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Suburban is one of the leading makers of furnaces and appliances for RVs. One of the biggest luxuries of owning an RV is having a heater to enjoy on a cold evening or during a rain storm. An RV is your home away from home, so it is important to keep all of the appliances up and running. However, problems can occur, and there are a number of ways you can troubleshoot a Suburban RV furnace before taking it in for repair.
There are plenty of things that can and will go wrong with the furnace. It's important to check these things before tearing apart the furnace or taking it in to be serviced. Start by checking to see if the gas pressure is 11 inches in the water column. Make sure the power is between 10.5 and 13.5 volts DC to operate it. Next see if the directs are clear and open. Finally, check the return air path, be sure it meets the minimum square inch. Specific information is in your owner's manual and will vary from model to model.
One problem that may occur is the blower for the furnace doesn't run. This could happen because there is no power reaching it, or there could be a problem with the thermostat. Never cross the thermostat wires with the thermostat being connected. This will destroy the thermostat. Some causes of the problem may be dirty contacts, a bad power switch, bad wires or a bad delay on the thermostat.
Another problem may be that the blower runs but won't ignite. Check to see if you have proper voltage and enough gas pressure. Look to see if the fan motor is turning; the fan motor could be bad. At times, the intake vents may be dirty and blocked. If this is the case, clean the vents and the blower should start working. The problem could also be caused from a bad sail or limit switch that can be replaced. Look at the electrode to see if it is at the proper adjustment and the wires are connected and not burned out. Finally, check the gas valve. The valve could be bad, have a dirty burner or a bad control board.
The furnace operation works like this: Once the thermostat closes, it needs heat from the blower to reach the proper temperature. When this process occurs, at times the battery of the RV may run too low to operate the thermostat. The motor winds down or the thermostat is shut off. The easy fix is to run your engine for a few hours to recharge the battery or use a plug at a campsite.
You may run into the problem that your Suburban RV furnace's burner does not ignite or stay lit. This could be from the gas pressure being low. The exhaust and intake air vents could be closed or blocked. This fix is easy because you need to clean out the vents with a wire brush. The problem could also be as simple as a dirty burner. If something is wrong with the electrode or control board, the burner will not ignite. Again, check the voltage, and if it is not at the levels your owner's manual suggests, see a professional at your local RV dealer to fix it.
At times, you may find soot covering the furnace or a dirty burner. This problem stems from a number of things, such as low gas pressure or an obstructed air vent. The fan motor may need to be replaced. Finally, a poor gas supply could be effecting the furnace. This may be caused by a crimped gas line or undersized tanks in below-freezing temperatures.
Melissa Warner is a freelance writer and editor in Milwaukee, Wis. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications, including "The Irish American Post" and "The London Student." Warner received a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and mass communication from the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee.