Cracked Heat Exchanger

What is a Heat Exchanger?

Many homeowners have limited knowledge of the many components of a home comfort system.  Most of the time it is limited to changing a filter, lighting the pilot light, and changing batteries in a thermostat.  When it comes to bigger things like the heat exchanger on your furnace, it is best to leave that to the experts here at Airforce Heating & Air.

One thing you don’t want to mess with is your home comfort system’s gas furnace.  It’s a good idea to let the experts handle any issues that arise with a gas furnace.  One such issue that could arise is a cracked heat exchanger.  A heat exchanger allows heat to move from one type of matter to another without them interacting.  By simply crossing paths they can exchange heat. In the case of a gas furnace, natural gas, propane, or heating oil is burned, and that results in heating the air inside the heat exchanger.  The air from your home then flows past the exchanger and is warmed.  The air in your home and the exhaust of the burned fuel are kept separate.

What if the Heat Exchanger is Cracked?

The problem comes when the byproduct of burning fuel somehow gets mixed with the air in your home.  A damaged or cracked heat exchanger can release carbon monoxide into your home.  Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that is deadly at certain levels.  That is why it is a good idea to have a carbon monoxide detector in your home if you have any appliance that burns natural gas.

Identifying a Cracked Heat Exchanger
There are a couple of things that you can be on the lookout for that will help you identify when you might have an issue.

  • The flame in your furnace is a different color than usual or doesn’t seem to be steady.
  • Do you have corrosion on the heat exchanger?
  • If you have soot buildup from a furnace burning improperly.
  • Are there are obvious cracks in the exchanger?
  • Does your carbon monoxide detector keep going off?

If you have any of these issues, then it is time to call the experts at Airforce Heating & Air to look at your home comfort system.

How Did It Crack?

If for some reason your heat exchanger has a crack, you might wonder how it happened.

  • It could be the age of the system.  The life expectancy of a furnace is 15 to 18 years.
  • An overworked furnace may be the issue.  The furnace could be working too hard to heat a large home.  The ductwork could be too large for the air to flow properly which overworks the furnace.
  • Furnace maintenance should be a priority for any homeowner.  A properly maintained furnace will last longer and ensure your family is safe and warm.
  • The last possible cause is low airflow.  A dirty air filter will cause a lack of airflow within the system.  With a dirty filter, the heat cannot escape the furnace and it will cause the system to overheat.
What Should You Do?

Do not ignore a cracked heat exchanger.  The problem will not fix itself and you will be in danger.  It will only worsen over time as you continue to use it.  More and more carbon monoxide will leak into your home.  Since carbon monoxide can be deadly, it is best to have a professional diagnose and repair your home comfort system immediately.  Often it is more cost-effective to replace the entire furnace rather than just the heat exchanger.  This is due to the advancements in energy efficiency technologies over the last few years. Airforce Heating & Air technicians will be sure to give you the best option if it comes to replacing the furnace.

Make an Appointment Today- Airforce Heating & Air

The main thing to remember, as a homeowner, is that big problems like a damaged or cracked heat exchanger require the expertise of a professional heating and AC technician.  Here at Airforce Heating & Air our technicians are trained and qualified to service your home comfort system no matter what the issue may be.  Give us a call or visit us online to book your appointment today.