Proper and regular checks and maintenance on your home heating system mean that you prevent problems from happening. These issues can include a cracked heat exchanger. If this happens to your heating unit, several signs will pinpoint the issue. This article will discuss what a heat exchanger is, its importance, and how to determine if you have a cracked heat exchanger problem.
What Is A Heat Exchanger?
The heat exchanger is a vital part that works by transferring heat between two fluids to either heat or cool your home. The heat exchanger in your home heater warms the air traveling through the vents. The combustible gas helps in increasing the temperature, which is collected in the heat exchanger. As a result, the air heats up as well. With a cracked heat exchanger, your heating system’s operation will be negatively affected.
Symptoms Of A Cracked Heat Exchanger
Some of the signs that you have a cracked heat exchanger include:
- Yellowish Furnace Flame: A well-functioning gas furnace normally has a blue flame with a slight yellow tip. However, if it becomes predominantly yellow, then that means something is wrong with your system. The burner might be dirty, or it could be you have a cracked heat exchanger. The flame should burn steadily as well. When it flickers, there is likely something wrong with your furnace.
- Soot Buildup On Your Furnace: When carbon accumulates in the furnace interior, there will be soot. This is a result of the fuel not burning cleanly and completely because the system’s burner is not adjusted properly or it has a cracked heat exchanger.
- Furnace Parts Are Corroded Or Cracked: Look for any cracks or rust on the external parts of your heating system. Any issue on your system’s external components can be a reflection of its internal components. Therefore, the internal parts might be damaged as well.
- Strange Furnace Smells: An unpleasant, formaldehyde-like odor will be present if you have a cracked heat exchanger. It can have an adverse effect on your health and cause extreme headaches. Contact a professional so that your heating system is inspected right away.
- Health Issues: Cracked heat exchangers can leak toxic gases, such as carbon monoxide. It can cause health issues, like dizziness, nausea, eye and nose irritation, fainting, and even death. Have a professional check your system as soon as possible.
Why Do Furnace Heat Exchangers Crack?
The most common reason your heat exchanger cracks is overheating. It usually happens because there is not enough airflow. This issue is typically a result of a lack of regular maintenance. Your system has a furnace filter that collects the dust, dirt, and other contaminants so that they are not distributed throughout your house. When the filters are clogged, the blowers and coils also become blocked. It cuts the airflow, which is necessary for temperature maintenance inside your system. As the air inside your system heats up significantly, there is a higher chance that you will have a cracked heat exchanger.
Another reason behind this problem is worn-out control valves. When this happens, the heat exchanger cannot handle the pressure changes. Therefore, it is vital to have your furnace maintained regularly. This way, all problems are detected and resolved as soon as possible.
The Problem With A Cracked Heat Exchanger
Cracked or damaged heat exchangers do not just present symptoms that cause inconveniences. This issue could also put your family in harm’s way. Most homes have heating systems that are powered by natural gas, propane, or heating oil. These fossil fuels generate fumes when burned. These fumes have soot, carbon dioxide, and carbon monoxide, among others. These harmful gases can be toxic to both animals and humans. If these gases seep through the cracks in your heat exchanger, you and your family could end up suffering from severe health problems from exposure to these fumes.
What To Do When You Have A Cracked Heat Exchanger
Do not conduct DIY repairs on your cracked heat exchanger. Depending on how severe the problem is, you might need to have the part replaced, or the whole heating equipment needs to be replaced. Either solution needs to be deeply assessed. A professional HVAC technician can conduct the proper inspection, tests, and diagnosis. This way, the cause is determined accurately, and they can recommend you with the right solution. They can also help you by providing tips on how to best care for and maintain your heating system.
A cracked heat exchanger can lead to severe system damage. It can also put your family in a dangerous situation. Fortunately, heat exchanger issues are preventable. Ensure that your system receives proper maintenance at least once a year, and you can be sure that it will operate correctly for a long time. Any concerns with your heater should be discussed with your local HVAC technician right away. They can give the best solutions and preventative measures so that your heating system can provide you with warm air for many years.
Call PFO Heating & Air Conditioning For All Your Heating Needs
PFO Heating & Air Conditioning offers superior heating and cooling services in the area. Our company has the best professionally certified technicians who provide high-quality HVAC maintenance, installations, replacements, and repairs. All our friendly techs are highly skilled, knowledgeable, and experienced in conducting accurate and timely HVAC services at all times.
Do you need to have your HVAC system repaired or replaced? Don’t worry. You are in excellent hands with PFO Heating & Air Conditioning. We offer the most competitive heating repair and replacement rates in the area. We can recommend the most suitable HVAC replacement make and model for your home and budget as well. Your satisfaction is our priority. Schedule an appointment with PFO Heating & Air Conditioning today for a free, no-obligation, in-home estimate.