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Charter Home Comfort Blog

How to Know If Your Furnace’s Heat Exchanger Is Okay or Not

Inside a gas furnace. Focus = the top of the middle flange. 12MP camera.

If you have a furnace, it relies on a heat exchanger to create the warm air that flows into your home during the winter. This heat exchanger is arguably the most important part of your furnace. And if the heat exchanger breaks down, it is not only a very expensive part to replace, but can also pose very serious risks to your health and home if you don’t fix it quickly.

The heat exchanger works by combusting gas inside a sealed chamber to create heat. Your furnace’s heat exchanger blocks the fumes created during this process from entering the blower. The blower is the part that sends warm air through your air ducts, and vents, and into your home. If your heat exchanger is not airtight, those dangerous fumes may make it into the air blowing into your home. If you suspect that your furnace’s heat exchanger is not OK, you may need furnace repair in Troy, MI. Keep reading to learn more about the signs that something is wrong with your heat exchanger.

Cause of Heat Exchanger Problems

In order to understand what is wrong with your heat exchanger, you must first understand the cause of the problems. A clogged air filter is perhaps one of the most common problems that can lead your heat exchanger to fail. When your air filter is dirty, it blocks clean air from getting into your furnace, which places stress on the system overall. Another common problem that we see is a furnace that is too big for your home. This can lead to overheating and heat exchanger problems.

Signs of Heat Exchanger Cracks

There are six signs to watch for that can indicate your heat exchanger is cracked. If you notice any or all of these signs, turn off your heater right away and give us a call for service. Allowing your furnace to continue running with a cracked heat exchanger can put your home and family at risk. Signs to watch for include:

  • Unusual smells — The air blowing out of your furnace should never smell bad. Any unusual odors can indicate fumes are leaking into your home’s clean air. 
  • Build-up of soot — If you see soot inside or around the furnace burners, that is a sign that your heat exchanger is cracked. You can wipe down the surfaces, and monitor how quickly the soot returns. It is normal for your furnace to get dirty every time, but it should not happen quickly.
  • Other damage — If any other components on your furnace are cracked or corroded, there is a chance that your heat exchanger is also cracked. 
  • Burner flame — The flame on your gas burner should burn blue. If it is orange or yellow, something is wrong.
  • Unusual sounds — Cracked heat exchangers often make rattling noises. The cracks can expand and contract as the temperature changes, which can also lead to popping or banging sounds.
  • Carbon monoxide — If you have any gas appliances in your home, you should have a carbon monoxide detector. If the alarm goes off, your furnace could be to blame.

Contact Charter Home Comfort today to schedule an appointment with our professionals. Old fashioned values with tech savvy results!

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