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Old 12-23-2011, 06:45 PM   #1
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Help! Heater and Propane issues

I recently noticed that my propane regulator tank level indicator was not working and now my recently replaced Suburban heater fires and runs for a couple minutes and then goes out and off. It sounds like it is trying to re- fire but doesn't. Propane tank full, stove works but the frig when set on gas seems now to run for a while and then go out and show a check light.
Any suggestions? I am going to have to camp in AS for Xmas at my brothers house temps are supposed to be in 20s won't be much fun with out heater.
Are these problems related?
Thanks in advance for any help and suggestions.
Andy
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Old 12-23-2011, 07:10 PM   #2
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Sounds like too little gas pressure getting into the lines from the tank past the regulator. There is an adjustment to increase pressure but you need a manometer on the lines to adjust accurately. Stove does not care, fidge and heater have sensors to ensure proper burning of the fuel at the right level. Actually the stove does care but it's not as noticeable. New regulator may solve the issues you have.
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Old 12-23-2011, 08:11 PM   #3
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Could Be the Sail Switch

Clancy Boy is correct about low gas pressure.
But you can should the sail switch before you begin your search for a manometer.
The same symptons would occur if your sail switch isn't working.
The sail switch is a safety device.
The sail switch opens the circuit when there is no air flow and closes the circuit when there is adequate air flow.
So, if the sail switch freezes (corrodes) in the open position, no amount of air flow will close it and allow the furnace to ignite.
Fix the faulty sail switch (if its the culprit)
Feel like a genius.
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Old 12-23-2011, 08:23 PM   #4
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Thank you all for help. Where is sail switch and how do I reset it? I know nothing about it.
Andy
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Old 12-23-2011, 08:32 PM   #5
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A sail switch is a switch connected to a flap which deflects with air passage, like a sail, hence the name. Unfortunately, it is inside your furnace. It is my guess that the sail switch is not the culprit, since your furnace ignites and then goes out. Replacing the regulator, at least for our trailer, is much easier and surely worth trying. I have had to replace both the sail switch in my furnace and the regulator. I would much rather replace the regulator than take the furnace out and disassemble it enough to replace the sail switch.

Tim
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Old 12-23-2011, 08:41 PM   #6
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Tim
Thanks for info. I suspect u are correct the furnace is less than a year old and who knows how old the regulator is. Also the full tank indicator on regulator just quit working.
Andy
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Old 12-23-2011, 09:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
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Tim
Thanks for info. I suspect u are correct the furnace is less than a year old and who knows how old the regulator is. Also the full tank indicator on regulator just quit working.
Andy
That would trigger my thinking that there are more issues with the regulator than just the indicator. They are not that hard to replace and are really not that expensive. Good Luck and keep warm.


Mike
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Old 12-23-2011, 09:56 PM   #8
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Are you running on battery or shore power? The load from a running furnace drains the battery to the point where the motor no longer spins the blower fast enough to trigger the sail switch, thus the safety aspect for the switch. This happens when a battery is run down. If switching to shore power solves the problem, the battery/connections are suspect.

If the problem persists on shore power, assuming the converter is working, the problem is probably not power. Since you observed a similar problem with the fridge, the gas regulator is at the top of my suspect list. They are mechanical and many go bad after years of service. Vapor pressure in the tank is lower in cold weather and a faulty regulator may not be able to compensate for this change. They are not expensive, a 2-stage auto switchover regulator goes for about $60 or less and is easy to replace. Check your installation for leaks with soapy water.
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Old 12-23-2011, 10:02 PM   #9
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Try this. Close the valves on all propane tanks. Then turn on one burner on the stove and light it. Open the valve on one tank slowly about 1/2 turn. Make sure the burner on the stove is still lit.
You could have tripped the safety device in the tank and you are no longer getting full flow to the regulator. If the stove flame looks good, open the tank valve about 3 turns and fire up the furnace to see if it will run OK.
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Old 12-23-2011, 10:03 PM   #10
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Thanks I am on shore power. I will probably have to spend a chilly Xmas weekend and then replace the regulator. I can't tell everyone how much I appreciate all the wonderful knowledge given by fellow Air forums members, this is such a great community and resource!!
Thanks to all and to all a Merry Christmas !!!!
Andy
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Old 12-23-2011, 10:16 PM   #11
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Since you are on shore power. Go to a big box store. I bought a ceramic heater for less than $15. It did such a good job of keeping our 26 footer warm. I bought a second one. With the 2 of them running the trailer stays shirt sleeve warm when it's below 20 outside. The brand name of the heater is Pelonis.
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Old 12-23-2011, 10:24 PM   #12
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Thanks for advice. I have a small 1500 watt space heater and another fancier electric heater, only prob is when I stay in my brothers cul da sac his house only has 20 amp plugs and will not run two heaters with our blowing circuit breakers one heater in 31 can leave it chilly.

May have to put stove on with clay pot on burner if it gets. Too cold.
Andy
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Old 12-23-2011, 11:22 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AustinAir View Post
Thanks for advice. I have a small 1500 watt space heater and another fancier electric heater, only prob is when I stay in my brothers cul da sac his house only has 20 amp plugs and will not run two heaters with our blowing circuit breakers one heater in 31 can leave it chilly.

May have to put stove on with clay pot on burner if it gets. Too cold.
Andy
We don't always have electric, propane, and or other heaters that work just when we need them most!.. Think about having a snowmobile suit and boots in your emergency kit! I survived a night out in the middle of Rangeley Lake up in Maine one evening when the wind Chile was -68 degrees after an malfunction in my ride!
Everything is supposed to work the way it is supposed to work, whowever, I think you get my drift!
Hey, I stayed toasty warm, and am still here to talk about it today!
We even have elected regulators that don't work, most of the time, of late!

Good Luck,
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Old 12-23-2011, 11:37 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AustinAir
...May have to put stove on with clay pot on burner if it gets. Too cold. Andy
Please be sure your CO detector is working, we want to hear from you after the holidays... How about your electric heater plus an electric blanket?
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