Furnaces are complex machines that are easy to maintain but costly to replace. Within your furnace, the heat exchanger is where the hot gases from the flue are transferred into your home in the form of warm air. The heat exchanger warms up when the furnace is on and cools down when it turns off. This heating and cooling cycle causes the metal to expand and contract which over time can cause metal fatigue. Over time, this can lead to heat exchanger cracks—an unfortunate result that, if not dealt with quickly and correctly, can have dangerous repercussions.

About heat exchanger cracks

The continual expansion and contraction cycles can cause tiny cracks to form in the heat exchanger. Sometimes these heat exchanger cracks are visible, while other times they’re microscopic. Whether you can see them or not, these cracks pose serious health risks as they can allow carbon monoxide and other gases to seep from the furnace into your home.

Crack prevention

Fortunately, there are some things you can do to protect your family and to ensure that your heat exchanger lasts well into the future. To begin, semi-annual maintenance is crucial, as a certified technician can visually inspect your heat exchanger as well as test it for CO leaks that you may not otherwise notice. The technician will also be able to remove debris, change the air filter and check the various parts of your furnace for rust and other defects to ensure they’re functioning properly and not causing undue stress on the heat exchanger.

Risks of neglect

If the technician discovers heat exchanger cracks, then your furnace will be red-tagged. This means that it’s unsafe to use and your utility company can force you to stop using the furnace and replace it immediately. This can be a very costly and unpleasant experience that can be avoided through simple maintenance year after year. In a worst case scenario, failure to detect cracks can lead to CO poisoning and even death.

Stack Heating & Cooling has proudly served customers throughout the greater Cleveland area since 1976. Contact us today to learn more about heat exchanger cracks and how you can keep your furnace functioning safely and properly.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Cleveland, Ohio about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about a cracked heat exchanger and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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