Many homes across the country use natural gas to power their furnaces. Gas furnaces are among the most popular heating options due to their efficiency and delivery of a comfortable home temperature. They are also cost-efficient. Unfortunately, there are some risks involved with owning a gas-powered furnace if it is not properly maintained. One of those issues is a cracked heat exchanger. Here are some things you need to know about this element of a furnace.
Why Is a Cracked Heat Exchanger an Issue?
A cracked heat exchanger is a metal component of the furnace that collects the hot gas that heats the burners. The heat moves over the metal walls of the exchanger. The exchanger then gets hot and produces warm air. The warm air then moves through a blower system housed around the heat exchanger. The air is passed through the ventilation system before it safely goes inside your house. Any exhaust left from the gas inside the exchanger is sent outside through a flue.
This component is crucial in the safe operation of a gas furnace. If a heat exchanger is cracked or damaged in any way, it will lead to the exhaust getting into your home. This is carbon monoxide emissions that can be dangerous. Carbon monoxide will make you sick and is also deadly for everyone inside the house.
How Do You Fix a Heat Exchanger?
Your first step is to call your HVAC contractor for an evaluation of your heating system. They will look at the heat exchanger to determine if a repair is possible. The HVAC contractor's opinion will be based on a variety of factors.
First, the age of the furnace will be a concern. If you have an aging furnace, the recommendation may be a complete furnace replacement. The issue with heat exchangers is once they are compromised, they can easily break again. With an older furnace, it may be safer and more economical to replace it altogether rather than taking a risk with a repair.
If your furnace is newer, you have some options. Again, an HVAC contractor may not be willing to replace the heat exchanger only because it is such a critical part of the system. If the problem seems to be minor and no other components are damaged in the furnace, you may have the option for a replacement if the contractor believes it is safe. You will still need to have the system monitored for safety.
Another option for newer furnaces is to check your warranty. If your furnace is under a certain age and you have a major repair such as a cracked heat exchanger, your warranty may allow you to have a new furnace installation. Also, check your home warranty if you have one to see if you qualify for a new furnace.
For more information, contact a furnace repair service.