A heat exchanger is one of the key components of a furnace that is responsible for heating the air. It is a set of coils or tubes repeatedly wound across the path of airflow inside the furnace that helps to heat the air.
What are the signs of a cracked heat exchanger?
One of the main signs of a cracked heat exchanger is a strong and unpleasant odor similar to formaldehyde. Apart from that, there will be plenty of black carbon buildup on the inner side of the furnace as the system is malfunctioning. You may also observe a change in the color of the flame, corrosion, and cracks on other components of the furnace.
Why is a cracked furnace heat exchanger dangerous?
It is dangerous to ignore a cracked or damaged heat exchanger of your furnace as it will expose homeowners to toxic gases like carbon monoxide. Inhaling carbon monoxide is a major health hazard and can be lethal. However, if you pay proper attention to the service schedule of your furnace and check the health of the heat exchanger periodically, then these appliances are safe to use.
What are the causes of heat exchanger cracks?
There are several reasons why a furnace heat exchanger might crack. Here are a few common causes for this.
Lack of proper maintenance
One of the most common reasons for a heat exchanger crack is when you use a furnace too long without proper maintenance. In such cases, the heat exchanger of the furnace might get over-heated and suffer an excess of stress from expansion and contraction, causing cracks near bends and welds.
Dirt and debris accumulation
If dirt happens to accumulate on your furnace, it leads to clogging of air filters and blowers, obstructing the airflow through it. This will cause the heat exchanger to overheat as the burners continue to emit heat and will eventually lead to a heat exchanger failure.
Worn out valves
When valves that control the heat exchanger get worn out, the amount of pressure they can handle varies, leading to the cracking of the heat exchanger.
Can you fix a cracked heat exchanger?
Cracked heat exchanger repair is a costly job. Any repair work which costs you more than half of buying a replacement is a bad investment. Therefore, it is always better to replace a cracked heat exchanger than to repair it.