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What to Do in the Event of a Cracked Furnace Heat Exchanger

heater-maintenance-serviceWinter is officially here, and our heating systems will be put to use daily: increasing the stress and strain on them considerably. A problem of any kind should be grounds for turning the system off and calling in a repair service, but few furnace problems are graver than a cracked furnace heat exchanger. If you suspect you have one, summon a professional technician immediately.

What Is a Heat Exchanger?

Most furnaces are fed by burners fueled by natural gas, which heat the nearby air, and can then be blown through the ductwork into your home. But the burners themselves don’t do a very effective job of transferring the heat directly to the air, and a lot of energy gets wasted. Instead, the burners warm up a heat exchanger: a shaped piece of metal that transfers the heat to the air more effectively as well as channels dangerous gaseous byproducts (such as carbon monoxide) out of your house.

Heat exchangers are built to last, but they’re subjected to a great deal of strain—particularly in the winter when the exchanger’s rising and falling temperatures will put the metal under a great deal of stress. Over time, the exchanger may crack, and homes with older furnaces should be particularly on guard against such an occurrence. The heat exchanger may also crack when it is dealt accidental damage, which is why you should never attempt to diagnose or repair a furnace unless you’re a trained, licensed professional.

When that happens, the system needs to be turned off and replaced immediately. A cracked heat exchanger will release toxic gases into your home if it is left to run. While most modern furnaces have safety features that will simply prevent the furnace from being turned on, that still leaves your furnace unable to work until the situation is corrected. In most cases, that means replacing the furnace outright.

Even if that were not a factor, a cracked heat exchanger will reduce the efficiency of your system by a great deal. You’ll find yourself wasting a huge amount of energy while exponentially increasing strain on the rest of the system. The sooner you can spot the problem and address it, the better off you’ll be.

Get an Early Jump on the Issue

A cracked heat exchanger needs to be addressed early. The more you run a furnace with a cracked heat exchanger, the more the heat will widen the cracks and make the problem worse. Again, in many cases, your furnace will have safety features that shut the system down when they detect a threat to the health of your family. Another excellent way to keep on top of the issue is to schedule annual furnace maintenance, designed to let the technician check your furnace for a host of problems. If they spot cracks in the exchanger and your warranty has expired, you can then discuss your replacement options

For heater replacement services in the Irving, TX area, call on the friendly pros at Earthwise Home Services today!

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