Signs Your Heat Exchanger May Be Cracked On Your Gas Furnace

image of furnace flames

If you want to prevent problems from developing within your heating system, then you should practice proper care and maintenance at all times. Pay special attention to the heat exchanger. If you notice signs of trouble, then make a note of them as they can provide clues about the underlying reasons. Before anything else, you should take time to study the basics of heat exchangers, including what they do, why they matter, and how you can check for a cracked heat exchanger.

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What Is A Heat Exchanger?

The heat exchanger is responsible for moving heat between fluids to increase or decrease the temperature of a structure. With home heating systems, the heat exchanger transfers warmth to the air as it goes through the ventilation. This whole process is powered by combustible gas to create a rise in temperature so that it can influence the air around it. If you have a cracked heat exchanger, then your heating system will not be able to perform as well as it should.

Indicators Of A Cracked Heat Exchanger

Several signs come together when this component develops a crack, including the following:

The Furnace Flame Looks Different

One of the more obvious signs is a distinct change in the appearance of the flames of the furnace. Gas furnace flames will normally have a blue hue. This means that the system is working as it should. If you see that the flame is yellow, then something is amiss. The burner might be dirty, in which case you should clean it to resume normalcy. However, it could also be a case of a crack in the heat exchanger. You should also check if the flame is steady as a flickering flame is another sign of a problem.

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Over time, carbon may build-up inside the furnace and form soot. It occurs because the unit cannot burn entirely because of a problematic burner or a crack in the heat exchanger.


Furnace Corrosion And Cracks

Look around the outside of the heating system for any signs of damage. Rust, including exterior rust, is of particular concern as this might also be indicative of corrosion happening inside the system.

Odd Smells Coming From Heater

Cracks in a heat exchanger may not always be clearly visible, but the smell is unmistakable. You will notice an odd smell that is not much different from formaldehyde. Those who inhale the fumes might complain of headaches. Other health issues might also be triggered. This calls for the expertise of professional HVAC technicians. Call them right away for a thorough inspection.

image of a woman smelling furnace odors


Your Furnace Causes Health Issues

The carbon monoxide coming from a furnace may cause symptoms such as nausea, sleepiness, eye irritation, and disorientation. It can also manifest flu-like symptoms. You will only experience these symptoms while at home.

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The Reason For Cracks In Heat Exchangers

Overheating is the primary cause of cracks. If the airflow is not sufficient, then heat builds up to damaging levels. Neglecting maintenance works is usually the culprit in cases of overheating. The filters will get blocked with dust, dirt, and other impurities in the air over time. Owners must see to it that filters get cleaned or replaced periodically to maintain good airflow. The smooth passage of air is crucial in regulating system temperature. Air absorbs excess heat to prevent an unhealthy rise. High internal temperature increases the likelihood of cracking in the heat exchanger.

Another common culprit is wear and tear in the control valves. Over time, all components get worn down. That is one reason why you must be vigilant is spotting problems early. If you fix or replace these parts, then you won’t have to deal with a chain reaction of issues. Faulty control valves can push pressure up to a degree that is difficult to manage. The heat exchange will simply buckle under the pressure and crack.

image of a gas mask surrounded by carbon-monoxide


Why Cracked Heat Exchangers Are Worrisome

These cracks are more than just cosmetic issues. For homeowners, cracked heat exchanger symptoms affect the safety of the family and the property. Fossil fuels that power heating systems give off fumes after burning. This includes dangerous carbon monoxide which threatens the wellbeing of the entire household. The effects can be mild and gradual or fatal and immediate.

What You Can Do If You Are Dealing With A Damaged Heat Exchanger

If you have a crack in the heat exchanger, then call for professional assistance right away. This requires specialized knowledge and skills so DIY attempts should not be undertaken. There are two possible outcomes: component replacement or system replacement. Both are major changes that need careful thought. A technician can perform an inspection, testing, and replacement. Once they determine the underlying cause, they can make a suitable recommendation. They will also provide tips on system care and maintenance.

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Heat exchanger damage can cause a snowball effect for the rest of the heating system. We have also discussed how dangerous it can be to the occupants of the house. Prevention is better than cure. You can avoid cracks by adhering to a regular maintenance schedule. The component will continue to function well and provide the family with excellent service for years to come. Any concerns with the heater should be directed immediately to a local HVAC contractor. Do not hesitate to ask for more information about heater care.

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Call Wilcox Energy For All Your Home Heating Needs

Wilcox Energy is known for providing the best HVAC service in the region. With a team of NATE certified technicians, we can give every client superior and affordable HVAC repairs, tune-ups, replacements, and installations. Every single tech possesses the knowhow to deal with heating and cooling issues the right way.

If you need a heating or cooling replacement, then look no further. Wilcox Energy will be your reliable partner every step of the way. By working with us, you can enjoy competitive rates and friendly service, Give us a call and schedule a free estimate.

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For more information about our HVAC services, be sure to contact Wilcox Energy. You can click here to contact us, or you can call us at (860) 399-6218 to find out more. We offer a full line of heating and cooling repairs, maintenance services, and installations.