be attempted by someone who is experienced with working on RV electrical systems.

11. Igniter is Faulty

If the igniter is faulty, it can prevent the furnace from igniting. The igniter is what produces the spark that ignites the gas and if it’s not working, the furnace won’t be able to turn on. In order to fix this, you’ll need to replace the igniter.

To replace your igniter, you’ll need to remove the old one and insert a new one. This is a relatively simple process that can be done with a few tools.

However, if you’re not experienced with working on furnaces, it’s best to consult a professional for help.

12. Fuse May Be Bad

If the fuse is bad, it can prevent the furnace from igniting. The fuse protects the electrical components of the furnace and if it’s blown, it can prevent the igniter from receiving power and cause the furnace to malfunction.

In order to fix this, you’ll need to replace the fuse.

To replace your RV’s furnace fuse, you’ll need to locate the fuse box and remove the old fuse.

Once the old fuse has been removed, insert a new one of the same size and amperage. Then, try igniting the furnace again to see if that was the problem.

13. Furnace Itself is Bad

There are plenty of things that can go wrong with your furnace unit, especially if it’s old.

They can overheat, short-circuit, or just plain stop working. If you’ve tried all of the troubleshooting tips and nothing seems to be working, it’s possible that the furnace itself is bad and will need to be replaced.

In this case, you’ll need to replace the furnace.

Replacing your RV’s furnace is a big job and it’s best to consult a professional for help. Furnaces are complicated units and if you’re not experienced with working on them, it’s best to leave it to someone who is.

RV Furnace Blower Comes On But Won’t Ignite: Troubleshooting

It’s a common problem among RVers to find that their furnace blower is kicking on but the furnace won’t ignite.

There are several reasons why this may be and some additional fixes you can try.

1. Check for Obstructions

One of the first things you’ll want to do is check for any obstructions in the way of the igniter.

If there’s something blocking it, the igniter won’t be able to produce a spark and ignite the gas. In order to fix this, you’ll need to remove the obstruction and try igniting the furnace again.

2. Clean or Replace the Flame Sensor

If the flame sensor is dirty, it can prevent the furnace from igniting. The flame sensor is what tells the furnace whether or not there’s a flame present and if it’s covered in dirt or debris, it may not be able to function properly.

In order to fix this, you’ll need to clean or replace the flame sensor.

3. Replace the Igniter

If the igniter is faulty, it can prevent the furnace from igniting. The igniter is what produces the spark that ignites the gas and if it’s not working, the furnace won’t be able to turn on.

In order to fix this, you’ll need to replace the igniter.

How Do You Test An RV Furnace Igniter?

If you’re troubleshooting your RV furnace and you think the igniter may be the problem, you’ll need to test it to be sure.

Testing the igniter is a relatively simple process that can be done with a few tools.

To test the igniter, follow these simple steps:

  • Remove the access panel to the furnace.
  • Locate the igniter and unplug it from the wiring harness.
  • Using an ohmmeter, test the igniter for continuity.
  • If the igniter is not working, replace it with a new one and try igniting the furnace again.

Is There A Reset Button On An RV Furnace?

If your RV furnace won’t ignite, you may be wondering if there’s a reset button that you can push to try and get it working again.

In most cases, RV furnaces do not have a reset button. This can make it more difficult to troubleshoot and fix issues because there’s brain and braun involved.

However, there are some models that do have one. If your furnace has a reset button, you can try pressing it to see if that helps. If not, you’ll need to continue troubleshooting the issue.

Why Does My RV Furnace Shut Off After 30 Seconds?

If your RV furnace shuts off after 30 seconds, it’s likely due to a problem with the thermostat.

The thermostat is what tells the furnace when to turn on and off and if it’s not working properly, it can cause the furnace to shut down prematurely.

In order to fix this, you can follow the troubleshooting steps above to see what might be wrong with your furnace.

Here’s a quick recap:

  • The batteries may be dead and need to be replaced.
  • There may be a faulty wire or connection.
  • The thermostat may be set to “off” instead of “on.”
  • The thermostat may be set to a temperature that’s too low for the furnace to turn on.
  • The thermostat may be faulty and need to be replaced.

Related: How To Make Your Noisy RV Furnace Quieter

DIY or Professional RV Furnace Repair?

RV furnaces are complicated units and if you’re not experienced with working on them, it’s best to leave it to someone who is. RV furnace repair is a big job and it’s best to consult a professional for help.

If you’re not comfortable with performing repairs on your own, I recommend taking your RV to a qualified technician or service center for help.

However, there are plenty of troubleshooting tasks you can perform on your own before calling someone else.

If it’s a simple fix, you will save a lot of time and money doing it yourself, so it’s worth looking into what you think you can handle on your own first.

Conclusion

Your RV furnace is an important component of winter camping, so keeping it in proper working order is critical. If your furnace will not ignite, use the steps above to troubleshoot the problem and call a professional if you seem to lose your way.

Madeline Cooper
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