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Old 11-05-2015, 10:04 AM   #1
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Dometic heater zone 2 not working on furnace, not hot on HP

I've had this 2015 Airstream International Signature (my first RV) for about 6 months.

I've had the heater in zone 2 on furnace and it's been working fine until, of course, it got cold up here in the redwoods. The modes for zone 1 do not include furnace, so zone 2 is on HP and working fine. There doesn't seem to be a problem with the water heater - I have hot water and the HP heater in zone 1 is working, and the red light for the water heater isnt on. But the heater in zone 2 on furnace mode does nothing. No fan, no heat, nada. If I switch zone 2 to HP mode, the fams are on, but if I put my hand up to the ceiling fans, I cant tell if it's blowing heat or just air. If it's heat, it's not very warm, since I've got it turned up to 78 degrees. I feel like I should feel heat coming out of those ceiling fans, not just air.

I turned both the gas and electric on for the water heater, even though I dont think that has anything to do with it. I checked the propane tanks (which also shouldn't affect furnace) and they're still very full. I noticed there is no flame on the pilot light outside, which is confusing to me, since I have gas on the stove.

So, I'm completely perplexed. And cold. And learning.
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Old 11-05-2015, 11:12 AM   #2
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The heat pumps do not work so good when it is cold especially below 45 degrees,
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Old 11-05-2015, 03:09 PM   #3
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Your furnace is gas. I don't think the water heater has anything to do with heating the trailer.
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Old 11-05-2015, 10:12 PM   #4
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Hm, it seems that way... I've turned the temps up to 75-78 to stay warm.
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Old 11-05-2015, 10:14 PM   #5
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Your furnace is gas. I don't think the water heater has anything to do with heating the trailer.
Ohhh. So maybe my pilot not being lit has something to do with it. Though I dont know why one zone would work (or my gas stove for that matter) when the pilot has no fire in it, but I think it's unusual to not have fire in the pilot, so I'll pile on the layers and go outside and figure that one out and see what happens.
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Old 11-06-2015, 06:33 AM   #6
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Do the new trailers have pilot lights? Think not.
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Old 11-06-2015, 06:48 AM   #7
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There are no pilot lights - all of the propane appliances use electronic igniters. If the furnace (which is propane with an electric fan) works correctly on Zone 1 but not Zone 2, the issue is the electronic thermostat. It is a little hard to follow your problem description, but I gather that Zone 2 doesn't turn on the furnace at all, and blows cold air in heat pump mode?

As previously mentioned, the heat pumps will not function well below an ambient temp of 40-45F, although both zones should operate the same in that regard.

One thing would be to check what the interior ambient temp reading is in Zone 2 vs Zone 1. If the thermostat thinks the interior temp is at or above the set point, it won't kick on the heat.

I'm guessing you either have a heat pump or thermostat issue (assuming it is not operator error). A trip to the dealer may be in order since I assume you are still under warranty.
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Old 11-06-2015, 10:26 AM   #8
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There are no pilot lights - all of the propane appliances use electronic igniters. If the furnace (which is propane with an electric fan) works correctly on Zone 1 but not Zone 2, the issue is the electronic thermostat.
Khollister thank you! I do have a pilot light outside with no fire in it. Whether or not that's related to the heater, I now no longer gas going to my stove, which is also a problem too. I've been trying to figure out how to light it for two days...

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One thing would be to check what the interior ambient temp reading is in Zone 2 vs Zone 1. If the thermostat thinks the interior temp is at or above the set point, it won't kick on the heat.
Good one. I checked, and I've got both zones on 76 degrees and it reads the ambient inside temp as 74 (it's definitely not 74 in here, though it may be closer to 74 near the ceiling). But that's not too far off... Thanks for that one.
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Old 11-06-2015, 11:00 AM   #9
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Based on your description, you have two different ways of providing heat to your trailer: #1 using the heat pumps features of your overhead Dometic HVAC units and #2 using the furnace.

First, the Heat Pumps. These use 110 volt AC electricity (I presume you are plugged in) and will work reasonably well so long as the outside temperature is not lower than 40 to 45 or so. Since you have two AC units, you have two heat pumps that can provide some modest amount of heat so long as the outside ambient temperatures are not too low.

