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We are saddened to announce the passing of Gary Bunzer on April 17, 2020. We hope the RV Doctor website will continue to provide helpful information for you. Thank you for your interest and support for the RV Doctor - Debbie, Heather and Gretchen

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

RV Furnace Maintenance - Beyond the Scope

Beyond the Scope

In a previously published article I made mention of certain tasks that are typically outside the realm of the archetypal coach owner; tasks that should only be performed by a trained, Certified or Master Certified RV service technician. Be that as it may, I feel it’s important that RV owners have, at least an awareness of these additional components that require annual attention.

Because the majority of forced air furnaces are DSI (direct spark ignition) units, I omitted any mention of pilot models; those that employ a separate pilot flame. There are still many pilot models still in active use. I address a couple of the pilot components in this supplement to the procedures published in the other article.

Additionally, since the forced air furnace employs a sealed combustion chamber, many of the following components are installed using a gasket of some type. Gaskets cannot be reused. A professional service tech will always install new gaskets after servicing the following components, when so equipped.

Additional Furnace Components Needing Annual Attention

Electrode Assembly
Carbon deposits should be brushed off and the electrodes brightened with steel wool or emery cloth. The ceramic insulators should be closely inspected, if so equipped. Cracks or chips will necessitate electrode replacement. In instances of extreme neglect, the carbon deposits can render the electrode assembly unusable. This assembly is beyond a simple cleaning; it must be replaced.

Here’s a new electrode assembly. Notice the difference?

Pilot Assembly
If the furnace is a pilot model, the pilot orifice and pilot burner should be cleaned before winter use. The orifice is soaked in a solution of acetone and then air-dried. Never insert anything into or through the orifice opening.

The thermocouple hot junction should be cleaned regularly by lightly brushing or brightening with fine steel wool.

Main Burner
Dust, lint or any other debris (in this case, critters), should be cleaned from the main burner and the main burner orifice at least once a camping season.

Blower Wheels
I already covered these in the previous article, but thought I should include this just as a reminder. Yes, another critter!

Propane Pressure
For optimum performance of all propane-fired appliances, the main pressure regulator must be set to 11 inches of water column (WC). In addition, the entire RV propane system should be checked for leaks prior to using any LP appliance.

Never attempt these adjustments unless you've received specific training from an authorized instructor! Call a Certified or Master Certified Technician!


In all instances, every effort is made to ensure the correctness of all content on the RV Doctor Website. It is imperative that if you choose to follow any instructions or procedures outlined on any page of this website, you must first satisfy yourself thoroughly that neither personal nor product safety will be compromised or jeopardized.

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If you are in doubt or do not feel comfortable about a procedure, do not continue. Simply call your local RV service facility and make an appointment with them. The advice, recommendations and procedures offered by the RV Doctor are solely those of Gary. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions, procedures and recommendations of our sponsors or advertisers.