Let’s be clear, there isn’t a heating system repair that you should ever ignore. However, a loose bolt isn’t usually going to carry the same level of severity as a cracked heat exchanger. No heating system repair should be ignored but some are worth a faster response.
Your heat exchanger plays a vital role in your gas furnace. This is the part of the system that makes heat creation both possible and safe. So it isn’t hard to see why a problem with your heat exchanger is a pretty big deal. If this is your first time hearing about this issue though, you may not know just how big a deal it is.
Let’s discuss why a cracked heat exchanger is a problem for your comfort and your safety and what you can do to address it.
What a Heat Exchanger Does
First things first, let’s look at what your heat exchanger does so you can understand why a crack is no small issue. This component holds all the combustion gases that your furnace creates. Because it is made of metal, the heat exchanger warms up and, thereby, heats the air that is blown over it. This is how your furnace makes hot air!
Why a Cracked Heat Exchanger Is a Big Issue
Did you pick up on the fact that your heat exchanger is full of combustion gases? This includes gases such as carbon monoxide.
When cracks form in your heat exchanger, it can allow these gases to escape. This reduces your comfort for starters but, more importantly, it can put your health and safety at major risk.
Detecting A Cracked Heat Exchanger
You can probably agree that a crack in your heat exchanger is something you’ll want to identify and address as quickly as possible. The question is how? Cracks are often invisible to the naked eye. That is why you need a professional to be the one to check things out. Make sure to reach out for a system check if you notice the following indicators:
- Hissing: A hiss might be caused by escaping gas.
- Colder air: Less combustion gas in the heat exchanger means reduced heating.
- High bills: Less warm air being made means your furnace runs longer and uses extra energy.
- Bad smells: The most obvious sign of a cracked heat exchanger is the smell of gas (sulfur or rotten egg smell) in the home.
Let’s say you have recently discovered that you have a cracked heat exchanger in your furnace. What do you do? Well, first and foremost, make sure you are safe in your home. If you notice a pungent gas smell or signs of carbon monoxide poisoning, make sure to evacuate the house, turn off the system, and call emergency services.
When you know you are safe, make an appointment with a professional technician to get your furnace fixed up again.