Heat exchangers are one of the most important components of a gas-fired or oil-fired furnace. When you flip on the switch to turn on your furnace, it will start to burn the fuel that heats up the heat exchanger. If your heat exchanger cracks, it can cause serious problems for your home, including carbon monoxide poisoning. Because the heat exchanger is inside your furnace and isn’t a moving part, it can be difficult to detect when it needs repair.
As your handy heating experts, we thought it would be helpful to share the most common signs of a cracked heat exchanger. Find out more below.
What Does A Heat Exchanger Do?
The heat exchanger in your furnace is a large piece of metal that gets warmed up by the burner flames. Your furnace’s fan pushes cool air over the heat exchanger, which heats the air up. The ductwork in your home then carries the heated air into each of your rooms.
But heat exchangers have a second, equally important task: they exhaust the combustion fumes that result from burning fuel. One of those gases is carbon monoxide—the tasteless, odourless and colourless deadly gas. If your heat exchanger develops a crack, it can allow those gases to escape into your home’s air supply.
How do Heat Exchangers Crack?
Heat exchangers can crack due to a number of common causes:
- 1. Rust – If your air conditioning system is located above your furnace, condensation from your AC can drip down onto the heat exchanger and cause it to rust. Higher than normal humidity while your furnace is left off may also contribute to rust and corrosion.
- 2. Overheating – This happens in homes whose furnace is too big for the square footage or when burners malfunction. Overheating is the most common cause of cracked heat exchangers.
- 3. Poor Airflow – Dirty air filters force your furnace to work overtime. This can cause excessive stress on the heat exchanger, leading to a premature crack.
2 Major Signs You Have A Cracked Heat Exchanger
There are a couple of ways that you can detect if your heat exchanger is cracked.
- 1. Wiggling or yellow flames – You should check your furnace’s burner on a regular basis. If you notice that the flames are wiggling or if they are yellow, it could mean that the heat exchanger is leaking. The flames should normally burn steady and blue.
- 2. Rattling – If your furnace is making a rattling noise, it can sometimes indicate that the heat exchanger is cracked.
If you have any suspicions about your heat exchanger, call the heating repair experts at Advantage Airtech in Ajax, ON. We have years of experience dealing with all kinds of furnace problems, including cracked heat exchangers. Unfortunately, in most cases, a cracked heat exchanger means that you need to replace your entire furnace. Give us a call today and we’ll send someone to your house to check it out.