Wednesday, November 26, 2014

And Then There is the Furnace!

The 2015 Winnebago View issues continue!  On Monday’s blog, I mentioned cycling the furnace on, so that I could use it Monday night instead of the noisy heat pump (I’ve never met a quiet RV heat pump).  When I cycled the furnace, I was also running lots of water in the RV, including flushing the toilet, to test and resolve the holding tank monitoring system issue of being backwards (previous blog).

With the water noise, I did not focus on the burst of noise that came out of the furnace—until Monday night; all night Monday night.

And here is THIS RV dysfunction story: 

Each time the furnace cycles on, I hear the normal “click” of the furnace activating, the normal blow of the blower, the second “click” to ignite the pilot, and then after about a 10 second delay, a LOUD shrill-like whistling, SCREECHING noise that lasts 10-30 seconds.  The furnace does come on, and it does blow hot air, but EACH TIME it cycles on, this LOUD noise erupts.  As you would guess, I got NO sleep Monday night.

Now here is the good news:  I’m in the RGV.  Three recent winters here taught me about the Winter-Texan neighborliness and the sharing of good and bad experiences.  And so in previous years I’d learned of a RVIA licensed repairman, who is recognized by multiple appliance warranties, and drives TO YOUR RIG, to perform repairs on an assortment of RV issues.

Thankfully, I still had access to his phone number; and THANKFULLY he and his wife still bring their RV to the RGV half the year (and spend the summer half of the year in Colorado); and THANKFULLY he is warranty-work licensed with Suburban, the manufacturer of this Winnebago furnace.

This handy repairman was at my View within 10 minutes of the phone call.  I cycled the furnace while he listened at the outside furnace bay and he immediately confirmed this unit should NOT be making that noise.

Now I like to watch people who are good at what they do, and take pride in what they do.  I’ve watched artists paint; quilters quilt; mechanics repair; teachers teach; and hardware builders and repairers work their magic with their tools.  This RVing entrepreneur with his own business takes pride in what he does, does his work well AND neatly, and shows an incredible integrity of NOT ripping off the customer.

Mr. Harris worked over an hour, taking out the furnace and listening to it by running it from his small portable LP tank and a battery.  The removal of the furnace showed that the entire housing was cracked; the screws that should have mounted the furnace to the subfloor were screwed into thin air; and the internal system of the furnace had shavings and debris in it.  A really, REALLY shabby job was done when Winnebago installed it.

And as I’m typing this morning, Mr. Harris called me.  He has already called Suburban, the furnace manufacturer, and they are sending him a new “burner” and a new housing.  It will probably take a couple of weeks to arrive, and I will GLADLY return to the RGV to have him install it and as he said, confirm that the problem is truly solved.

Mr. Harris did all this work yesterday as warranty work, with no charge to me.

I asked his permission to share a photo while he was working; I did not think to take a picture when he hooked up the furnace to his LP tank and battery—I was too interested in the work being performed.


This picture shows the cracked housing of the furnace:


And so I think my readers would agree with Mr. Harris’s expertise and with my ongoing RV brokenness:  if the dealership had performed a true PDI of the furnace, they would have heard this LOUD off-nominal noise!  But I am SO thankful that Mr. Harris is working the problem and that I don’t have to leave my condo-on-wheels at a dealership.

And if you are growing weary of my RVing product issues, here is some good news:  I rode my bicycle into Bentsen State Park yesterday!  I decided not to lug the 400mm lens on this first-in-a-long-time bicycle birding, but my binoculars, daypack and pocket camera were grand companions:


I have no birding photo to share, but I got long, amazing looks at a male Lazuli Bunting!  A new lifer for me!  I frequently see, and saw yesterday, Indigo Buntings.  One winter I sighted the rare Blue Bunting.  And yesterday the Lazuli!

The birding was fabulous, but no more writing this morning; this beautiful day is calling me back outdoors.
(One correction from last post on birds--I saw a Couch's Kingbird, not a Western.)
Hope you have a birdy, RV trouble-free day!


  1. Congratulations on getting the RVIA repairman on the job! That kind of thing is so reassuring, that the blood pressure can go back down?! Congrats about the Lazuli! By the way I had a cannon 400 telephoto lens, but gave it to my nephew in law since I didn't want to carry it anymore! He's young and strong! I got a Nikon P510 digital camera with a 42 x optical zoom lens, and now I can take wonderful photos without the weight problem!

    1. Yes felt myself relax when I knew the furnace problem was in the hands of someone with proven integrity and skill. Your camera solution may be in my future but I'm really fond of my Canon 7D and 400. But carrying it is telling on my aging process!


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