Cracked heat exchangers are a serious cause for concern for homeowners because the heat exchanger is a core part of the operation of the furnace. If your recent furnace inspection has revealed that your heat exchanger is cracked, you'll need to replace it. As a homeowner, it's important that you understand not only the role of the heat exchanger but also what causes damage and how you can avoid it.
Understanding the Heat Exchanger's Role
The heat exchanger in your furnace is a dual-chambered unit. Each sealed chamber contains a different fluid, and the chambers rely on a series of pipes to circulate those fluids. The furnace transfers heat to the first fluid, which will then transfer it to the second one. As the first fluid absorbs the heat from the furnace, it cools the furnace itself. Then the first fluid cools as it transfers the heat to the second chamber.
This cooling cycle is vital to keeping the furnace cool during operation. Having several stages of transfer to eliminate the heat creates a progressive cycle. This eliminates the risk of drastic temperature changes, which could threaten the structure of the system.
Exploring the Reasons for Heat Exchanger Damage
The heat exchanger runs every time the furnace does, so it's in a frequent cycle of cooling and warming. This can cause the metal components to repeatedly expand and contract. Over time, the heating and cooling can cause the metal to become brittle, which can make it vulnerable to cracks and other damage.
When the heat exchanger does crack, it exposes your home's heating ducts to carbon monoxide. Over time, this carbon monoxide can travel throughout your home. This is a serious health concern for your family. For this reason, most furnace technicians will stress that you need to address a cracked heat exchanger right away.
Establishing a Prevention Method
The most important thing you can do to avoid heat exchanger damage is have your furnace cleaned and serviced on a regular basis. Routine maintenance keeps the system clean and ensures that the combustion process is happening the way that it should, which can help minimize the risk of exchanger damage.
The maintenance process can also detect any signs of rust inside the heat exchanger from residual condensation. Since rust can weaken the metal, it's in your best interest to spot it early so you can address it before it causes holes or cracks in the exchanger. If you need more assistance, contact a professional like those at Kook & Son Inc.