Win a copy of Straw Bale Building Details this week in the Straw Bale House forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • paul wheaton
  • Anne Miller
  • Mike Jay
  • Jocelyn Campbell
stewards:
  • Devaka Cooray
  • Burra Maluca
  • Joseph Lofthouse
garden masters:
  • Dave Burton
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Mike Barkley
  • Shawn Klassen-Koop
  • Pearl Sutton

Kind of random; but troubleshooting on an RV water heater?  RSS feed

 
Posts: 107
14
chicken goat purity
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Chris Lyons wrote:Did the new part fix it?

\\

Thanks for checking in  Yes, I replaced the gas valve and it's been working perfect since!  I guess that repair guy at Northwood doesn't know they can blow out on you
 
Posts: 29
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
That's great!  Sometimes the experts are not the experts.  Could you please share where you found the part?  I have a similar water heater and I see the gas valve listed at $179 which I think is too much.
 
Jen Fan
Posts: 107
14
chicken goat purity
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Chris Lyons wrote:That's great!  Sometimes the experts are not the experts.  Could you please share where you found the part?  I have a similar water heater and I see the gas valve listed at $179 which I think is too much.



I found the part searching on Amazon, using the heater model# and filtering through parts until I found it.  Once I found the part and figured out what it was properly called I took the name and part# over to ebay and found a good deal.  $45 I think I paid.  It was more expensive on Amazon.  You might find a better deal yet searching the bowels of the internet, but usually someone's got the best price on ebay somewhere!  
 
Jen Fan
Posts: 107
14
chicken goat purity
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I want to add that in retrospect I think the problem originated with a clog.  The gas pipe was definitely clogged shut when I cleaned it out.  I image the unit trying to regulate gas through a clogged pipe was taxed and it ended up burning the part out.  Just a guess, but it seems likely to me!
 
Chris Lyons
Posts: 29
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks, I ordered the gas valve and an anode.  Mine won't shut off completely.  Always a sooty flame dancing at the orifice.
 
Jen Fan
Posts: 107
14
chicken goat purity
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Chris Lyons wrote:Thanks, I ordered the gas valve and an anode.  Mine won't shut off completely.  Always a sooty flame dancing at the orifice.



Oh my!  Sounds like it could definitely be the same problem I had with the gas valve  malfunctioning.  Though, have you checked the thermostat?  If the thermostat isn't registering that the tank is up to temp is wouldn't be signaling to shut off the gas flow.  
 
Chris Lyons
Posts: 29
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
As far as I know the thermostat is working.  When it clicks on the burner roars.  When it clicks off a little bit of gas leaks through the gas valve.  It looks like a sooty candle flame.  I did some banging on the heater and the leak is much smaller now.  This tells me the gas valve is sticking inside.
 
Jen Fan
Posts: 107
14
chicken goat purity
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Chris Lyons wrote:As far as I know the thermostat is working.  When it clicks on the burner roars.  When it clicks off a little bit of gas leaks through the gas valve.  It looks like a sooty candle flame.  I did some banging on the heater and the leak is much smaller now.  This tells me the gas valve is sticking inside.



That makes sense- hopefully the new part works!  Keep us posted!
 
Chris Lyons
Posts: 29
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Fixed!  New gas valve installed and replaced the anode.  The bottom of the tank was covered in sludge from the aluminum anode.  I replaced it with a magnesium one.  I also cleaned out the burn chamber which had lots of rust and debris.  
 
Jen Fan
Posts: 107
14
chicken goat purity
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hm...  Well, now my furnace has stopped working!  Of course it happens 2 days after my space heater stopped working.  I haven't torn it apart yet, but when it attempts to ignite there's a "mini propane explosion" sound- you know, like if you let the stovetop prime too long before sparking and the flames pop and roar through the air for a brief moment.  But then the pilot goes out.  It does it over and over; ignite, WHOOOSSSHHHH, then die.  The fan will kick on and it will run like it's working but it will produce no heat, as there is no flame.  

It was having no troubles or unreliability leading up to this.  Any ideas are welcome!  I might not tear into it until spring but I will post here when I do.  It's warming up and my back-up space heater keeps the trailer plenty toasty.

edited to stress that there's no actual explosion and I'm not implying that I leave the stovetop on until flames fill the air xD  I worded that badly.  But you know what I mean, right?
 
Chris Lyons
Posts: 29
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
What is the make and model number of your furnace?  
 
Posts: 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Jen Fan wrote:





I have the same problem (propane in the mainline to other appliances but none at the pilot on the water heater)... can you mark the gas valve that you replaced on the pic?
 
