How to Detect a Cracked Heat Exchanger in Your Furnace

Between the burners in your furnace that create the heat and that air that needs to be warmed before being blown into your home, sit the heat exchangers: shaped metal designed to transfer the heat into the air while removing the toxic exhaust from the burning gas in the process. It’s an effective system that makes forced-air furnaces one of the staples for heating in Huntsville, TX. Heat exchangers don’t normally have moving parts, but the shifts in temperature that come with running the furnace can cause stress on the metal, and over time it could result in cracks or similar damage. A cracked heat exchanger is a big problem because it reduces efficiency in your furnace, and in some cases may leak dangerous exhaust gasses into your home. Here’s a few ways to detect a cracked heat exchanger in your furnace. If you notice these signs, shut off the furnace and call a repair service right away.

  • Physical Cracks. Looking at the heat exchanger and noticing cracks or corrosion on the surface is an easy way to spot the problem.
  • Soot. A cracked heat exchanger can result in an incomplete burning process with the gas. That can leave to a lot of soot in the system, which will cake components with grimy black film. Anytime there’s soot in the furnace, there’s cause for concern.
  • Odd Smells. Cracked heat exchangers will often produce an odd smell when the heater is running: like formaldehyde or similar lab-type smells.
  • Odd-Colored Flame. The flame from your burners should be blue. If it isn’t, and/or if the flame itself is flickering, then a faulty heat exchanger could be to blame.
  • The Furnace Won’t Start. Some furnaces come equipped with chemical detection equipment which will pick up traces of carbon monoxide and similar gasses vented by a faulty heat exchanger. When that happens, the system will simply shut off in order to keep your household safe.

Call the pros at Ardon Maintenance to replace a cracked heat exchanger.

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