Some pop up campers use propane furnaces as a power and heating source for water, convection ovens, and stove-top burners. Propane (commonly known as liquefied petroleum gas or LPG) is a colorless hydrocarbon that is odorless and nontoxic. However, it can explode or expel oxygen from an atmosphere and that makes it dangerous. To reduce the risks, ethyl mercaptan is added. In addition to that, you need to light it in a very strict sequence, which is outlined below in 7 steps.
NOTE: You will need a long-nosed lighter, such as the 16.25" InfiniteLite lighter.
Start by reading through the manufacturer’s operation instructions for your pop up camper. You will either find them in the user manual or on a sticker on the case of the furnace, the fascia, or inside the front panel. Make sure the instructions are specific to your model because there could be vital variations.
Make sure that the control devices are switched correctly. You can do that by moving the on/off switch to the “on” position. In case you are having trouble locating where the switch is simply look at the control panel and you will see a digital control that is more like a regular thermostat. If your pop up camper has a second switch with air conditioner/furnace, move it to the “furnace” position. Look for the slider control and move it to its hottest position.
About one minute after you switch the thermostat on, the furnace’s air-mover will start running. It will do so for a prescribed period in order to clear any propane that might have leaked into the combustion. Therefore, that process is very important because it ensures that the risk of an explosion is minimized completely. Once the pilot light starts burning, it will take about one more minute before the furnace ignites.
If the furnace fails to ignite, check the pilot light and confirm whether it is burning. Pop up campers have a thermocouple - a pilot light failsafe that prevents propane from flowing to the burners if the pilot light does not burn within the prescribed amount of time (usually about one minute).
Wait for the pilot light safety mechanism to reset. This is an automatic troubleshoot like process that typically takes two to five minutes. Within that time period, check to confirm that the thermocouple (it is a bi-metal probe) is correctly situated. When the pilot light is burning, the thermocouple should be just at the tip of the flame but not touching it. There should be a distance of about one inch. You might also want to confirm that the propane supply is on at the tank regulator.
Ignite the pilot using a long-nosed lighter (such as the 16.25" InfiniteLite lighter). Now, ignite the lighter while holding its flame to the pilot tip. Also, look for the pilot light override button (it is clearly labeled and should not be a problem locating) and hold it down as you light the pilot. Continue holding it down for a further thirty seconds.
Release the override button and the pilot light should continue to burn. The thermocouple will heat up. Now run through the ignition process once more and your furnace should fire up.