The furnace is a completely different system that uses 12 volts and propane. It shares the Dometic thermostat with your AC/heat pump units and cannot be used at the same site as the heat pump in Zone 2. To use the furnace, toggle the Zone button on your thermostat to Zone 2 then toggle the Mode button to furnace (not HP) and toggle the Fan button until you get to Auto. Then set the desired temperature using the two buttons for this purpose. To have the furnace run properly you must set the Zone 2 fan to Auto otherwise the fan in the rooftop unit will run continuously and blow cold air into the trailer. The hot air form the furnace enters the trailer through some small round air ducts near the floor. You should have a duct in the living area, the toilet room and one in the bedroom. There is also a heat duct inside the belly pan (under the trailer) to provide some heat to the fresh water and holding tanks to help keep them from freezing.

The furnace will heat your trailer regardless of the outside temperature (i.e., well into typical winter temperatures) and is not limited to ambient temperatures in the 40's as are your heat pumps.

You cannot run the heat pump on Zone 2 while you are using the furnace and while you can run the heat pump on Zone 1 when running the furnace there really is no reason to do this as the furnace is quite capable of heating the entire trailer.

I hope this helps.
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Old 11-06-2015, 11:19 AM   #10
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I have the 2011. 23' International with one a/c unit on top. I have a Donetic thermostat that lets me down every time I really need it. It lists two zones but there is truly only one zone. I am normally a well spoken, nice person. But let me tell you, the cold nights and frustrstions I have suffered make me say the whole Dometuc thermostat is a total piece of crap. I'm so mad I throw spit when talking about it. I'm not illiterate on computers, but even paying a Donetic tech for over the phone assistance in an emergency gets me nothing. I camp off grid a lot and that seems to be the communication problem between the furnace and the thermostat. Typical experience is that I am boondocking...turn on furnace. Great. Runs till it gets to temp and then will never kick in again. So I freeze all night. What a piece of crap and too hard to use with modes and zones and dual buttons to push to restart the whole thing and try to program. Listen Airstream factory people--for single unit systems put in a house or hotel manual thermostats that normal people can operate and forget the heat pump. Geezus. Ok, rant over...I am back on my meds.
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Old 11-06-2015, 12:25 PM   #11
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76 and74 degrees may be too close. Try setting it on 85 or as high as it will go. Does the 2011 have a separate tstat for the furnace? Thus for the last poster. I don't know, too new for me.
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Old 11-06-2015, 01:24 PM   #12
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Don't forget that there is about a 3 minute delay every time you make an adjustment. Look for the hourglass on the display.
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Old 11-06-2015, 02:07 PM   #13
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Khollister thank you! I do have a pilot light outside with no fire in it. Whether or not that's related to the heater, I now no longer gas going to my stove, which is also a problem too. I've been trying to figure out how to light it for two days...
Where is the thing you think is a pilot light? On a late model 30' Int or FC you have the water heater and refrigerator on the street side (both have access panels with propane burners, if in gas mode) and the furnace access panel on the curb side (also with a burner). All of these are automatic electronic ignition. There should only be a flame if the appliance is in operation and, in the case of the fridge & water heater, if they are in gas mode rather than electric). The range cooktop is lit by a manual igniter knob that you turn a few times to light the stove after you turn on the gas to the specific burner. The oven (if equipped) is lit by a match.

If you have no gas when opening a burner on the cooktop (and assuming you don't smell propane or the propane detector is going off), then you are either out of gas (check the indicator at the regulator) or there is some external issue with the transfer switch, regulator or a leak (which bled off all your propane).
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Old 11-06-2015, 02:21 PM   #14
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Sfgirl:

I'm still confused about exactly what your symptoms are. Let's try and keep this simple ...

1) Forget the propane appliances for the moment - try zone 1 on HP (zone 2 off) and then zone 2 on HP (zone 1 off). Do you get warm air both times? If not, you have a AC/HP issue or possibly a thermostat glitch.

2) Check you propane tanks - reasonably full? If so switch the water heater to propane only - does it cycle on (you should hear the burner inside the trailer)? If that runs, you have gas getting to the appliances.

3) Turn zone 1 off and set zone 2 to mode=furnace, fan=auto. Run the set point temp up to something high like 80F to get the furnace to kick on. The fan will start several seconds before the propane burner ignites, so you need to wait a bit before you will feel warm air from the furnace vents (NOT the AC/HP vents in the ceiling - there should be no airflow from those).

Try these 3 tests and report back - we will try to walk you thru it.
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