RV News RVBusiness 2021 Top 10 RVs of the Year, plus 56 additional debuts and must-see units → ×
 


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 02-09-2017, 07:01 PM   #1
New Member
 
2017 16' Sport
Snowmass Village , Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 3
Furnace Not Igniting at Altitude

We just bought a brand new Airstream 16' sport in Denver. Everything worked great when we picked it up and heater was cranking out heat. We drove it 4 hours to our home in the mountains at 8100' and now the furnace will not ignite. At first I thought it was that the propane was too cold (down to 20 degrees lately) but today it was 50 degrees and had the same problem. The blower will push out cold air for just over a minute, then it shuts off. You have to manually flip the switch off to on and do this around 10 times before it will (sometimes) ignite and stay on with warm air. It seems like it's less the propane temperature and more the pressure (lower pressure at altitude). I did get it to work a couple times, so I know it does work, but usually just shuts off when I try to turn it on. I have talked at length with the service department in Denver, but we have not figured out a good solution yet. He walked me through all the other systems and the stove, hot water tank, and refrigerator all seem to work fine and ignite with the same propane. Like I said, it's brand new and our first Airstream, and we haven't taken it anywhere else yet to try it lower elevations.

Just wanted to see if anyone has any ideas of how to get the furnace to ignite while we have it at home at 8100' in cold Colorado! Brand new, so it should be functional and should not need cleaning...
kjloeffler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2017, 07:50 PM   #2
Rivet Master
 
Piggy Bank's Avatar
 
2019 27' Flying Cloud
Kansas City , Missouri
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 1,688
You might consider contacting the heater manufacturing and asking them about use at altitude. They may have faced this issue before.

Essentially, it sounds like your blower works OK, but perhaps the ignighter isn't sparking, or the flame sensor is not sensing flame and then is shutting down for safety.

It may or may not be related to the altitude. Do you find any possible info in the owners manual of the furnace?
__________________

Piggy Bank
Piggy Bank is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2017, 08:01 PM   #3
Rivet Master
 
Bigventure's Avatar
 
2016 30' Classic
Currently Looking...
Hinckley , Ohio
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 823
Images: 4
Furnace not igniting at altitude

What you need to do is adjust the propane regulator. The big round device between the tanks. It has a big cap on it. Unscrew it. Inside is a big screw. Tighten it up to raise the pressure.
__________________
If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

I chose America
Bigventure is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2017, 09:31 PM   #4
Rivet Master
 
Piggy Bank's Avatar
 
2019 27' Flying Cloud
Kansas City , Missouri
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 1,688
Bigadventure, that's some good info to know!
__________________

Piggy Bank
Piggy Bank is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2017, 11:06 PM   #5
Rivet Master
 
TG Twinkie's Avatar
 
1974 Argosy 26
Morrill , Nebraska
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 6,000
Images: 2
Blog Entries: 5
Unless you have a manometer and know what you are doing DO NOT attempt to adjust the regulator.
Propane systems are nothing to mess with.
TG Twinkie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2017, 05:03 AM   #6
4 Rivet Member
 
DaveMc's Avatar
 
2005 30' Safari
Montgomery , Texas
Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 384
Images: 1
Quote:
Originally Posted by TG Twinkie View Post
Unless you have a manometer and know what you are doing DO NOT attempt to adjust the regulator.
Propane systems are nothing to mess with.


^^^^^^^THIS!!!!! It would be a very dangerous idea to adjust the pressure regulator for 99.99% of us RVer's. A local AS'er sent us a link in our group text the other evening. I thought it was great advice and am glad to pass it along. Spend time looking at other articles on the website. Bookmark the site and read them all as time allows.

Hopefully this link works. If not, googling "RV Doctor Propane Pitfalls" will get you there. Stay safe!

http://www.rvdoctor.com/2001/01/avoi...ystem.html?m=1
DaveMc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2017, 06:36 AM   #7
2020 Globetrotter 25 FBT
 
GettinAway's Avatar

 
2020 25' Globetrotter
Wildwood , Missouri
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 1,693
We've run our furnace at various campgrounds all over CO. Last summer we were up above Steamboat Springs at Pearl Lake. It has to be at 8,000 or higher. No issues at all with running the furnace. I would guess something is off with your unit. I would also not go into the propane regulator, as advised above. It's a return trip to the dealer, which is a pain in the backside.
__________________
2020 25GT FBT
2012 Toyota Tundra Dbl Cab, 5.7 4x4
GettinAway is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2017, 09:21 AM   #8
3 Rivet Member
 
joqin's Avatar
 
1965 17' Caravel
brooklyn park , Minnesota
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 121
furnace

I know it's a long shot ,but check for spider webs in the burner tube. I had the same problem with a water heater. had to tease it out with a tooth brush. compressed air just blew it around ,but didn't unstick it, and it lowered the gas flow just enough to cause the the problem.
joe q in minnesnowda
joqin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2017, 12:41 PM   #9
Rivet Master
 
2015 30' FB FC Bunk
Ayer , Massachusetts
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 1,074
Very interesting. I do not have a solution, but I had the exact same experience with my brand new trailer in the Bighorn Mountains up high on the pass.

