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Old 05-11-2016, 05:24 PM   #1
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Propane water heater problem

Has anyone had a similar problem? Recently while camping noticed a large black smudge all over RV above water heater cover. Smudge washed off no evidence of fire in compartment. Was first time using after being stored for 6 months. This would have occurred after firing up gas heater for first time. Thanks
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Old 05-11-2016, 06:01 PM   #2
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You probably had spider nests and other critters who built nests and deposited debris in the venturi tube of the burner. That is why it is a good idea to blow it all out with compressed air before heading out in the spring.
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Old 05-11-2016, 09:41 PM   #3
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It is usually a spider web inside tube. There is a screw in that tube to loosen to adjust the flame but mark where tubes slide together so after taking it apart you can "set it" right back to where it was.
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Old 05-12-2016, 09:40 AM   #4
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Thanks!
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Old 05-12-2016, 10:11 AM   #5
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The black is from a poor air/fuel mix ratio, resulting in incomplete combustion. There is an adjustment for the airt inlet on the tube to the burner - just loosen the screw and turn the sleeve to open or close it more. Soot is usually insufficient air, so open it a bit and give it a try.

However, as others have said, a spider web or mud dauber nest in the burner tube will have the same effect by disturbing or blocking the air flow, so clean it out before making any changes. Rust flakes can do it too.
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Old 05-12-2016, 10:17 AM   #6
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As others have said, black soot is from incomplete combustion. We had such on our '99 motorhome when we bought it as a used unit, but the water heater was so old it didn't have the adjustable burner tube. A new burner tube was around $20, and installing this solved the problem.
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Old 05-12-2016, 10:25 AM   #7
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