What You Need To Know About A Cracked Heat Exchanger

image of blue and yellow furnace flames

According to HVAC experts, maintaining a furnace can help prevent problems that include a cracked heat exchanger. You can tell if your heat exchanger is starting to crack by observing a few common symptoms. The following information provides the basics of heat exchangers.

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Information About Heat Exchangers

A heat exchanger is the part of your home heating system that exchanges the heat used to make your home warmer in the cold months and cooler in the hot months. The heat exchanger in your furnace heats air traveling from one end to the other. A heat exchanger acts as a collection station for combustible gas and allows the gas to make the air reach a boiling hot temperature. If your heat exchanger has cracks, these cracks cause your furnace to perform inefficiently.

Symptoms Of A Cracked Heat Exchanger

Watch for the following specific signs pointing to cracks in your heat exchanger:

1. The Furnace Flame No Longer Looks Blue

A typical gas furnace flame has a blue hue. When the flame is blue, your furnace is performing properly. A yellow flame could mean that the burner is dirty or that it has a cracked heat exchanger. Additionally, a furnace should have a steady blue flame. Otherwise, if it is flickering, there is a good chance that something is malfunctioning inside the furnace.

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image of soot from heating system

2. The Furnace Contains Soot

Soot occurs when carbon accumulates inside your furnace. Soot can also result from a cracked heat exchanger or a burner requiring an adjustment.

3. The Furnace Has Cracks Or Is Corroded

Look for cracks or rust located on the exterior of your furnace. Cracks or rust may indicate interior damage as well.

4. The Furnace Emits A Foul Smell

You will notice a foul odor emanating from a cracked heat exchanger. The smell is reminiscent of formaldehyde. The odor can negatively impact your health and may cause you to have intense headaches. At this point, it is vital to contact an HVAC contractor who can inspect your home heating system.

image of man covering nose from bad furnace odor

A Damaged Heat Exchanger Can Cause Health Problems

Carbon monoxide, a fatal gas, emanating from your furnace may cause you to feel sleepy, disoriented, and nauseated; you may also have irritated eyes and an irritated nose, accompanied by flu-like symptoms. You may notice that you experience these symptoms at home, but that they no longer occur when you are away. Call an HVAC contractor immediately.

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Reasons That A Heat Exchanger Cracks

Overheating is a common reason for cracks in your a heat exchanger. Your furnace can overheat when there is not enough airflow — an issue occurring if you do not maintain your heater regularly. Improper furnace maintenance causes your furnace to get dirty and dusty. Consequently, dirt and dust cause a blocked filter, clogged coils, and clogged blowers. These clogged areas then create blocked airflow issues. A home heating system must have air to regulate the interior temperature so that the furnace does not get too hot. A heat exchanger may crack under these circumstances.

Old control valves can also cause a heat exchanger to crack. Older valves can result in a pressure problem. Consequently, maintaining and inspecting your furnace can help prevent costly furnace repairs.

image of a broken furnace

Cracked Heat Exchangers Are Dangerous

You need to understand that a cracked heat exchanger is more than an inconvenience. A cracked heat exchanger can cause harm to your family and house. Homeowners who heat their homes with propane gas, natural gas, or fuel oil are vulnerable to potential health problems. These fossil fuels create vapors that include carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. Harmful levels can endanger you, your children, and your pets.

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What Should You Do If Your Heat Exchanger Is Cracked?

If you think your heat exchanger has cracks, do not try to fix the problem. Contact an HVAC service technician and set up an appointment for an inspection. You may need to replace the heat exchanger or the entire home heating system. A cracked heat exchanger is a serious threat. When an HVAC technician arrives at your home, the contractor will perform tests to ascertain the cause, followed by offering you professional advice. Furthermore, a technician will tell you how to maintain your furnace in the future. He may suggest that you set up a regular maintenance schedule to ensure that your heating system is always up to par.


Final Words

When a heat exchanger has cracks, the entire furnace may break. A cracked heat exchanger also presents potential physical harm to your family. However, you can prevent this major problem. Your home heating system should function efficiently for many years if you take care of the furnace via regular maintenance visits from a professional. Always have the phone number of a local HVAC expert available in case you have concerns about your heat exchanger or heating system. Annual furnace maintenance is the key to owning a furnace that lasts a long time.

Contact Lawes Company for All Your Home Heating Requirements

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Lawes Company provides outstanding heating and cooling services. We only hire the most qualified NATE certified HVAC technicians who are capable of providing you with superior services. Our HVAC services include repairs, tune-ups, installations, replacements, and more. You can trust our technicians to have the experience and training to service your heating system correctly.

Do you need to repair or replace your furnace? By working with us, you will receive the best care with Lawes Company. We promise to provide you with competitive rates for repairing or replacing your furnace. If you need to upgrade your heating system, our technician can suggest an affordable, quality furnace for your home. Our basic philosophy focuses on energy efficiency, air quality, and comfort. Call us now to schedule a complimentary estimate.

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