What a Cracked Heat Exchanger Means for Your Furnace

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Your furnace’s heat exchanger is one of its most critical components. Proper operation is crucial for allowing the cool air from your home’s air return to pass closely to air heated via combustion inside the furnace. This heated air is then circulated throughout your home via the furnace blower and your duct and register system. Without a properly working heat exchanger, the circulated air may not be heated well, allowing combustion gases to escape into your home’s basement or utility room.

What Causes Your Heat Exchanger to Crack?

Your furnace’s heat exchanger is necessary for safe and efficient operation. Unlike a faulty ignition switch or dirty filter, a cracked heat exchanger generally won’t cause your furnace to stop running completely. However, that’s not the good news. A heat exchanger that needs to be replaced can cause dangerous combustion gases, like carbon monoxide and nitrous oxide, to escape into your living spaces, causing a serious health hazard for your family and pets.

Several things can cause your heat exchanger to fail. One of the most common is a furnace that cuts in and out more than normal (called short cycling in the HVAC community.) Over time, this takes a toll on the exchanger.

Simple age can also cause an exchanger to fail. Designed to last for 15 to 18 years with proper maintenance, a heat exchanger is often the first part of a furnace to stop working as it should.

Finally, your heat exchanger can form cracks over time as a result of poor furnace maintenance. Improper air flow, caused by a dirt-filled air filter, can cause the exchanger to stay hotter than it should (because air can’t get in to cool it down), which eventually can lead to its demise.

Cracked Heat Exchanger Repair in Maryland and Washington, DC

A good HVAC technician can evaluate whether it makes sense to replace your cracked heat exchanger or if it’s more cost-effective to replace your entire furnace. Some of the criteria he or she will look at include the age of your heating system, whether your system is an energy-efficient model and/or the overall health of your system.

To learn more about getting your furnace repaired in Maryland or Washington, DC, whether you have a cracked heat exchanger or another issue, contact Michael Bonsby Heating and Cooling. We’ll send a technician out to evaluate your heating system fast!

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