Even if you have an annual maintenance tune-up of your furnace, these heating systems don’t last forever. Eventually, a crack may develop in the heat exchanger, probably the most important component of a furnace. As a furnace ages, there’s a greater chance that a leak may develop. When the part develops a crack, potentially lethal carbon monoxide can be released. Learning to recognize the signs of a cracked heat exchanger can keep your family safe. There are four main symptoms that can indicate there is a problem with the heat exchanger.
Symptoms of a Cracked Heat Exchanger
- Irregular flame – A flame that is jumping or dancing can indicate a problem. There should be a steady blue flame. An orange-colored flame is another sign that a crack may be present.
- Black soot buildup – Improper combustion that may be caused by a cracked heat exchanger will result in a buildup of soot. Look for this on heating system components or near a crack.
- High carbon monoxide level – Combustion of natural gas, fuel oil or propane in a furnace produces carbon monoxide as a byproduct. In a well-maintained and properly vented system, the CO will be removed safely from your home. You should install a CO monitor on each level of your home, especially near bedrooms. If the detector goes off, turn off the furnace and leave the house immediately. Don’t return until your home and heating system have been checked by a professional.
- Noticeable rust – Rust on metal components is a condition that needs inspection by a professional technician. It can lead to cracks or leaks. A past high water condition near the furnace also may have caused the rust. There are certain repairs that can be done on the heat exchanger, but usually a replacement is necessary. If you have an older furnace that’s not under warranty, consider a system upgrade. You’ll enjoy reduced energy bills and a safer system.
If you suspect any problems with your heat exchanger, please contact Geisel Heating, Air Conditioning and Plumbing. We are here to serve the greater Cleveland area.
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