How Do I Know if I have a Cracked Heat Exchanger? – Heat exchangers are essential in the home. But they face some common issues caused by the dirty, clogged air filter. The problem restricts the airflow in the furnace, causing overheating in the exchanger resulting in cracks. In addition, you may also face this problem if your heat exchanger needs to be sized correctly for your home.
The oversize causes overheating and cracks the equipment. Another cause of the crack is wear and tear in the machine. A heat exchanger is coupled with metal through expansion (heating) and contraction (cooling). Over time, the process weakens the metal leading to cracks. Generally, the lifespan of a heat exchanger is between 15 to 20 years.
So, it is essential to schedule a regular inspection of the machine and change the air filters to increase the lifespan. Heat exchangers with cracks are dangerous in the home. Poisonous gasses like carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide, and sulfur can leak through these cracks into the room resulting in illnesses or, in some cases, death.
Signs of a Cracked Heat Exchanger
Figuring out whether the heat exchanger is faulty can be tricky by mere looks. However, some symptoms indicate a crack in the exchanger. Here are some signs.
- The Furnace Flame Looks Yellow
A furnace produces a blue flame. The blue flame shows that the heat exchanger works efficiently and has no cracks. But anything other than a blue flame is a problem. For example, some furnaces produce a yellow flame when the burner is dirty or cracked. But if flickers accompany the yellow flame, there are chances the equipment is damaged.
- The furnace Produces a lot of Soot
There is carbon in the heating system; the machine produces soot when it becomes too hot. The soot results from incomplete combustion since the heater cannot burn the gas completely. In addition, faulty burners or cracks on the exchanger can cause incomplete combustion.
- The System Produces a Strong Smell
You may perceive a strong and unpleasant smell from your heat exchanger. The smell could result from cracks in the heating system. Keep in mind that the fumes from the system smell like formaldehyde. It is best to call an HVAC professional to look at the situation in such a scenario. If you leave the problem unsolved, you’re exposing yourself to inhaling highly toxic fumes that are harmful and dangerous to health.
- Carbon Monoxide Detector Goes OFF
The heating system has a carbon monoxide (CO) detector. If you notice that your CO detector is off, it means the heating system is probably leaking and releasing CO. However, the detector alarm comes up when the release is high. The alarm goes on for a while before turning off, and you should pay attention to the alarm. However, if you have had your system for more than five years, it is time to change your CO detectors.
- Observe Water on the Floor close to the Furnace
If your heating system is leaking water in the basement, it means the system is faulty. The water may be leaking through the cracks in the furnace. Another issue that can lead to a leaking furnace is a clogged drainage system in the HVAC. However, working on the problem is the professionals’ duty.
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