When we got down in elevation, it worked fine.
Ted S. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2017, 12:46 PM   #10
2 Rivet Member
 
Minipad's Avatar
 
2013 23' FB International
2013 25' Flying Cloud
In the Rockies, 6700' , Colorado
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 49
I too live in the mountains and have found that it may be air in the lines and not a pressure issue. You shouldn't have to adjust the regulator. I can usually get the air out by running the stove for a bit. It may flicker some which is a good indication that you have some air in the lines. If your furnace isn't lighting, your fridge and hot water heater may be having some trouble as well. Another thing to try would be to disconnect / reconnect the tank(s) a couple of times. Run the stove in between. Once you get the air out, you should have no problems. I haven't had to purge my system in over three years with constant changes in elevation. Good Luck.
Minipad is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2017, 01:29 PM   #11
2 Rivet Member
 
h2ocoolerman's Avatar
 
2017 27' International
Graham , Washington
Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 38
As a HVAC tech I can tell you that altitude can have a effect on propane or natural gas burners. There are adjustments points on the gas valve itself to adjust the fuel air mixture going into the burner. Most are set up for sea level to some altitude. Going higher in altitude means less air and some times the gas valve will need adjustment, but this needs to be done by someone with both the knowledge and tools to do the job right.
h2ocoolerman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2017, 02:17 PM   #12
3 Rivet Member
 
Wolf Alaska's Avatar
 
Currently Looking...
Currently Looking...
Madison , Alabama
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 172
Images: 8
I had difficulty with the water heater staying lit while camping @ 7,300 feet. After running for a while, the pilot light & main burner failed. Leaving the door open solved the problem. The air vent provided in the door wasn't big enough & didn't supply sufficent thin air to support the burner.

Altitude affects gensets, water heaters, furnances, & propane refers. Each mfg. provides specific means to cope.

Welcome to the RV hobby where you can obtain arcane knowledge that those of us, on this great forum, will applaud & no one else will care about at all.

So, go & become expert on your AS furnance. It is not really a good DIY appliance like a water heater, but the more you learn about it the better.

Oh, & don't forget to come back & tell us ! We'll appreciate your new knowledge �� .

Let's Roll !
Wolf. ��
__________________
Wolf Alaska
M.S./CFI/IR/ME/CP
FMCA SKP GS GPAA NRA USN (Ret)
Wolf Alaska is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2017, 02:28 PM   #13
Rivet Master
 
crispyboy's Avatar
 
1994 30' Excella
alexandria , Kentucky
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 2,045
Images: 3
It is likely the propane regulator will need to be adjusted by someone with a manometer. If it's brand new then take it back to the dealer.
The toughest part I found is making up the tool or you can purchase the tool and do it yourself.
I made my own tool and checked the regulator on my trailer back over the summer which needed to be tweeked ever so little. Higher altitude will need to be closer to 12-13" water column with all the appliances running.
__________________
Steve, Christy, Anna and Phoebe (Border Collie)
1994 Classic 30'11" Excella - rear twin
2009 Dodge 2500, 6 Speed Auto, CTD, Quad Cab, Short Bed
Hensley Arrow hitch with adjustable stinger
WBCCI # 3072
crispyboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2017, 03:58 PM   #14
Rivet Master
 
2017 30' Classic
Anna Maria , Florida
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 1,467
Quote:
Originally Posted by kjloeffler View Post
We just bought a brand new Airstream 16' sport in Denver. Everything worked great when we picked it up and heater was cranking out heat. We drove it 4 hours to our home in the mountains at 8100' and now the furnace will not ignite. At first I thought it was that the propane was too cold (down to 20 degrees lately) but today it was 50 degrees and had the same problem. The blower will push out cold air for just over a minute, then it shuts off. You have to manually flip the switch off to on and do this around 10 times before it will (sometimes) ignite and stay on with warm air. It seems like it's less the propane temperature and more the pressure (lower pressure at altitude). I did get it to work a couple times, so I know it does work, but usually just shuts off when I try to turn it on. I have talked at length with the service department in Denver, but we have not figured out a good solution yet. He walked me through all the other systems and the stove, hot water tank, and refrigerator all seem to work fine and ignite with the same propane. Like I said, it's brand new and our first Airstream, and we haven't taken it anywhere else yet to try it lower elevations.

