The heat exchanger consists of coils or tubes that repeatedly loop through the airflow in your gas furnace to heat your home’s air. Simply put, it’s the part of the furnace that actually heats your air. A cracked heat exchanger presents a serious danger to the safety of your home and family. Read on to learn more about this hazard.
The Danger That a Cracked Heat Exchanger Poses
The heat exchanger is metallic, so the stress it’s subjected to during heating and cooling can eventually make it crack. Your furnace can constantly overheat due to it being too big or your ductwork being too small and make the heat exchanger crack. Restricted airflow brought about by old, clogged filters can also cause cracks in your heat exchanger.
A heat exchanger crack can allow byproducts of the heating process, such as soot, carbon dioxide, and water vapor into your ductwork. Dangerous burned-off gases like carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide, and sulfur dioxide could also leak from the heat exchanger into your home and cause illness and even death.
What to Do If You Have a Cracked Heat Exchanger
You can know that your heat exchanger has cracked if you visually inspect it and see holes. Other signs that may indicate you have a malfunctioning heat exchanger include:
- An odd smell resembling rotten eggs in the furnace area or home
- A clicking noise coming from the furnace
- Soot inside your furnace or near your heat registers
- Water at the base of your heating system
- You or another family member is experiencing continual recurring headaches and flu-like symptoms
A cracked heat exchanger can’t be repaired. The only solution is to have it or the entire furnace replaced. A replacement will require disassembly of your furnace, so you’ll need to call in a professional. He or she will determine if indeed your heat exchanger has an issue using a combustion gas analyzer.
Remember, furnaces have a lifespan of around 15 to 20 years. Therefore, it makes more sense economically to replace your system if it’s more than 12 years old and has a malfunctioning heat exchanger. If you have a cracked heat exchanger or any other furnace problem in the San Antonio area, contact the heating and cooling professionals at Beyer Boys.