Signs Your Heat Exchanger May Be Cracked On Your Gas Furnace


Experts always recommend good care and maintenance for your home heating system to avoid problems, particularly cracked heat exchanger issues. Should this happen to your heating system, you will observe a number of signs that will help point you to the problem. Learn what a heat exchanger is, why it is important, and how to determine if you have a cracked heat exchanger.

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What Is A Heat Exchanger?

The heat exchanger is a component of a heating system that transfers heat between fluids to either cool or heat up a home or building. In a home heater, the heat exchanger heats up the air that travels through the ventilation system. Combustible gas increases in temperature and collects in the heat exchanger, allowing it to increase the temperature of the air. Cracked heat exchanger issues will affect how your heating system performs.

Signs Your Furnace Has A Cracked Heat Exchanger

Look out for certain symptoms that point to a cracked heat exchanger, such as:

A Change In The Appearance Of The Flame

Normally, the flame of a normal gas furnace will appear blue. This means that your heating system is working well. However, if it turns yellow, it could be because the burner needs cleaning or worse, it could be a cracked heat exchanger. Normal heating systems produce a flame that burns steadily. If it flickers, there is likely a problem with the unit.

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Soot is the result of carbon buildup on the interior of the furnace. This happens when the unit fails to burn completely and cleanly due to a cracked heat exchanger or an improperly adjusted burner.

Corrosion And Cracks On The Components

Check the external components of your home heating system for signs of rust and cracks. If there is a physical issue in the external components, it could be that the internal components have damage as well.

Strange Odors

A cracked heat exchanger will cause the heating system to produce a strange, unpleasant odor that is similar to formaldehyde. It can affect health and can lead to severe headaches. If this happens, call a professional HVAC technician right away to have your heating system checked.

furnace odors

Health Issues

Furnace carbon monoxide can also cause frequent health symptoms, such as sleepiness, disorientation, nausea, irritations of the eyes and nose, and other issues similar to flu. These symptoms are often experienced only when you are at home.

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Why Do Heat Exchangers Crack?

One of the most common reasons why heat exchangers crack is overheating. This happens because of insufficient airflow – a problem that often occurs due to lack of maintenance. As the system continues to accumulate dirt, dust, and other pollutants, the filters become blocked, and the coils and blowers become clogged. This leads to a blockage in the airflow. Air is necessary to maintain the temperature inside the system and to absorb excess heat. When internal temperature increases, there is a high likelihood that the heat exchanger will crack.

Cracked heat exchanger issues also occur due to worn out control valves. When these components wear down, the pressure changes to a level that the heat exchanger cannot handle. This is why it is important that your heating system is inspected regularly to help identify potential problems.

carbon monoxide

The Problem With A Cracked Heat Exchanger

Cracked heat exchanger symptoms are not just an inconvenience to you as a homeowner. They could actually pose a very real threat to your home and personal safety. Many homeowners utilize propane, fuel oil, or natural gas to power their heating systems. These are all types of fossil fuels that produce fumes when burned. These fumes contain water vapor, soot, carbon dioxide, and carbon monoxide. Should the levels of harmful gases increase, members of your household could experience serious health problems.

Solutions For A Cracked Heat Exchanger

If your heat exchanger is cracked, never attempt to perform a DIY inspection and/or repair. If the problem is indeed a cracked heat exchanger, you will either have to have the component replaced or have the whole system replaced altogether. Either way, it requires some serious considerations. A professional heating technician will inspect and test your heating system to determine the root of the problem, then provide you with a recommendation. He will also guide you on what to do and how to care for your heating system.

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A cracked heat exchanger can lead to serious damage to the whole heating system. It can also be hazardous to the health of the household. The good news is that it is preventable. With good care and regular maintenance, the heat exchanger will remain functional and of good service to your home for many years. If you have any concerns about your heater, do not hesitate to call your local HVAC contractor to discuss solutions and preventative steps. The better you care for your heating system, the longer it will serve you.

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Call Point Bay For For All Of Your Home Heating Needs

Point Bay Fuel offers superior heating and cooling services in the area. We hire the best NATE certified technicians who can provide you with excellent HVAC tune-ups, repairs, installations, and replacements. Each of our techs has the knowledge and experience to service your HVAC system correctly.

Need a heating system repair or replacement? No worries. You are in good hands with Point Bay Fuel. We guarantee the most competitive furnace repair and replacement costs in the area. If you happen to need a replacement system, we can recommend the best one for your home while staying within your budget. As always, we prioritize energy efficiency, comfort, indoor air quality, and more. To schedule an appointment, give us a call today for a free, in-home estimate.

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