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Northern Virginia's Choice


McDaniel Service, Inc Blog

How Bad Is a Broken Heat Exchanger?

There’s one component in your furnace that just doesn’t mess around–that’s the heat exchanger. It might sound like a simple component like the ignition or the flame sensor, but the heat exchanger is arguably one of the most important components of your heating unit. It basically separates a dangerous furnace from a safe one, and it’s used every single time your furnace turns on.

In order for your furnace to heat your home, it needs to exchange heat between two places. At first, your furnace burns gas and heats up the air around it, but that air is terribly contaminated. Carbon monoxide, smoke, gas, and soot are floating around inside your furnace, so the heat needs to be transferred into fresh air that you can breathe safely. That’s where the heat exchanger comes in.

So, let’s talk about how important a furnace repair in Alexandria, VA might be if it includes your heat exchanger.

How a Heat Exchanger Might Break

Heat exchangers are sensitive components. They can undergo a lot of stress and pressure over time, due to the redundant temperature changes. Think about it, it’s a metal component in a compartment of your furnace that goes from cool to hot in a matter of seconds, over and over again. This means that the part will expand and contract over time.

However, the part is built to endure this, so you really shouldn’t worry about the temperature changes. Heat exchangers are made out of durable metal, so they really shouldn’t start leaking with normal operation.

With a problem though, like a rumbling or booming furnace, there will be increased friction and shaking which can cause even more stress to harm the component.

The Problems With a Broken Heat Exchanger

Once you detect your furnace has some problems, you might want to be aware of some of the issues that you can encounter with a broken heat exchanger.

  • Gas or carbon monoxide. Are you starting to smell gas in your home? Or perhaps you’ve got nausea or trouble sleeping due to carbon monoxide inhalation? This can be a direct result of a cracked heat exchanger.
  • Poor heating. Your heat exchanger is necessary for the heating process. With it broken, you might encounter problems with your home’s heat.
  • The system shuts down. If the heat exchanger is broken, chances are high that other components are also broken which can lead to a heating system shutdown. This is bad news on a cold day.
  • Alarms going off. Nothing is more obnoxious than carbon monoxide alarms or smoke detectors constantly going off. In this case, it’s not due to a low battery, but it’s the fact that the heat exchanger is broken and carbon monoxide is in your home. This is a safety concern and is a signal that your heater is not okay.

Do you think your heat exchanger might be the problem? Or perhaps it’s another component that’s broken or cracked? The easiest way to find out is by calling a team of professionals to help evaluate the system’s status.

Service is our middle name! Contact McDaniel Service, Inc for help with your furnace system.

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