Roadtrek

Roadtrek

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

How to Use the Furnace

There are a lot of things that those who have had an RV for awhile just do automatically, but for a first time RV owner there are many things that a good step by step understanding of will help a great deal. I have had several readers email and ask about some of these things and I will try to do some more articles on some of the basics. Since we are now in November and there may still be some who are not ready to set their RV aside for the winter quite yet, I will start with the FURNACE. (If you have a new Roadtrek and don't have a furnace for heat, this does not apply to you.)





The furnace in the Roadtrek and most RVs runs on both PROPANE AND BATTERY. The propane is the fuel used to make the heat. The battery is needed to:

-  Ignite the propane
and
- Run the fan to move the heat out of the furnace and into the RV

I have an article already about propane and you can go there to learn from this two part article about how to turn on your propane and also what to do when you first turn it on to make sure there is propane gas in all of the gas pipes.

So to use your furnace -

TURN YOUR PROPANE ON - Get it into all pipes (see article link above).

TURN YOUR BATTERY SWITCH ON.

The furnace switch is on a control panel. Mine is located at the rear of the cabin on the passenger side on the wall above the bed. I have a mechanical switch with slide switches. The newer Roadtreks have a digital switch with a digital thermostat display. Both do the same functions.

This is what mine looks like. If you have an older Roadtrek yours should look similar.


Here is what the digital switch looks like -



MAKE SURE THE SWITCHES ARE SET AS FOLLOWS:

FAN SET TO AUTO

FAN SPEED SET TO LO OR HIGH

THERMOSTAT SET TO TEMPERATURE WARMER THAN INSIDE YOUR COACH

THEN 

SLIDE THE SWITCH (or push buttons on the digital version) TO FURNACE

What should happen now is you will hear the blower fan inside the furnace turn on. It will be blowing cold air - that is what it is supposed to do right now. After a short time you will hear a CLICK. That CLICK is the battery run ignition lighting the propane.

IF THE FURNACE KEEPS CLICKING it means that the propane did not light. IT WILL ATTEMPT TO LIGHT SEVERAL MORE TIMES. If it does not light turn off the Furnace switch on the wall and check that all setting are as described above, that there is PROPANE in the tank, and it has been run through all the lines as that link above tells you how to do. Once checked, turn on the Furnace switch again.

HOW DO I KNOW IF IT HAS LIT?

There will be no more clicks and in a few minutes when you put your hand in front of the furnace vent inside there will be heat coming out and not cold air.

Your furnace is now in operation!

Set your thermostat lower if it gets too warm or higher if it is not warm enough. What will happen is with the settings on AUTO the furnace will turn off when it reaches the temperature set and turn back on when the temperature gets colder again. This cycling on and off is NORMAL.

OH MY! OH NO! THE SMOKE ALARM IS GOING OFF!!!

DON'T PANIC!

OPEN A WINDOW OR OPEN YOUR CEILING FAN VENT AND TURN ON THE FAN TO EXHAUST.

The first time that a new furnace is turned on, the furnace flame will burn off any packing oil that the furnace parts were coated with. This will result in a lot of smoke and a sharp burning smell. This IS NORMAL!  Once the smoke that this results in clears and is out the window or the fan, you can push the button to stop the smoke detector and it will not go off again. If it does, there is still more to burn off and exhaust out.

THIS MAY HAPPEN THE FIRST SEVERAL TIMES YOU LIGHT THE FURNACE - OR NOT.

THIS WILL OFTEN ALSO HAPPEN THE FIRST TIME THE FURNACE IS TURNED ON FOR A NEW SEASON. Dust, etc. collects inside the furnace and this too burns off when the furnace is ignited and will set off the smoke detector. IF it does, just do the same as above to stop it.

TURNING OFF THE FURNACE -

You would think that this is just as simple as moving the switch to OFF - and it IS, BUT...

When you turn the furnace off the flame will go out BUT the furnace fan will run for several minutes to cool off the inside of the furnace. THIS IS NORMAL! But it is very disconcerting. It troubles me when I first use the furnace after awhile and I never have gotten used to this. You hear it keep running. It will stop. Even though, if you are like me, you don't think it will stop - it will stop.

The furnace is VENTED outside. Here is a photo of the vent usually located on a Roadtrek just past the driver's door on the side of the van:





Always keep this vent CLEAR! If you are in the RV in the winter and it has snowed. Clear this off of snow if you are going to put on the furnace. If there has been an ice storm, clear all of the openings of this vent of ice. If you do not DO NOT TURN ON THE FURNACE. There are also special screens made and sold just for this vent to keep bugs out. Bugs can build nests or webs and cause all types of problems for the furnace.

That is it! You now are an expert in using your RV furnace!


 




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