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AAction Air Conditioning & Heating Co. Blog

Causes of Cracked Heat Exchangers

Gas furnaces are old standbys of the heating world for good reasons: they supply affordable warmth and can last for many years. However, as with any system that runs on natural gas, they have potential safety issues. One of these is a cracked heat exchanger.

Modern natural gas furnaces are built with safety as the main concern; malfunctions that can cause safety problems are very rare. With proper maintenance and the help of professionals, like those at AAction Air, your gas furnace in Rincon, GA should provide you many years of efficient heating.

The heat exchanger

The heat exchanger resembles a metal clamshell. It does the vital job in a furnace of transferring heat from the combustion gas to the air that then circulates through your home. After the heat transfer, the combustion gas inside the exchanger is safely vented through an exhaust flue to the outside. Should the heat exchanger develop any cracks, the high heat from the combustion gas will cause these small gaps to spread open and allow combustion gas to escape into the cabinet instead of through the flue.

The main reason for cracks appearing in heat exchangers is corrosion. People often think that their furnace can’t develop corrosion or rust because the furnace doesn’t use water. However, corrosion can occur because of the reaction between the combustion gases and the metal of the furnace—especially if the furnace isn’t venting properly. Moisture from the ducts can also enter the furnace, and if (as is often the case) the air conditioner unit is mounted above the furnace, leaks in the AC will quickly promote rust inside the furnace.

Corrosion weakens metal, and because the high heat inside the heat exchangers causes them to expand and contract, the weakening with soon lead to cracks and the escape of combustion gas. Combustion gas is dangerous: it is carbon monoxide, which is colorless and odorless—as well as toxic and highly combustible. Cracked heat exchangers need to be replaced as soon as possible.

Call for professional repairs

Carbon monoxide leaks are difficult to detect, which is why we advise homes with gas appliances have CO detectors installed. Another warning sign of a cracked heat exchanger is unusual sounds from the furnace, such as rattling or clicking. You should never try to fix a gas furnace on your own because of the potential risk of further CO exposure. This is a job for licensed and trained professionals only.

AAction Air has 24/7 emergency service for when you’re worried that cracks in heat exchangers, or any other issue with your gas furnace. Call us any time you need help with your furnace in Rincon, GA.

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