[What to Do] Why is My RV Furnace Clicking but Not Lighting?

During those chilly winter nights when you and your family are out on a trip and thinking of enjoying the warmth of your recreational vehicle, you might find that your RV furnace is clicking but not lighting. This is a common problem for many RV owners that we aim to solve in this article.

So, when your RV furnace is clicking but not lighting, it can be a wiring issue like a faulty sail switch, or maybe there’s something wrong with the fuel supply or ventilation. Below, we will explain the reasons for RV furnace clicking and not lighting and how to solve the problem.

Why is My RV Furnace Clicking but Not Lighting

How Do I Fix RV Furnace when It’s Clicking but Not Lighting?

When your RV furnace doesn’t light, your RV will turn it off automatically, as a safety measure. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to take it to the repair shop. You can troubleshoot the problem yourself and fix it without spending a lot of money on a professional. Most of the time anyway. So, here’s how to fix your RV furnace when it’s clicking but not lighting:

1. Check Your Propane Supply

Check Your Propane Supply

One of the most common reasons for your RV furnace not lighting is that your propane has run out. Check the tank and refill it if that’s the case with you. If the problem persists, you might need to check your propane regulator or the tank valve. If it is closed, open the valve and wait a few minutes. Then try to start your furnace again.

2. Propane Pressure Lock

The propane pressure lock is a safety feature that prevents the gas from flowing into the furnace too quickly. This can also happen after a tank refill or replacement. So, if you have done a recent refill, turn off the tank and reopen it slowly. This will allow the gas to flow into the furnace in a controlled manner.

3. Cold Weather

If the surrounding weather is too cold, it could be a reason why your furnace is not lighting. That’s because, when the ambient temperature is too cold, it can block the flow of gas to the furnace. However, you can fix it easily. Simply pour a little bit of hot water on the regulator. This will warm it up and allow for a smooth flow of gas. Beware though, you must never pour boiling water on the regulator. Also, wipe off the water with a clean cloth and be careful not to burn yourself.

4. The Stove Test

Another easy way to fix your furnace is to try a stove test. This is a simple and quick way to see if your furnace is working properly. Turn on your stove and see if it lights. If it does, that means that your furnace has a propane supply too. So, let the stove run for a while to clear any residual propane in the line. Once that’s done, you should be able to get your furnace to light.

5. Bad regulator

Bad regulator

If your RV furnace is not lighting up even after the stove test, it might be a faulty regulator that is preventing the flow of gas to the furnace. A straightforward solution to this is to replace the regulator. 

6. Fuse and battery

Although your RV furnace uses propane fuel, it also needs electricity to work. If your furnace is not working, check the battery and the fuse. If the fuse is not blown, check the battery and replace it if necessary. If the battery is fine, the problem is most likely in the fuse. If this is the case, you should replace the fuse.

7. Check Vents

Another possible cause of your furnace not working is that the air vents are blocked, which can happen occasionally when you leave your RV in a storage facility. Check the vents to see if they are blocked and clear them if necessary.

8. Sail Switch

Sail Switch

The RV sail switch is like a light switch for your furnace. When it’s turned on, it tells the propane valve to open so the furnace can start. If the sail switch doesn’t turn on, it can’t send the signal, so the furnace won’t light. The sail switch works by using the RV furnace blower fan to push a thin metal piece inside the switch to complete an electrical circuit. If the blower can’t do this, the switch stays off and the propane valve won’t open. A common problem is that the switch can get blocked by lint or pet fur. You can usually fix this by cleaning the sail switch, but sometimes you have to take the furnace out to do it.

9. Limit Switch

There’s another type of switch that’s inside your furnace, called the limit switch. it’s a safety device that prevents the furnace from overheating. So, if your furnace is overheating, it wil trip, effectively stopping the furnace from working. Even if it works, it will shut off after a while. This can be caused by blocked ducts or a dirty furnace.

10. Ignitor/Electrode

If the limit switch as well as the sail switch is working properly, but your RV furnace is still not working, you may have an issue with the ignitor or the electrode. An ignitor is a small heating element that’s inside the furnace that creates the spark that lights the gas burner. To check it, you will need to remove the furnace from the RV and check if the ignitor is corroded or has any broken arm. If there is, it might be time to replace it.

Final Thoughts

There can be a myriad of reasons why your RV furnace isn’t turning on but clicking. However, most of the time, it’s a fuel or switch issue. So check fuel supply and the regulators, as well as the switches properly. Keep your batteries fully charged and do a whole RV maintenance before you take it out from the storage for your next RV camping trip. Good luck! And thanks for reading.

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