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RV Furnace Won’t Light

Are you gearing up for an exciting adventure in your RV, only to be met with frustration when your furnace refuses to light?

It’s a common problem faced by many RV owners, but fear not!

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the world of RV furnaces, explore the reasons why your RV furnace won’t light, and provide you with expert tips and solutions to get it up and running again.

So, let’s dive in and troubleshoot the issue together!

RV Furnace Won’t Light: Causes and Solutions

Lack of Propane

One of the most common reasons why an RV furnace fails to light is a lack of propane.

Without an adequate supply of propane, the furnace simply cannot ignite.

So, the first step in troubleshooting is to ensure that your propane tank is not empty.

To do this:

  1. Check the propane gauge: Most RVs have a propane gauge that indicates the level of propane in the tank. If the gauge shows empty or low, it’s time to refill the tank.
  2. Inspect the propane tank: Visually inspect the tank for any visible signs of damage or leakage. If you notice any issues, it’s crucial to have it inspected and repaired by a professional before attempting to use the furnace.

If your propane tank is full and in good condition, but the furnace still won’t light, move on to the next troubleshooting step.

Igniter or Electrode Issues

The igniter or electrode is responsible for creating a spark that ignites the propane and starts the furnace.

Over time, these components can become dirty or worn out, hindering their ability to generate a spark.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Clean the igniter or electrode: Use a soft brush or a piece of fine sandpaper to clean the igniter or electrode. Remove any debris or corrosion that may be preventing it from working properly.
  2. Check the position of the igniter or electrode: Ensure that the igniter or electrode is properly positioned in front of the burner. If it’s misaligned, it won’t generate a spark in the right place, resulting in a failed ignition.

If cleaning and realigning the igniter or electrode doesn’t solve the issue, it’s time to move on to the next step.

Faulty Thermostat

A malfunctioning thermostat can also be the culprit behind an RV furnace that won’t light.

The thermostat sends a signal to the furnace, instructing it to ignite and regulate the temperature.

If the thermostat is faulty, it may not be sending the proper signals.

Try the following:

  1. Check the thermostat settings: Ensure that the thermostat is set to the desired temperature and the fan is set to “Auto” or “On” mode.
  2. Test the thermostat: Use a multimeter to check if the thermostat is sending the correct voltage signals. If it’s not, consider replacing the thermostat with a new one.

If the thermostat appears to be functioning correctly, but the furnace still refuses to light, it’s time to investigate further.

Airflow Obstructions

Restricted airflow can prevent the furnace from igniting properly.

Here are a few potential airflow obstructions to look out for:

  1. Dirty air filters: Clogged or dirty air filters can impede the airflow, preventing the furnace from igniting. Regularly inspect and clean or replace the air filters according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  2. Blocked exhaust vent: Check the exhaust vent for any blockages, such as debris or bird nests. Clear away any obstructions to ensure proper airflow.

Once you’ve cleared any potential airflow obstructions, try lighting the furnace again.

Gas Valve Issues

A faulty gas valve can also be the reason behind a non-igniting RV furnace.

The gas valve controls the flow of propane to the burner.

If it’s not functioning correctly, the furnace won’t light.

Consider the following steps:

  1. Inspect the gas valve: Look for any visible signs of damage or corrosion on the gas valve. If you notice any issues, it’s advisable to seek professional assistance to repair or replace the valve.
  2. Check for gas leaks: Use a gas leak detector or a mixture of soapy water to check for any gas leaks around the gas valve. If you detect a leak, turn off the gas supply and seek professional help immediately.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why does my RV furnace make a clicking sound but won’t light?

If your RV furnace is making a clicking sound but won’t light, it could indicate an issue with the igniter or electrode. These components may be dirty, misaligned, or worn out, preventing them from generating a spark. Cleaning and realigning the igniter or electrode can often resolve this problem.

Can a low battery affect the furnace ignition?

Yes, a low battery can impact the furnace ignition. Insufficient power can prevent the igniter or electrode from generating a strong enough spark to ignite the propane. Make sure your RV’s battery is adequately charged or connected to a power source to ensure proper furnace operation.

What should I do if I smell gas when trying to light the furnace?

If you smell gas when attempting to light the furnace, it’s crucial to act quickly. Turn off the gas supply immediately and avoid any open flames or sparks. Ventilate the area by opening windows and doors. Contact a professional RV technician to inspect and address the gas leak as soon as possible.

How often should I clean or replace the furnace’s air filters?

The frequency of cleaning or replacing the furnace’s air filters depends on several factors, including usage and environmental conditions. As a general guideline, it’s recommended to inspect the filters at least once a month and clean or replace them if they appear dirty or clogged.

Can I troubleshoot and repair the RV furnace on my own?

While some basic troubleshooting steps can be performed by RV owners, it’s important to exercise caution and prioritize your safety. If you’re unsure about handling complex repairs or dealing with gas-related issues, it’s best to consult a qualified RV technician who has the necessary expertise and tools.

When should I consider replacing the entire furnace?

If you have exhausted all troubleshooting steps and the furnace still won’t light, it may be time to consider replacing the entire unit. Consult with a professional RV technician to assess the situation and determine the most cost-effective and efficient solution.


Experiencing an RV furnace that won’t light can put a damper on your outdoor adventures, but with the troubleshooting tips and solutions provided in this guide, you’ll be well-equipped to tackle the issue head-on.

Remember to check your propane supply, inspect and clean the igniter or electrode, ensure proper airflow, and address any gas valve issues.

If all else fails, don’t hesitate to seek professional assistance.

Now, go forth and enjoy the warmth and coziness of your RV furnace on your next memorable journey!