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Old 10-01-2019, 01:18 PM   #1
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Furnace won't light and possible wasp problem

2011.

The furnace won't light. It comes on, blows, I hear the ignitor trying to go, then a blinking red light (under the cover, cover off) comes on and it stops.

I can't see where the ignitor is from inside, so looked outside to see what vents are there, I can see what I think is the propane vent above the heater, some vent over the fridge, and fridge access door. (Fridge is to the right of the heater in the 2011 Escape 15A).

I see a wasp crawling into that vent.

First question- possible nest in fridge vent. It has lots of screws to remove to get to the cover but it is possible there is a wasp's nest in there. (I think it is a yellow jacket but I'm not that good at IDs). I don't dare remove it in the daylight as obviously now the wasp or hornet or bee is active. We had seen activity in that general area but hadn't found the nest.

Second question-The furnace worked two weeks ago. Luckily I decided I should warm up the trailer with electric plugged in (but my mom is borrowing my space heater) so tried it before leaving for a camping trip today. What might be wrong and how can I fix it?

I have a Mr. Buddy heater I could take along and use (I would turn it off at night as I do the propane one.) So trip may be on unless I'm concerned about wasps being in that vent and somehow getting into the trailer.
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Old 10-01-2019, 01:25 PM   #2
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And one more question- if it is a wasp's nest, can I put some window screening under that cover without it interfering with function? (Also under the other cover while I'm at it!)
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Old 10-01-2019, 01:42 PM   #3
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THIS is your furnace vent Bobbie.
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Old 10-01-2019, 01:46 PM   #4
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That's what I thought. If there is a yellow jacket nest in the fridge vent is that going to cause short-term problems?
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Old 10-01-2019, 01:46 PM   #5
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Maybe cut a piece of clear plastic visqueen big enough to cover the vent. Tape it over the vent all four edges. Cut a small slit at the bottom and jus before dark when they’ve all returned for the day, put the hornet spray nozzle in the slit and give them a shot. Let it set overnight. Observe next day. Thump it a couple times to see if you can see or hear any. If not slowly remove plastic and tape and vent cover. Let everything air outFor a couple hours before attempting to relight or further examination of the internal workings. That’s what I would do. Your results may be different from mine. Remember on hornets that they are
Unionized and if you mess with one, you have them all.
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Old 10-01-2019, 01:49 PM   #6
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That's a good idea.
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Old 10-01-2019, 01:54 PM   #7
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That's what I thought. If there is a yellow jacket nest in the fridge vent is that going to cause short-term problems?
The upper white vent with all the screws is for the refrigerator. It vents your heat from the condenser coil and combustion gases from the flue. The bee looks like a yellow jacket. It is highly unlikely that there is any harm that will be caused by the bees. Probably just a small nest in there that needs to be taken care of.
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Old 10-01-2019, 02:04 PM   #8
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OK- so the vent is the fridge, round vent is heater, how do I get to the back of the heater and what might be wrong?
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Old 10-01-2019, 02:44 PM   #9
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Based on the year of your trailer you should have the Atwood 8012-II furnace. You mentioned a blinking light in your first post. That is on the control board which you should be able to see from the front with the cover off as you indicate. What is the pattern of the blinking? Does it correspond to any of the patterns on the attached chart.

It was just working two weeks ago so I would start simple. I've heard that some compressed air blown into the wheel area can help dislodge a dust ball that might hang up the sail switch. Make sure your propane line is clear of air too. This is easily done by lighting and running the stove for a minute.
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Old 10-01-2019, 03:12 PM   #10
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What do you mean, "into the wheel area?"

The light was flashing (I think) but can't recall so when I take the cover off again I'll check it out.
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Old 10-01-2019, 04:01 PM   #11
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And one more question- if it is a wasp's nest, can I put some window screening under that cover without it interfering with function? (Also under the other cover while I'm at it!)
I did that on my refer and water heater vents in the past, make sure it is metal and not plastic screen.
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Old 10-01-2019, 04:11 PM   #12
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What do you mean, "into the wheel area?"

The light was flashing (I think) but can't recall so when I take the cover off again I'll check it out.
By wheel area I mean the squirrel cage fan wheel that blows the air into the cabin. The sail switch is down in that compartment. A good blast into the large opening at the front of the furnace could do the trick. I'm not 100% positive as I've never done it personally. I've heard that it has been done or at least suggested by Tammy at ETI years ago. This thread may help.

How to replace sail switch ? (Atwood 8012)
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Old 10-01-2019, 07:49 PM   #13
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on my 2014 21, I had to remove the furnace to access the squirrel cage area. when I removed the sail switch, there was a little dust bunny of some sort of poly insulation fiber, probably left over from manufacturing. I removed this, and also vacuumed out any other debris in the compartment the heater is installed on. putting the heater back on, and getting the vent properly aligned was tricky, and required someone on the outside to help by leaning on the exhaust plate to prevent it from popping off the trailer.
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Old 10-01-2019, 08:12 PM   #14
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And after a 30 minute tow to our campsite- it works! I came equipped with the Mr. Buddy but thought to try the furnace first and it came right on.
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Old 10-01-2019, 11:54 PM   #15
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And after a 30 minute tow to our campsite- it works! I came equipped with the Mr. Buddy but thought to try the furnace first and it came right on.
In the Navy, we used to call repairs like that the "FM" fix..... as in F-ing Magic. Well done!
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