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Robbins Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. Blog

Dangers of a Cracked Heat Exchanger in Your Gas Furnace


If you have a gas furnace, then it has a heat exchanger and it is vital that this component stays completely airtight and pressurized for the duration of its lifespan. The tiniest hole or a crack in a heat exchanger can mean having to replace the entire unit. Sure, heater damage in other types of systems is alarming, but when you consider that carbon monoxide and other toxic fumes can leak into your home from a gas furnace, you want to take heat exchanger cracks seriously.

The good news is, with proper care you can help prevent heat exchanger cracks. You can also learn how to identify heat exchanger cracks early and keep your family safe and healthy. If you suspect that you have a heat exchanger crack and need gas furnace repair in Aztec, NM, our team can help. In the meantime, you can keep reading to learn more about why heat exchanger cracks are so dangerous. 

Heat Exchanger Functionality

There are different types of heat exchangers. Some carry heat through your system using gas and others use water. But when you are talking about a gas furnace, there are additional dangers because of the carbon monoxide risk. If your heat exchanger uses water to transmit heat, that is less dangerous because a water leak doesn’t pose health or fire hazards. 

With a gas-powered furnace, gas carries heat and then transfers the heat into metal tubes to circulate and heat the surrounding air. The heated air is then blown into your home. Because of the gas fumes, it is crucial that your heat exchanger remains airtight. If there is a crack in your heat exchanger, you run the risk of carbon monoxide fumes also blowing into your home. 

Identifying Heat Exchanger Cracks

You may think that minor heat exchanger damage is not a big deal. After all, a tiny crack or hole cannot allow that much gas to escape, can it? Unfortunately, the answer is yes – it can. Any amount of toxic fumes poses a fire hazard and also major risks to your family’s health. 

One of the top signs of a heat exchanger crack is noticing an unusual smell coming from your gas furnace. While carbon monoxide itself does not have a smell, you will smell the gas burning inside of your heat exchanger because of the leak. Don’t ignore unusual smells coming from your gas furnace. It is always better to get the system checked out, than to allow the problem to worsen. 

You should also look for other signs of damage on your furnace. If one component is cracked or worn down, it stands to reason that other parts, like your heat exchanger, could also be damaged. 

Avoid Heat Exchanger Cracks

The good news is, you can take some steps to prevent some heat exchanger cracks. Keep in mind that the older your gas furnace is, the more likely cracks are. You can schedule annual maintenance so that our team can assess your system for repair needs regularly and identify problems early. You can also use your heater gently and not push it past its limits. Don’t turn the heat up higher than what is recommended for your area, or your system could overheat. 

Don’t waste your time with the run-around. Give us a call to schedule an appointment and let us do it right the first time!

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