RV Propane Heater – 7 Things You Need To Know

RV Propane Heater – 7 Things You Need To Know



As a new RVer, there’s always something to learn about in your new home. The RV propane heater plays an important role, especially when you’re looking at the latest weather report that indicates heat will be needed. Here’s seven things you need to know about your propane heater:

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1. THINK SAFETY: You should always be thinking about being safe when handling propane heater problems, or propane heater maintenance. Propane is a clean and safe fuel, but still comes with a marginal risk of injury, if you do not take safety precautions while performing certain tasks. Do not compromise safety for a quick fix. A carbon dioxide detector should be installed, if you don’t already have one in the RV. Propane and carbon dioxide are a deadly combination if you don’t have a CO2 detector. Routinely check for leaks, especially if the RV has been sitting all winter long. Also, check for leaks if you suspect you have loose fittings.

2. RV furnace cycling: The RV furnace takes 15-30 seconds, from the time you turn on the thermostat, to come on. The blower will then run for 15-30 seconds before you will feel heat. Once the proper temperature has been met, the burner will shut off. The blower will continue to run for a short period afterwards. “Cycling” is a normal function of the RV propane heater.

3. A strong furnace odor: When you first turn on the furnace, a strong odor may be detectible coming from the propane furnace. This is normal, especially if it has been off for the season. It should go away after it has been running for a while. Dust and “who knows what” can be blamed for the smell. Be sure to check that the outside exhaust vent is clear. Also make sure the compartment doors aren’t open and blocking the vent, if the exhaust vent is low.

4. Air flow importance: RV Propane Heaters do not have air filters in them. Air flow must be kept at a maximum by keeping all air vents and floor ducts clear. This includes pet bowls that are placed on the floor near them. Be sure they aren’t blocking or covering up the floor vents.

5. The shut-off valve: RV Propane Heaters have a manual shut-off valve for the furnace. Get familiar with it. If you’re having trouble getting your propane furnace to come on, be sure to check that the shut-off is in the “on” position.

6. The “smell” of propane: Propane has an additive in it so that you will smell an odor, if there is a possible leak. Propane in its natural form has no smell. The additive, Ethyl Mercaptan, is what gives the propane the noticeable odor. If you suspect a leak, shut off the gas supply at the propane tank, and call for service




7. LP gas regulators: The propane tank has a small gas regulator that keeps the gas pressure regulated, as it’s going through the mechanics of the heater. Regulators can go bad due to age and wear. This is not something that can be repaired. If it goes bad, you will need to need to buy a replacement regulator. To check for a bad regulator, do the following: light all the stove burners and check the flame. What color do you see? You should see a blue flame with a slight yellow tip. If you’re not seeing a blue flame and there is very little or no yellow, this could indicate that your regulator is going bad. Don’t make any adjustments to the regulator. If you suspect it needs to be adjusted, take it to a certified RV service technician. Have the LP gas regulator tested and checked for leaks annually. Carry a spare with you. All RVs have some type of LP regulator protection cover. It would be wise to use it.

With these seven tips, you have the basics of about your RV’s propane heater. A little knowledge can go a long way to keep you from having a cold RV.

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