Whenever you have trouble it is always best to check the simple solutions first. Not only does that save you a ton of embarrassment, but it can also save you a lot of money. Plus, the simple issues are the easiest to fix and you can usually do them yourself even when you have no experience.
Two of the simple issues you should check first in this situation is one, make sure your battery is at full power. The furnace needs a lot of power to ignite the gas. Then, two, make sure the propane tank is turned on and the gas is flowing.
To learn more tricks to do when your Atwood is not igniting, just continue to read our article. It gives you the information you need so that you can avoid hefty repair bills when they are not warranted.
While common issues are similar across the different models, the faulty part may not always be the same across the many different Atwood furnace models. You really should keep your owner’s manual handy or download one from Atwood or another website that has them digitally stored.
That way you can get expert help right away and solve the problem yourself. For example, the Atwood 8900 may not be heating but that does not mean the gas is not turned on. It could be that the temperature control has not been set properly
Or if the furnace is not heating up, it could be that the fans are working but the heater is turned off. Or there is a problem with the sensors. For other models, feeling no heat simply means that the vents have been covered by dirt and dust, etc., and no heat can get through to your room.
You have to deal specifically with the model of Atwood furnace your RV has. Solutions for other models or made in other years may jot work for your specific one.
Two of the simplest sources for this problem have already been mentioned. Either propane has not been turned on or your battery is not fully charged and you cannot generate enough power to ignite the furnace.
Another simple solution is that you have run out of propane. There is no fuel to get the furnace going and you will have to make the trek to the nearest propane selling outlet.
There are a couple of complicated sources with the first one being that the igniter is faulty. Sometimes just wiping it clean will remove the problem and it will work again. If that doesn’t do it, you may have to replace it.
A second complicated source would be corroded contacts at the thermostat. These too would need to be cleaned. The first step in cleaning them would be to replace the bad batteries with new ones. White vinegar will handle the cleaning portion of this operation.
Finally, you may have sticking gas valves. If they are, you may have to force them back into position by using a screwdriver or a hammer.
We have mentioned one source for this problem as well. This may be a case where your sensors have gone bad. They do not read the heat levels very well and keep turning your furnace off even though the room is well below the set temperature on your thermostat.
The first solution would be to clean your sensors and see if that solved your problem. If not then you would have to replace the sensors. Then the problem may be in the control board.
This location may have to be left up to a professional repairman to handle. Control boards can be a bit tricky to handle and can also be very fragile. Another option to check out is the burner.
Sometimes they get burned through when the propane pressure is not high enough. Replacement of the burner will be your only option here and again it might be best to let the professional repairman handle the work.
Or if you are handy, DIY is also a recommended way to go. You be the judge in how you want to handle this repair.
There are several sources for this issue. The first would be the fan switch. If it has gone bad, then the only recourse you have is to replace it. Or there is a defective time delay relay. It too would have to be replaced if it is the culprit.
In either case, you would need a professional repairman to make the right diagnosis and make the repair. we say this because it may not be either part. The source could also be a defective thermostat or the thermostat wires have shorted out.
You may not have the tools or the experience to tell which part has gone bad. Make sure the repairman you call is Atwood approved if the furnace is still under warranty. There is no sense in voiding your protection when you can avoid that possibility.
The repair of those last two items would be no wiring or a new thermostat. Hopefully, you can find these parts cheaply so you do not spend a lot of money repairing your furnace.
The first place to look when you run into this problem is the sail switch. If it goes bad, then your furnace should not heat up and the only air you will get will be cold. You can check this with a meter and if you are getting power, then it is not the sail switch.
However, if you do not get any power, then you would have to replace the defective sail switch with a new one. That is the only option you have in this repair situation. If the sail switch is fine, you should check the circuit board to see if it has gone bad or not.
If not then you have to keep looking for the source of the problem. if it has, then replacement is again your best option. When it isn’t the circuit board then it is possibly the igniter.
This could either be a bad connection to the igniter or a bad igniter. Clean the connection first and make sure it is tight to see if that is the problem. if it isn’t then you would have to clean or replace the igniter.
The red light blinking is usually an error code. When it blinks it is telling you exactly what may be wrong. For example, when it blinks three times it is telling you that there is an Ignition lockout fault.
Another error code would be indicating that you have low LP pressure. You could be running low on fuel or have a fuel delivery problem. This means that the tank regulator may have a problem that needs your immediate attention.
You should check the LP pressure and the tank regulator once a year. If there is a problem take the tank, etc., to the propane dealer to help you resolve it. or you may have a control board issue.
These control boards are made in China and are often of very low quality. If it has gone bad, replace it with a Dinosaur board. These boards are made in America and are of a higher quality than the original.
This should be the first place you look as the original boards are the common source for this problem.
There seem to be only 4 codes for the Atwood furnace. Of the upcoming 4 it is the last one that has 3 blinking lights which tell you that you have an ignition lockout fault problem. Here are the codes:
1. Internal Circuit Board Failure Steady on, no flashing.
2. Limit switch/Airflow problems 1 flash with a 3-second pause.
3. Flame Sense Fault 2 flashes with a 3-second pause.
4. Ignition Lockout Fault 3 flashes with a 3-second pause.
These codes are fairly straightforward but you do have to be careful as it is easy to get confused. The three-second pause should help you count the number of flashes but it is not always that easy.
The solution to this issue is one, check the water pressure. If it is low, you will have to raise it up a little bit. Low pressure happens when someone is opening up a lot of taps in your RV. Shut them off so you build up water pressure again.
Two, you have low gas pressure which means you may need to refill your propane tank. Finally, three, check your sensors. If the sensors are going bad, they may activate the error code and do the ignition lockout fault on you.
If these do not solve your problem call in a repairman to handle the diagnosis.
There seem to be two reset buttons for one model of the Atwood furnace. There is the one that everyone knows about and it is mentioned in the owner’s manual. Then there is the secret second one that no one knows about and is not told it exists.
Here are the instructions to find this second secret reset switch and they were taken from a Jayco forum:
“The 377RLBH does not have outside access to the furnace, which sits on a shelf above the water heater, behind the water control panel. There is a breaker switch on the top. That evidently is super double secret.
Start with the thermostat turned off. I had to remove all of the panels on that side. This is good because now I know where to install the ems when it gets ordered. All of the air ducts may not have had to be removed, but I did as they twist on and off. Follow the wires back and there is the switch. Click it on and off. Off is the side without the ridge, and has more of a click, like a breaker. Leave it off for at least 30 seconds. Turn the thermostat on and hopefully yours will turn on as ours did.”
You never know what RV builders are going to do. If you know a friendly mechanic that knows RVs, this might be an interesting conversation starter. Then pick his brain to find out any more secrets that your RV may hold.
Again, different models of Atwood furnaces may have different procedures to light them. The following is just one way to do it for one furnace model.
1: Make sure your battery is at full charge. if it isn’t then charge it up.
2: Turn the gas valve to the pilot position. This should be well labeled.
3: Light a match and hold it up to the pilot light area. Push the gas valve in and hold it until the pilot light has lit.
4: Wait a few seconds and let the gas burn before turning the valve to the ‘on’ position. That is all there is to it.
For your specific Atwood gas furnace, check with your owner’s manual to see specific instructions for the model you own. While made by the same company do not assume the instructions will be the same for every model.
There are many common easy-to-fix Atwood furnace problems. Once you learn how to recognize them, you will know what to do when they appear. Not every furnace problem needs a qualified repairman to fix and it is best to learn how to do most of them yourself.
That way you do not have to drive into town when you are boondocking in the middle of the wilderness.