The heat exchanger is the only barrier separating the toxic gases from your air supply, so if it cracks, that could pose a major risk to your family’s health if the problem does not get addressed in time.
The tough part about these situations is you don’t see or smell carbon monoxide and you may not see a visible crack in your furnace, let alone remembering the last time you even had someone look at your furnace. However, as the metal of the heat exchanger is continuously heated then cooled when shut off, the expansion and contraction can open the crack even more.
What Causes a Heat Exchanger to Crack?
There are a lot of reasons, and the heat exchanger is meant to fail eventually, typically after about 15 to 18 years of use. That’s the case with any major appliance in your home. Age and constant use will wear it. The issue is premature failure, which often results from misapplication or poor furnace maintenance.
Misapplication of Your Furnace
Sometimes, the furnace in a home is too big for the size of the home. This can lead to short cycling or cycling on limit, causing the heat exchanger to heat up and cool down too often. The heat exchanger will be overworked and show that stress with a crack.
Poor Furnace Maintenance
More often than not, though, poor maintenance is the culprit of premature heat exchanger failure. When was the last time you had your furnace checked? Do you know what your furnace filter looks like? A lack of airflow to your furnace due to a dirty, dusty filter will result in your furnace overheating. In turn, your heat exchanger will endure the same overheating and cooling until, eventually, it cracks.
Furnace Tune-Ups and Maintenance
All of these causes are preventable, extending the life of your furnace and keeping your family and home safe. The easiest way to prevent your heat exchanger from cracking is by scheduling furnace tune-ups and heat exchanger inspections every six months. Contact Mt Vernon Heating and Cooling to check your furnace before you need it this winter. These inspections will warn you if any part of your furnace, including the heat exchanger, needs to be replaced. If an inspector finds a crack in your heat exchanger, the industry standard is to replace that heat exchanger right away. A repair won’t solve the problem. A full replacement is necessary to ensure your safety.