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Old 12-02-2015, 02:52 PM   #1
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Default Faulty Furnace Fix

Hi all,

Thought I would pass along the solution to my inoperative furnace. I must first give props to campthewestcoast (Les) for suggesting the fix. Thanks, Les!

Secondly, a little background . . . I noticed in May of this year while camping at Great Basin National Park that the furnace would only sporadically work. I kept monitoring it but it seemed to be getting worse. I initially thought it might be the thermostat so I purchased a digital Honeywell thermostat ($3 at a thrift store) to replace the original mechanical unit. That did not fix the problem.

By the time of our California Hi-Lo Club campout in October, the furnace had completely bit the dust. I mentioned this to Les at the campout and he suggested I try replacing the propane regulator. As far as I know, the regulator was original, so was 8 years old. I finally got around to replacing it today and, lo and behold, it fixed the problem! An added bonus is that the cheap thermostat I purchased seems to work too even though it is a dual control unit (Heat and Cool). I just use it in the heat mode only.

Thirdly, a safety warning . . . be sure to do a soap bubble test on any new propane connections! After installing the new pressure regulator, and in my hurry to see if the furnace would work, I simply did a sniff test to check for leaks. Not smelling any propane, I proceeded to the furnace test. After I was satisfied that the furnace and thermostat were working, I decided to do a soap bubble test on the new mechanical connections. My connections were good but the brass connectors that were installed into the regulator body by the manufacturer were leaking. I had noticed a red substance at those connections which I had ASSUMED was a sealant. It apparently was not, so I applied some high-density tape sealant used for gas connections. So, two lessons learned: never trust your sniffer, and never assume the manufacturer sealed the connections properly!

Once again, thanks Les for your suggestion!
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Old 12-02-2015, 05:01 PM   #2
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A great suggestion by Les, and, an important safety warning from you!

I have to confess, I tend to skip the soap bubble test when I connect gas fixtures. I'll have to remember your story and be more safety conscious from now on.

- Jack
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Old 12-02-2015, 11:01 PM   #3
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About forty years I helped a friend install gas lines in an old factory space he was converting to a wood shop. The Gods were smiling on us that day. Not knowing any better we checked the joints with a Bic lighter----I kid you not. If we got a little flame we tightened the joints. Don't do that. To this day when we see each other we toast to the fact we are both still alive. Use the bubbles.
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Old 12-06-2015, 12:22 PM   #4
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As a certified gas installer, propane and NG, i must impress the use of such a simple test.

Gas and 220v are 2 items that can kill you easily.
Testing a gas line with an open flame is foolish.

I also had a gas fixture that I purchased this year,that was not properly installed by the manufacturer. I test before any use of new gas items.

Be safe. It only takes a few seconds to make sure it is right, and easily fixed if not!

My Hi-lo's gas regulator is 30+ years old and i have adjusted it in the last few years to ensure that it is putting out the amount of gas needed to have the fixture properly working.
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Old 12-31-2015, 10:09 AM   #5
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I tried my furnace yesterday - followed the instructions...made sure thermostat was at lowest setting, ensured the furnace power switch was set to off...opened my gas cylinders, turned power on (connected via extension cord to wall outlet inside my garage), set thermostat to desired temp and waited...and waited....nothing. I verified that gas was getting to the range after making sure there was no gas smell inside the camper. One thing I did notice - when I cracked open the valve on the 2nd bottle, I did smell gas briefly...then it went away...IDEAS???
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Old 12-31-2015, 11:14 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scottq60 View Post
I tried my furnace yesterday - followed the instructions...made sure thermostat was at lowest setting, ensured the furnace power switch was set to off...opened my gas cylinders, turned power on (connected via extension cord to wall outlet inside my garage), set thermostat to desired temp and waited...and waited....nothing. I verified that gas was getting to the range after making sure there was no gas smell inside the camper. One thing I did notice - when I cracked open the valve on the 2nd bottle, I did smell gas briefly...then it went away...IDEAS???
Hi Scott, and welcome to the forum!

I think the furnace power switch needs to be in the "on" position, if I'm understanding you correctly.
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Old 12-31-2015, 12:57 PM   #7
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Making sure it's "off" before turning it on is part of the process. The problem was "operator error" - I discovered that the thermostat has an on/off switch. Once I turned it "on"... Problem solved - fired right up and works GREAT! Thanks, Greg!
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Old 12-31-2015, 01:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scottq60 View Post
Making sure it's "off" before turning it on is part of the process. The problem was "operator error" - I discovered that the thermostat has an on/off switch. Once I turned it "on"... Problem solved - fired right up and works GREAT! Thanks, Greg!
Yes, that is the switch I thought you were referring to. Glad you got it fixed!
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Old 12-31-2015, 07:21 PM   #9
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Default Furnice fix.

Glad you got your furnice operational. When you get a little time you may want to use a shop vac to do an outside compartment cleaning. We just went ahead after a few years of ownership(second owner) and changed out the regulator and hoses. Many owners have been frustrated by how hard the original thermostat is to click on. Some have bought a more modern one at Walmart. Some back posts on this.
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Old 12-31-2015, 07:37 PM   #10
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Definitely needs that compartment housekeeping! When it warms up again...today was 37 deg. Considering a new regulator/hoses and thermostat as well. Glad this board is here...it's always great to be able to benefit from others' experience and hopefully contribute at some point
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