Homeowners are often told how dangerous a cracked heat exchanger is, and that they can lead to death. While this is true, it is good to know that only 10% of all furnace repairs each year turn out to be a cracked exchanger. Cracked heat exchangers are not very common, however it is important to recognize signs of a crack heat exchanger so you, as a homeowner, can properly react to this potentially dangerous problem. NY NC AC Connection will share more about damaged heat exchangers and what to do if one occurs.
Is a Damaged Heat Exchanger Dangerous?
How are cracked heat exchangers actually dangerous? Many furnaces use natural gas, propane, or oil to fuel the furnace and these substances produce fumes. These fumes contain a combination of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, soot and water vapor. These fumes are usually contained and are safely ventilated outside. However, if the heat exchanger develops a crack, these fumes can now become trapped inside the home. The fumes if breathed in can lead to illness and even death if exposed to for a long period of time. Most symptoms begin with a simple headache, then nausea, vomiting, and pain in the chest. Later the person will become disoriented and confused. At some point the person can even lose consciousness and die. Death occurs because the carbon monoxide replaces the oxygen in the blood which damages the tissue. Carbon monoxide poisoning is a very serious situation and often illness is a sign there is a crack in the heat exchanger.
What Causes a Cracked Heat Exchanger?
Heat exchangers do not crack easily. A heat exchanger will crack due to overheating and stress for an extended period of time. The heat stress will cause the heat exchanger to crack, mostly near the weak areas such as the bend and welds. Overheating causes the heat exchanger to expand and contract. Eventually the metal gives and a crack will form. Overheating can be caused by simple issues such as a dirty air filter, the furnace is oversized, or improper air flow due to too small of air ducts or closed vents. Preventing stress and overheating is key in preventing a cracked heat exchanger. You can prevent stress by ensuring proper air flow, changing out the air filter, and having the furnace tuned in the fall.
Can You Fix or Weld a Cracked Heat Exchanger?
Common signs of a cracked heat exchanger are illness, odors, poor heating, and the pilot light flame will look yellow. You can also see soot or burn marks near the sight of the crack. When a crack is detected your first step is to turn off the furnace. Next, open up all of the windows in the home and vent out any fumes. Afterward, contact an HVAC service. Tell them you have a cracked heat exchanger and need immediate repairs. If anyone in the household is feeling ill take them to the emergency hospital. If you are feeling ill, call 911 and request an ambulance, do not drive yourself if you are feeling symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Emergency Furnace Repair & More in Manhattan, New York
The best way to repair a cracked heat exchanger is to remove it and put in a new one. This doesn’t require replacing other parts of the furnace. However, it’s an expensive repair. Often a repair that’s too expensive compared to having a new furnace put in. If you have a cracked heat exchanger or require heating repair services, contact NY NC AC Connection today.