Keeping warm should not be a hassle. While many RV owners do not experience trouble with their RV furnaces, there are a lot who do. When it happens it is never much fun. Trying to sleep when it is cold inside doesn’t work that well unless you have extra blankets handy.
One of the reasons your Airxcel furnace may not be working is that the fuel supply ran out at the wrong time. You may hear the lighting mechanism clicking but no flame. This is often the sign to change the propane tank.
To learn more about this issue, just continue to read our article. It contains the information you want to know about so you can do some fast repairs before it gets too cold. These are all standard furnace problems everyone encounters.
Do you have an hour? When it comes to any mechanical device, the list of possible problems can be quite long. The same goes for Airxcel furnaces. Here are just some of the common problems you may experience.
This section will list just the problems and the next section will supply the solutions.
1. The fan runs but no heat- this is often the case with many furnace models. To top it off, there are many sources that will create this situation. Those sources are a bad sail switch, low fuel supply, igniter issues, a problem with the gas valve, and a control board failure.
2. The furnace stops and starts- there are two main issues for this problem. One is that the high-level switch has malfunctioned. The other is that the flame sensor has gone bad. The high-level switch turns the furnace off when a certain temperature is reached in the combustion chamber.
3. The furnace does not shut off- the thermostat shows the room has reached the set temperature level but the furnace refuses to comply. The problem is that the thermostat may be bad. Furnaces will run for a few minutes after reaching that temperature level to help cool it down.
4. The furnace works on shore power only- this is a very simple problem to diagnose and fix. It means that the battery has either run out of power or it has been damaged in some way. Corrosion could easily stop the flow of electricity and stop the furnace at the same time.
5. Low air flow through the vents- this is usually caused by some obstruction in the vent. That obstruction could be just about anything. Also, the air filter may be too dirty to let the air flow through. Or, you have a loose or hole in the distribution hose
6. Loud noises coming from the furnace- when you start to hear these noises, it is usually telling you that the furnace needs a good cleaning. Sometimes the source is dust or dirt on the fan blades or there is an obstruction somewhere. Check the exhaust for dirt as well.
7. The furnace is clicking but not lighting- this sound tells you that there may be a problem with the igniter. It may also indicate that no fuel is getting through the system to the clicker. Not a hard problem to diagnose
8. The furnace not turning on when it should- this issue also has several sources. The thermostat may be bad and sending the wrong signals to the furnace or there may be a problem with the furnace fuse, the control board, or the motor is wearing out.
9. Getting cold air instead of hot- the first place to look would be the fan to see if it is dirty. If not the fan, then it could be that the sail switch is not opening up all the way and this prevents the furnace from getting fully heated. Or you are low on fuel or out of fuel.
The numbers here correspond with the numbers in the previous section.
1. Running fan but no heat- the solution varies depending on what source is causing the problem. The first place to check would be your fuel supply and make sure there is enough fuel left in the tank.
The other parts may need replacing depending on what is wrong. Sometimes a good cleaning solves the problem.
2. Stop and start furnace- use a multimeter to check the thermostat to see if it is malfunctioning or not. Then check for obstructions or dirt in the furnace exhaust before testing the high-level switch. Replacing either the switch or the flame sensor is your other option.
3. The furnace not turning off at the desired temperature level- use a multimeter to test the thermostat. If it has gone bad, then you need to change the device.
4. The furnace not working on battery power- either recharge the battery, clean off the corrosion, or replace the battery
5. Weak airflow- tighten the distribution hoses or seal their leaks. Then give the furnace and all of its vents a good cleaning. Don’t forget to replace the air filter if it is too dirty.
6. Loud noises- this is another problem that requires a good cleaning. This time clean the exhaust and the fan blades. Do the fan blades first and if the noise continues, clean the exhaust area.
7. Clicking but not lighting- this is a repair reserved for a trained technician so do not try to fix this problem yourself.
8. The furnace not turning on automatically- the first place to check would be the furnace fuse. If this is okay, then turn your attention to the thermostat and make sure it is not malfunctioning.
If that is okay, check the control board and the motor to see if they are failing or not. Replacement in all of these cases is your only repair option.
