A heat exchanger is a main component of your furnace. Its job is transferring the heat from the burners to warm the air that’s then blown through the ductwork into each room of your home. Heat exchangers are metal, and over time, cracks can form. A crack that’s large enough can pose a carbon monoxide threat, necessitating immediate action.
What causes a crack
Prolonged inadequate maintenance of your furnace can lead to metal fatigue and a crack in your heat exchanger. Failing to have your furnace tuned up every fall and neglecting the air filter are two leading causes. The furnace is forced to work harder than it should, which stresses the system.
Detecting and addressing the problem
Just as routine professional maintenance is the best way to prevent a crack in your heat exchanger, it’s the reliable way to find and diagnose a crack. Heat exchangers aren’t easily accessed — and shouldn’t be accessed by a homeowner. Having carbon-monoxide detectors in your home can also alert you to the danger.
Once you’ve been alerted to the problem, what’s next? Your HVAC professional will be required to take your furnace out of service — this is called red-tagging — because the CO is a threat to your safety. You’ll then have the choice of repairing the heat exchanger or replacing the furnace.
- Repairing the heat exchanger: This may be the preferred option if your furnace is less than 10 years old and still under warranty. It may also be the preferred option if the estimated repair cost is less than 25 percent of the replacement cost.
- Replacing the furnace: This is generally the way to go if your furnace is more than 10 years old, and it’s low-efficiency. Sometimes a crack is too serious to repair, so you have no choice but to replace the furnace.
Whichever option you choose, this is an expensive proposition and requires the expert advice of a professional you trust. At Blanton’s Heating & A/C, we can walk you through the entire process so that you make the best decision for your particular situation. We’ve provided HVAC services to homeowners in the Fayetteville area for more than 60 years, and we want to help you make sure your HVAC system is safe and sound.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Fayetteville, North Carolina and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).