Jen Fan
Posts: 107
14
chicken goat purity
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Li El wrote:

I have the same problem (propane in the mainline to other appliances but none at the pilot on the water heater)... can you mark the gas valve that you replaced on the pic?



If you look at the photo, the unit with the two red wires and two blue going into it is the part I replaced.

Well I never dug into my furnace.  Didn't live in the trailer this year so it's been off the radar.  Possibly a next-spring project!
 
Jen Fan
Posts: 107
14
chicken goat purity
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Chris Lyons wrote:What is the make and model number of your furnace?  



I was going to put the furnace thing off but it's back on my radar now, ironically, just as I decided I wasn't going to mess with it!

I'm not certain of the model number but it's a Suburban Propane heater, and the Northwood manufacturer I spoke with said it should be a 25,000 BTU furance.  They don't advise on furnaces.  I called Suburan Propane and they're not allowed to encourage home-repairs.

Any thoughts?
 
pollinator
Posts: 718
Location: Chicago/San Francisco
53
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
> "propane explosion..." [when trying to start]

Not lighting off properly. May not be getting enough gas from the control (a trickle vs. a flow) or the burner may be rusted and dirty and not flowing properly. Too little gas flow will not reach the pilot and instead will "leak" out and accumulate in the bottom of the combustion chamber until it rises to the level of the pilot. At that time there can be a _lot_ of propane sitting there and when it does light off...

Or. The pilot may not be positioned right or it may be too small. I think what you're experiencing is called "rollout" because flames roll out of the combustion chamber through the intake slots.

Or. Fuel contamination may be causing problems for your control. The below is just one link referencing (in this case) a propane engine with fuel problems - there are many more links to be found especially on RV sites.
https://www.eng-tips.com/viewthread.cfm?qid=377784

The situation is potentially dangerous.

Rufus
 
Jen Fan
Posts: 107
14
chicken goat purity
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Rufus Laggren wrote:> "propane explosion..." [when trying to start]

Not lighting off properly. May not be getting enough gas from the control (a trickle vs. a flow) or the burner may be rusted and dirty and not flowing properly. Too little gas flow will not reach the pilot and instead will "leak" out and accumulate in the bottom of the combustion chamber until it rises to the level of the pilot. At that time there can be a _lot_ of propane sitting there and when it does light off...

Or. The pilot may not be positioned right or it may be too small. I think what you're experiencing is called "rollout" because flames roll out of the combustion chamber through the intake slots.

Or. Fuel contamination may be causing problems for your control. The below is just one link referencing (in this case) a propane engine with fuel problems - there are many more links to be found especially on RV sites.
https://www.eng-tips.com/viewthread.cfm?qid=377784

The situation is potentially dangerous.

Rufus



I really appreciate the response, thank you

All other gas appliances are working perfectly.  It's probably not the propane nor air in the lines.  The furnace also ran beautifully for over a year.  It stopped working after it had been sitting in one spot for 4 months. So I don't think the pilot is misaligned or too small in light of this?

The mention of propane trickling in and building up sounds like it explains what I'm experiencing.  I tried busting into this thing and I don't see much access to it.  I guess my next/first step is figuring out how to open it up!  I'll have to start doing some digging on a model...
 
Rufus Laggren
pollinator
Posts: 718
Location: Chicago/San Francisco
53
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Check the easy/quick/cheap stuff first.

- light the pilot and observe it for healthiness
- got plenty propane in tank?
- other stuff (like stove) working?
- tap the control smartly w/the handle of a kitchen knife (that administers about the right level of violence...) and try again
- open/close the shutoff valve for the furnace a couple times
- twist the control knob on/off a couple times
- using a good light and maybe a mirror, look closely at the burner to make sure something didn't dirty it up, all the little holes are clear
- check the slider or twister on the primary air supply (on the larger tube that feeds the burner); the type of adjustment varies but there's usually one there; prolly s/b "medium"

All the above can be done w/out dismantling anything much. If  you can observe the problem w/out getting singed, lie down so you can see into the combustion chamber and turn the control to "on" while watching what happens. Does the pilot remain healthy when the gas first comes on (b4 the pop when it gets blown out)?

The issue sounds like gas delivery and the above can indicate where to start looking. If there's no other appliance (that's working ok) on that propane tank, try switching tanks.

Best luck

Rufus
 
Make yourself as serene as a flower, as a tree. And on wednesdays, as serene as this tiny ad:
permaculture bootcamp - learn permaculture through a little hard work
https://permies.com/wiki/bootcamp
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!