During the winter season, one of the common concerns for many homeowners is the furnace’s heat exchangers. When a heat exchanger cracks it can release harmful gases into the home, leading to illnesses. As the heat exchanger can pose a threat to the home and the household, NY NJ AC Connection will share some of the common heat exchanger repairs and when to contact an HVAC technician.
How a Heat Exchanger Works
In every furnace there is a heat exchanger which is an important component during the heating process. When heat is created, the furnace will combust the fuel inside a sealed chamber if it is a gas furnace. An electric furnace uses a coil to create heat instead. In a gas fueled furnace the gases and emissions from the combustion process is toxic and should never be exposed to the inside of the home. The heat exchanger plays a major role in containing the harmful gases. The heat exchanger is a thin metal shield that sits between the combustion chamber and the blower. However, during the heating process, the heat exchanger will become very hot and the metal will expand. As the heat exchanger cools, it will contract. Over time, the constant expanding and contracting will take its toll on the metal and lead to a number of different problems.
Can a Cracked Heat Exchanger Be Repaired
Even though the heat exchanger is made of metal, over time the constant heating and cooling will have an impact. As heat exchangers heat up, the metal will expand outward. As it cools it will contract back to its normal shape. An effect of the rapid heating cooling of the metal can result in the metal cracking. Even a small crack in a heat exchanger can release carbon monoxide gases into the home. If that crack goes unnoticed, it can become worse and eventually release a ton of gas into the home. Carbon monoxide gas is odorless, tasteless, and invisible, which makes it hard to detect. Within a short period of time, exposure to carbon monoxide will result in illness, mostly starting with headaches, nausea, and vomiting. However, there are some signs of a cracked heat exchanger you can watch for.
How to Identify a Cracked Furnace Heat Exchanger
One symptom of a cracked heat exchanger is lack of heat inside the home. Gas isn’t the only leak coming from a cracked heat exchanger. The heat will also flow out of the crack, reducing the amount of warm air that reaches the inside of the home. You may even feel cold air coming from the air vents instead of warm air. If your furnace seems to be running but you do not feel any heat coming into the home, turn off the furnace. First you do not want to risk carbon monoxide poisoning and if there is a heating problem, running the furnace will make the problem worse. Contact an HVAC technician. They will thoroughly inspect the furnace and look for the reason behind the lack of heat, including the heat exchanger. If necessary the heat exchanger will be replaced.