Most homeowners take their furnaces for granted. When it gets cold outside, they simply turn up the heat and enjoy being in their warm, comfortable homes without a second thought. They most likely don’t think too hard about how their heating systems work or what can go wrong with them. One of the most common heating-related issues that you might face in your home is a cracked heat exchanger. This can cause all kinds of problems that could prove disastrous for your home and your family, so it’s important to recognize these 10 signs that your heat exchanger may be cracked.
What Is a Heat Exchanger, and Why Would It Crack?
The heat exchanger is the component in your furnace that is responsible for heating the air in your HVAC system before it is dispersed throughout your home. Heat exchangers are housed in metal chambers that contain gases that combust and create heat. This metal chamber also prevents these gases from escaping into your home.
Your heat exchanger will work safely most of the time, but it can crack if it is overheated. This can happen if the furnace filter is too dirty to allow for adequate airflow or if the furnace itself is too big for a home’s ductwork. When the heat exchanger gets too hot, the metal casing surrounding it can weaken and crack, preventing your furnace from working properly and possibly releasing dangerous gases into your home.
Signs of a Cracked Heat Exchanger
Our HVAC technicians at Precision Heating & Air can repair a cracked heat exchanger in your home, but you need to recognize the signs that you have a problem in the first place. Here are some indicators to look for.
1. Your Furnace Stops Producing Hot Air
The best-case scenario when you have a cracked heat exchanger is that your furnace stops producing hot air. Everything else might seem to work, and you will notice air blowing through your vents, but it won’t be hot enough to properly heat your home. This is more of an annoyance than anything else, but you should still contact Precision Heating & Air to take a look at your heat exchanger if you notice this problem.
2. You See Cracks and Corrosion on the Outside of Your Furnace
A furnace with a cracked heat exchanger might show other signs of damage such as cracks and corrosion on its outer surface. If you see signs of corrosion on your furnace, there is likely something wrong inside of it, especially if you have an older furnace. Contact Precision Heating & Air right away before the problem can get any worse.
3. The Flame on Your Furnace Changes Color
A healthy furnace will always produce a blue flame. If the flame in your furnace is any other color such as yellow, it means oxygen has entered your combustion chamber, which happens when the heat exchanger is cracked.
4. Your Carbon Monoxide Detector Goes Off
Perhaps the biggest risk associated with a cracked heat exchanger is a carbon monoxide leak. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can be deadly in large doses. Since it is colorless and odorless, there’s no way to know that you have a carbon monoxide leak unless the CO detector in your home goes off. If this happens, evacuate your home, and call 911 as soon as you’re someplace safe. Contact Precision Heating & Air to fix your cracked heat exchanger.
Also, if you don’t have a carbon monoxide detector in your home, get one as soon as you can. They’re as essential to your home’s safety as smoke detectors, so make sure that you have at least one for every floor of your home. Test them regularly to make sure that they work.
5. You Hear Strange Noises Coming From Your Furnace
Furnaces are practically silent aside from the faint sound of blowing air, so any other noises such as rattling, popping, whistling, or banging are cause for alarm. If you hear any strange sounds coming from your furnace, contact Precision Heating & Air to have us troubleshoot the issue.
6. Your Family Suddenly Develops Health Issues
If you have a carbon monoxide leak in your home and your CO detector doesn’t go off, you might experience nausea, fatigue, and other flu-like symptoms. If you suspect that this is due to a carbon monoxide leak, don’t wait for your CO detector to go off; get someplace safe and call 911.
7. You Notice Soot Building Up Inside Your Furnace
If you look inside your furnace and you see a layer of soot covering the walls, you might have a faulty burner or a cracked heat exchanger. Either way, you’ll need to contact our technicians to find the problem and fix it before it gets any worse.
8. There Is an Unpleasant Odor
Cracked heat exchangers can release gases into your home. This gas sometimes has a smell not unlike rotten eggs thanks to additives added to natural gas. If you find that your house smells like rotten eggs when you turn on your furnace, you might have a gas leak somewhere. Shut off your furnace, leave your home if you must, and contact Precision Heating & Air to diagnose the problem.
9. Standing Water Around Your Furnace
Pools of water around your furnace might be tied to condensation problems, but they can also be a sign of a cracked heat exchanger. In any case, clean up the pools of water if you can and call Precision Heating & Air to get to the bottom of the issue.
10. Your Heat Exchanger is Clogged With Dust and Debris
Your heat exchanger can be clogged with dust and debris, especially if you haven’t replaced your HVAC filter recently. This isn’t always a sign of a cracked heat exchanger, but it is still a problem that should be addressed. Contact Precision Heating & Air to fix the problem, whether that means cleaning out your furnace or repairing a crack in your heat exchanger.
Contact Precision Heating & Air in Dallas, GA for Assistance
A cracked heat exchanger is a serious issue that could spell disaster for your home and your family. The best-case scenario will mean a furnace that can’t produce warm air, but the worst-case scenario could mean a deadly carbon monoxide leak. If you suspect that you have a cracked heat exchanger or any other problems with your furnace, Precision Heating & Air will be glad to help you. We serve homeowners in Dallas, GA and the surrounding areas, and we specialize in repairing and replacing gas furnaces. We can also repair and install heat pumps, water heaters, and air conditioners, and we offer financing to keep our services as affordable as possible. We are a family-owned business with a commitment to excellent customer service, and our technicians have over 30 years of experience working on heating and cooling systems of all kinds.
If you suspect that your heat exchanger is cracked, don’t hesitate to have the problem fixed. Contact Precision Heating & Air in Dallas, GA today for assistance.