9. Cold but not hot air- the first place to check is your fuel supply. Make sure the tank has enough fuel in it and that the valve is working correctly. If these are fine, then move on to the sail switch and see if it is blocked by dirt, etc.
Clean the sail switch first and then replace it if it is bad.
We checked the Airxcel website and the company does not seem to sell parts directly to the public. But they do have a dealer/service center locator web page that should help you find a dealer, etc., near you.
Also, you should be able to find replacement parts anywhere Airxcel, Coleman-Mach, Maxxair, and Suburban furnaces are sold. Airxcel owns those companies among other ones.
A good place to look for replacement parts will be those outlets that sell and repair different furnace brands. There are far too many to list here but suffice it to say, buying parts will be the easiest aspect of furnace repair.
RV accessory and parts outlets would be the third place to check. These outlets carry all sorts of RV furnace parts and chances are they will have what you need.
Do not exclude those home improvement big box outlets or regular hardware stores. The parts they sell should be able to work in an Airxcel furnace and may cost the least
As a last-ditch effort, you can always check the many salvage yards or classified ads and pick up a furnace just to have the spare parts when you need them.
The sail switch has one component that seems to do most of the work. This micro switch inside that is very sensitive. Its job is to detect low battery power or fuel flow. When it does detect issues with those components as well as with the airflow, it keeps the furnace from firing.
It is not a very large part in the furnace but it does a very big job. Unfortunately, the sail switch is very fragile and can fail quite easily, especially when it is clogged with dirt or pet hair.
The Airxcel sail switch is no exception to this operation and source of failure. When it goes, you have to clean the area around the switch or replace it. The good news is that this part is very easy to find new and you really do not want to use a used one.
Used parts are okay as temporary replacements until you get home and can find a new one. They do save you money but they can also fail at any time and you may have wasted the money spent on purchasing the replacement.
This is one part that is best bought new so you can enjoy a little longer lifespan before having to replace it again.
Airxcel's website did not have a dedicated web page for manuals. Their dealer and RV owner's web pages did have links to a video library to help with troubleshooting.
Once you click on the link for the dealer/service link, you are sent to a locator but there is no further information about manuals. Your only solution is to contact the dealer near you.
Even our go-to manual site does not have Airxcel manuals. They do have manuals for Suburban furnaces and other Airxcel brands but nothing for this company’s name.
Chances are your RV has a Suburban furnace made by Airxcel and here is the link to a series of manuals for that brand. Or you can go to the Forest River website and search for manuals using your make, model, and brand of RV to get to the right manuals page.
Or just click on this link to go to a website with a Suburban manual that serves as an example and may not be compatible with your specific model. That is probably what you will have to do. You will have to check the brand name on the furnace and search for manuals using that name and not Airxcel’s.
The following is a wiring diagram for a Suburban SF series furnace. It seems to be the same for all SF models.
Or you can go to our article on the Airxcel thermostat and view the wiring diagram for that device. When you are having trouble with the thermostat, having this wiring diagram handy will help. Just click Airxcel thermostat troubleshooting to get to that diagram as well as other important thermostat information.
To get other wiring diagrams, you should go to the RV brands’ websites and start checking their manual web pages to find the right one for your RV furnace.
The last place to suggest would be to go to the Suburban website as they have a web page for technical documents. Click here to get that information.
- To keep your furnace running smoothly you should change or clean the air filter every 1 to 3 months. The frequency of this task depends on your furnace use.
- Repairing your furnace yourself is okay for simple problems like a thermostat or cleaning filters but for more difficult and complicated problems, defer to the authorized and experienced technician.
- With proper maintenance and care, your Airxcel furnace should last you between 10 to 15 years. Regular servicing can also help extend that lifespan but again this will depend on how often you use your furnace.
- Don’t forget to turn the power and gas supply off before trying to do any repairs yourself. Always seek professional help when the problem is beyond your skill set.
Airxcel owns about 14 brands. To find the technical information you need, it is best to look up the brand that is placed on your furnace or other electrical devices like fans, AC units, and so on.
Then your RV brand’s websites have many of the documents you may need to get the information you need. Those are two good sources to use when you are in need of troubleshooting help or wiring and other diagrams.
With proper care, your Airxcel furnace should last you a very long time.