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Old 03-27-2015, 10:37 AM   #1
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Furnace stopped working

My trailer's furnace has stopped working. When it comes on, it blows cold air for about fifteen seconds then shuts off again. I made sure that I have propane, and I hit the "reset" button on the furnace under its cover.

Before leaving home I replaced the furnace's thermostat with a White-Rodgers digital thermostat. The furnace seemed to work okay with the new thermostat at the time. I foolishly left the original thermostat at home.

The only thing I'm willing to try myself is to replace the digital thermostat with a very simple mechanical one. Otherwise I need to take the trailer to an RV service center. Any idea what might be wrong with my furnace?
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Old 03-27-2015, 10:49 AM   #2
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This happened with my furnace, too. The fan came on but then it failed to ignite which shut it down. In my case, it was a bad sail switch which was replaced at my local RV dealer. Others have had this same issue with the furnace.

Edit: Because this happened in the winter, I now carry a back-up Buddy heater in case I'm off-grid. I also use a small electric heater if I'm hooked to the grid.
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Old 03-27-2015, 10:58 AM   #3
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Mike - We just had our mobile tech out yesterday to look at our Atwood as it was doing something similar. He listened for the sail switch (which, as owners here will attest, seems to fail) but ours required a "factory reset" of the digital thermostat.

Our furnace worked fine all last year, including two weeks in the snow in Yellowstone; however, it failed on Christmas when guests were staying in the trailer. (The technician said "the fail" was no doubt caused by people + alcohol + pushing buttons ... ) Since you replaced your original thermostat with another, perhaps the thermostat needs to be reset (directions should be in the thermostat's manual).
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Old 03-27-2015, 11:07 AM   #4
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I can't see it being the thermostat in your case Mike, but a simple test would be to disconnect the leads to it, and hold them together. If the furnace starts and keeps running until you break the connection, it is the thermostat. If it reacts the same as with using the thermostat, it is definitely with the furnace itself.
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Old 03-27-2015, 11:29 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Bennett View Post
I can't see it being the thermostat in your case Mike, but a simple test would be to disconnect the leads to it, and hold them together. If the furnace starts and keeps running until you break the connection, it is the thermostat. If it reacts the same as with using the thermostat, it is definitely with the furnace itself.
Ditto, also you might try giving the furnace a good old fashion whack or two (old fashioned tech term ) after the fan starts blowing.

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Old 03-27-2015, 03:18 PM   #6
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I stopped by an RV shop in Marathon, just to ask. The man confirmed that it sounded like a sail switch, and said I could give it a whack in case it's stuck. He also said low voltage will make the fan run too slowly to give enough air pressure to activate the switch. The threshold was 12.x volts, and I forgot what the "x" was. I'll watch my battery monitor to see how much voltage I have before going to bed tonight. I told the man I'd bring the trailer by next week when I pass through again.
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Old 03-27-2015, 03:28 PM   #7
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Low voltage will also cause the gas solenoid valve not to open if it's not the sail switch failing to function due to slow fan speed. Can't just jumper the across the sail switch as the furnace logic is looking for the transition to open/closed.
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Old 03-28-2015, 11:13 AM   #8
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Update to my post ... the repair tech told me he had reset the thermostat (something I had read about in the manual); however, my husband told me the reset was done at the furnace but that the tech said the problem started with the random button-pushing of the thermostat. Just a little mis-communication ...
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Old 03-28-2015, 05:56 PM   #9
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I checked my voltage and it's okay. I gave the furnace a few whacks when it tried to turn on, but it ignored me, so next week I'll have a pro look at it. Enjoyed hitting it, though, after a chilly night.
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Old 04-14-2015, 11:38 PM   #10
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I finally got my furnace fixed. It turned out to be trash, "fluff", they said, interfering with the sail switch. In the future I will have this checked during an annual maintenance.
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