Just wanted to see if anyone has any ideas of how to get the furnace to ignite while we have it at home at 8100' in cold Colorado! Brand new, so it should be functional and should not need cleaning...
For what its worth, we used our furnace a number of times at 8,700' without a problem. The stove as well.
Did you by chance try it at a lower altitude ? Might want to give that a try to be sure.
franklyfrank is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2017, 04:15 PM   #15
:SPACE A" S/O 11 Air19745
 
guskmg's Avatar

 
2006 34' Classic S/O
Fort Worth , Texas
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 1,331
Probably, your furnace "sail switch" is not getting enough air flow so as to allow the fan air to push open the sail and close its switch. Thus, the furnace can not finish its ignition cycle by allowing electricity to open the gas valve. The sail switch has to be completely free moving to work especially at altitude in the less dense air. A bent or dragging sail is the cause. I have had the same problem and sometime after a number of thermostat on-off switch cycles it will work, but to fail the next time the thermo calls for heat. A new sail switch only costs $7 or $8, but it can cause you and your rig to freeze up especially during a Colorado winter. If it is under warranty any furnace authorized dealer can fix it for you.
guskmg
guskmg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2017, 04:47 PM   #16
New Member
 
2012 22' FB Sport
Nordland , Washington
Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 4
We've been in our 2012 22 ft Bambi at 8600 ft in Colorado for 6 months with no propane furnace issues - the only times that our furnace does what yours is doing - kicking on - fan runs for a minute - kicks off - is when the lpg bottle is empty ... maybe?
James Ferens is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2017, 04:58 PM   #17
New Member
 
2012 22' FB Sport
Nordland , Washington
Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 4
We've been at 8600 ft in Colorado for 6 months full timing with no furnace issues in our 2012 22 ft Bambi - the only times that our does as you've discribed is when the propane bottle is empty..... maybe?
James Ferens is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-11-2017, 08:21 AM   #18
Rivet Master
 
Bigventure's Avatar
 
2016 30' Classic
Currently Looking...
Hinckley , Ohio
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 823
Images: 4
I guess I should have included a safety warning when I said to "adjust the regulator".
I am a HVAC Pipefitter for 35 years and responded quicky to the tread.

I assumed some mechanical aptitude on the part of the original poster.

I forgot that a lot of people don't know how to use a screw driver and are not capable in any way of working on this system.

To those people DO NOT ADJUST YOUR PROPANE REGULATOR!

By all means take it back to the dealer it under warranty.

Now to those who feel comfortable with a screw driver.

When I made the statement to raise the pressure, I wasn't referring to cranking the screw in fully. Just give it a 1/4 turn in. The main regulator has limits. It will not send pounds of pressure into the system. You can see the difference on a standing pilot. An example would be the oven. The pilot will increase in length a little bit. Also the stove top burners will be a little longer. Sometimes the pilots won't stay lit because the flame is not making contact with the termocoupling.

The furnace does not have a pilot. It has an igniter. The fridge has a pilot with a auto-lighter.

The absolute by the book way is to use a manometer. And have a certified tech do the job.
__________________
If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

I chose America
Bigventure is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-11-2017, 09:26 AM   #19
Rivet Master
 
2015 30' FB FC Bunk
Ayer , Massachusetts
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 1,074
Well I'm hesitant to mess with it, but if you google around it looks like many RV'ers are doing it. I think it can be done safely if you use some common sense.

Here is a cool video I just found on the topic:

https://youtu.be/RyTx8VIE_kQ

I think I'd like to learn more about this. If not for repairs, just to test for proper function and leaks. Maybe buy an actual manometer. I am convinced elevation affected our unit and the OP's, and the qualified folks here seem to support the idea. We had all sorts of issues with tires, prepackaged food, etc. going from sea level to 10,000'.

I figure before I really mess with regulator, I'll just throw it in the garbage and put a new one on.
Ted S. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-11-2017, 11:12 AM   #20
Rivet Master
 
2017 30' Classic
Anna Maria , Florida
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 1,467
Quote:
Originally Posted by Minipad View Post
I too live in the mountains and have found that it may be air in the lines and not a pressure issue. You shouldn't have to adjust the regulator. I can usually get the air out by running the stove for a bit. It may flicker some which is a good indication that you have some air in the lines. If your furnace isn't lighting, your fridge and hot water heater may be having some trouble as well. Another thing to try would be to disconnect / reconnect the tank(s) a couple of times. Run the stove in between. Once you get the air out, you should have no problems. I haven't had to purge my system in over three years with constant changes in elevation. Good Luck.

Ditto !
franklyfrank is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Furnace not igniting geraldsmith LP Gas, Piping, Tanks & Regulators 5 02-12-2017 10:45 AM
Suburban Furnace Question: Not igniting LY007 Furnaces, Heaters, Fireplaces & Air Conditioning 16 03-04-2016 04:57 PM
Furnace not igniting... Quince Furnaces, Heaters, Fireplaces & Air Conditioning 22 11-30-2013 08:33 PM
Suburban NT-30 not igniting adwriter73 Furnaces, Heaters, Fireplaces & Air Conditioning 4 02-26-2013 10:16 PM
Dometic not igniting and no propane adwriter73 Refrigerators 7 08-20-2011 03:21 PM


Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Airstream, Inc. or any of its affiliates. Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:15 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.