A Cracked Heat Exchanger Compromises Indoor Safety

by Greg Leisgang on March 26, 2013

Posted in: Furnaces

cracked heat exchanger, Cincinnati, OhioThe heat exchanger is the heart of your heating system. It moves the warm air from the furnace inside while venting the exhaust outside. A cracked heat exchanger can be a serious problem. Carbon monoxide detectors are very important and should always be kept in working order. 

There are three steps professionals take to see if a heat exchanger is cracked. Do not do these yourself:

  • Does the flame change when the blower engages? If so, there's probably a leak. 
  • A pro will search the exchanger for rust, holes and cracks. This is the least effective of the three steps. The evaporator coil location may keep you from getting a good view of the entire unit.
  • The technician will place a special chemical in the heat exchanger. If it's detectable near a vent in the house, then the exchanger leaks.

When a technician finds you have a cracked heat exchanger, your furnace will receive a red tag and you'll be unable to use it again until you repair or replace the system. This red-tag action is law.

Avoid the problem in the first place and maintain the heat exchanger. Overheating, which is most often caused by a dirty air filter, promotes a cracked heat exchanger. Big furnaces with small duct systems result in poor airflow, another common cause of overheating. And a furnace too big for the house will not allow the exchanger to fully warm up and evaporate the condensation that naturally takes place when initially engaging it. Rust forms from the inside out, resulting in a cracked heat exchanger.

If any are true for you, it's well worth researching the cost to install a new furnace. Chances are, with rebates, tax breaks and savings from a furnace the correct size, you'll actually come out financially ahead. The bonus is a more comfortable house and a more efficient system.

Contact us at JonLe Heating & Cooling for more advice regarding a cracked heat exchanger. With over 50 years of experience, we proudly serve homeowners throughout Butler County and the Greater Cincinnati area.

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