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Watch Out for Cracked Heat Exchangers in Your Gas Furnace!

We’ve spent the last few weeks on this blog looking at the operation of gas furnaces. There’s a good reason that we focus so much on this during this time of year:

  1. You probably have a gas furnace in your home. After all, they’re the most common type of heating system in the country.
  2. With cold weather coming, your furnace is about to start putting in serious work.
  3. Gas furnaces that don’t receive regular care can potentially become dangerous.

We’d like to emphasize that last point, because there are a number of gas furnace issues that could turn downright, well, unhealthy for your household if they aren’t caught and fixed. One of these is cracks along the heat exchanger. During heating maintenance, a technician will inspect the heat exchanger for cracks and see if it needs replacing.

Wait a minute, what is a heat exchanger?

It’s a clamshell-shaped metal component inside your furnace, and it does the job of transferring the heat from the combustion gas to the air that flows into your house. You don’t want the gas to contact the air, so the heat exchanger serves as the “go-between”: the combustion gas heats it from the inside, and the outside surface then heats up the air.

I see, so if cracks develop along it…

That’s right, the gas inside will escape into the air that is blown into the rooms of your house. The exhaust gas is carbon monoxide, which is toxic.

But how does a heat exchanger become cracked?

The likely cause is corrosion. Although your furnace doesn’t use water to run, there is water vapor in the combustion gas that will react with the exchanger over time and can lead to corrosion. This is more likely to occur if there is poor exhaust from the furnace.

And maintenance will catch this?

Yes! It’s one of the most important jobs maintenance technicians perform when inspecting a furnace. They always look carefully at the heat exchanger for signs of wear that may lead to cracking. If they think you have a heat exchanger in trouble, they’ll tell you about it and advise replacing the exchanger.

So the upshot of all this is… call Raleigh Heating & Air, Inc. today to arrange for heating maintenance. We serve Apex, NC, all Wake County, and the surrounding areas.

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