Understanding the Causes of Cracked Heat Exchangers and the Consequences of Late Detection

Are you a homeowner who can admit that you do not always get home maintenance services performed at the correct intervals? If so, you may know that you are taking risks that could cause property damage or cause expensive equipment and appliances to malfunction beyond repair. However, you may not have considered that some maintenance and repair services can save lives and promote general safety. The following points will help you to understand more about your gas furnace's heat exchanger.

What Does It Do?

The heat exchanger is an integral component of the furnace system that needs to be functional to provide safe heat to homes. In a safe furnace, the heat exchanger operates in collaboration with the gas burner of gas-operated furnaces. The heat from the burner flows into the heat exchanger and exits from the exchanger as warm air. 

What Causes It to Crack?

There are a number of issues that can cause a crack in heating exchangers. The common ones are pressure and corrosion. However, if your furnace is not properly sized, it can lead to a cracked heat exchanger. You likely know that at some point the parts of your furnace will start to fail as it nears the end of its lifecycle. Aging furnaces need to be inspected as recommended to reduce the chances of dangerous situations arising from cracks in the heat exchanger.

What Are the Possible Hazards?

You need to realize that natural gas will filter into the air in your home if you have a damaged heat exchanger. You may notice a peculiar, chemical type of smell that is a lot like a gas odor. Do not dismiss any type of gas odors because even if your furnace is not the cause, one of your other gas appliances could have a leak.

You might also put you and your family at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. You cannot smell carbon monoxide, but you will likely get extremely sick and sleepy if you have a carbon monoxide leak. The symptoms may mimic other illnesses because individuals experience fatigue, headaches, incoherence, vomiting, chest pains, and flu-like symptoms.

What Are Protective Measures to Take? 

One of the best methods of discovering a cracked heat exchanger is ensuring that you do not skip furnace tune-ups. It is also ideal to install a carbon monoxide detector near your furnace. This will alert you of leaks. Ensure that you take alerts seriously and do not attribute them to things such as replacing the batteries. A professional will need to determine if your furnace is safe. 

If the exchanger is cracked, it can be replaced, but doing so may not be sensible. If you have an older furnace, you might be better off upgrading your heating system for safety and other reasons such as energy savings.