How To Light Furnace In Camper?

Camping in the fall and winter months can be cold without a properly functioning furnace. Learning how to safely light and maintain your camper’s furnace is important for staying warm while enjoying the outdoors during cooler seasons. This article will provide step-by-step instructions for lighting a furnace in your camper.

It’s a chilly autumn evening and you’ve just finished setting up camp for the night. You start the generator to power the camper but realize with dismay that the furnace won’t turn on. If you don’t get the furnace lit soon, you and your camping companions may find yourselves shivering in the cold. Let’s walk through how to safely light your camper’s furnace.

Lighting a furnace in a camper can seem daunting if you’ve never done it before. However, with the right instructions and a cautious approach, you’ll be keeping warm in no time. In this article, we’ll explain what types of furnaces are common in campers and RVs. We’ll then provide a detailed process for lighting your specific furnace, with safety as the top priority. Finally, we’ll give some tips for basic furnace maintenance to help it run reliably during your outdoor adventures. By the end, you’ll feel confident taking care of the furnace yourself.

Types Of Camper Furnaces

Types Of Camper Furnaces

There are two main types of furnaces commonly found in campers and RVs: propane furnaces and electric furnaces.

Propane furnaces run on liquid propane gas (LPG). LPG is stored in pressurized tanks, either mounted on the outside of the vehicle or sometimes within an interior compartment. These furnaces require an electric ignition to start the burners and include a thermostat to control the temperature.

Electric furnaces use electricity rather than propane. They plug into a standard 120-volt household outlet, either connecting to shore power when parked or running on a generator while mobile. Electric furnaces tend to be less powerful than propane but are simpler to operate with no gas lines or pilots to deal with.

Lighting A Propane Furnace

Lighting A Propane Furnace

To light a propane camper furnace, follow these steps:

  1. Ensure your propane tank is full and properly connected. Check that all lines and connections between the tank and furnace are secure and free of leaks.
  2. Flip the thermostat switch to “Heat” and set the temperature at least 5 degrees above the current interior temperature.
  3. Make sure any vents or registers in the living space are open to allow airflow. Close the outer furnace access panel.
  4. Turn on the propane valve located at the tank. This allows gas to flow to the furnace.
  5. Flip the furnace power switch, located either on the furnace unit or thermostat, to the “ON” position. This will initiate the electric ignition sequence.
  6. Wait for the furnace to ignite, which typically takes 30-90 seconds. You should be able to hear the click of the igniter sparking to light the pilot flame.
  7. Once ignited, the main burners will light up as well. The furnace fan will also start, blowing warm air through the vents.
  8. Check that the furnace is running by ensuring you hear the burners operating and feel air blowing from the vents within a few minutes. Monitor for any unusual sounds or smells.
  9. Adjust the thermostat as needed to maintain desired interior temperature. The furnace will cycle on and off automatically as it meets the set point.

That covers the basic process for lighting a propane furnace. Just take your time and follow each step carefully for safe operation. Let’s move on to electric furnaces next.

Lighting An Electric Furnace

Lighting An Electric Furnace

Lighting an electric furnace is generally much simpler since no gas is involved:

  1. Ensure the camper is connected to a power source, either shore power hookup or running on a generator.
  2. Set the thermostat to “Heat” and the desired temperature, 5 degrees above current.
  3. Open any vents so air can freely circulate. Close the furnace access panel.
  4. Flip the furnace power switch to “ON.”
  5. Within a few minutes you should feel air blowing out of the vents as the furnace comes on. No waiting or clicking noises like a propane model.
  6. Check that air is moving and adjust the thermostat as needed to control interior temperature.

That summarizes the basic process to get an electric furnace operating. Remember electric units are not as powerful as propane, so it may take longer to warm up a large camper space. But it’s much simpler to turn on.

Furnace Maintenance And Safety

Furnace Maintenance And Safety

Now that we’ve covered how to light both propane and electric furnaces, let’s talk maintenance and safety. Proper care will help your furnace run dependably for many camping seasons.

  • Vacuum or brush out the furnace area and vents every few uses to remove dust and debris from air intakes and outtakes.
  • Check that the furnace is secured firmly in place per the manufacturer’s instructions. This is important for safe operation on bumpy roads.
  • Have a certified technician inspect and service the furnace annually before each heating season. This ensures all components are in good condition.
  • If you ever smell gas while the furnace is operating, immediately turn it off at the thermostat. Open windows, do not smoke or operate any electrical switches, and leave the area. Contact a service professional to inspect for leaks.
  • Store at least one working carbon monoxide (CO) detector in the camper. CO is a poisonous gas that furnaces can sometimes produce. A detector provides an early warning.
  • Carefully read and follow all instructions in the owner’s manual. Proper fuels, ventilation, clearances and servicing are all important for safety.

With regular care and safe operation, your furnace should remain fully functional for staying cozy during fall and winter outdoor trips. Let me know if any part of the process for lighting or maintaining it is still unclear.


Why is my camper furnace not lighting?

Your furnace may not light if it’s not getting gas or power. Check if the gas is on and if it’s plugged in right. Is the switch turned to heat?

How does my camper furnace work?

The furnace uses gas or electric to get hot. It blows warm air through vents to heat the camper. A thermostat controls the temperature.

Can I manually ignite my furnace?

It’s best not to. Let the furnace try to light itself first. Is the gas on and the switch set right? Ask a grown up to help if it still doesn’t work.

Final Thoughts

How To Light Furnace In Camper? I hope this article helped explain how to light your camper furnace so you can stay warm while enjoying outdoors adventures. Remember to always be careful when working with the furnace. Make sure a grown-up helps you if it’s your first time.

Taking good care of the furnace like cleaning it and checking for problems will help it keep you cosy for many autumns and winters to come. And remember to read the owner’s book if you have any other questions. Most importantly, have fun staying safe and warm in your camper.

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