Beware of a Cracked Heat Exchanger

With another cool winter on its way, you’re going to be using your heating system more and more often in the coming weeks. Most homes in the Poway, CA area use forced-air furnaces, which usually run on gas. They depend on heat exchangers to function and while heat exchangers are built to last, they can cause serious problems when they start to age and crack. The faster you can identify such an issue, the better.

How Does a Heat Exchanger Work?

Gas furnaces are fed by burners which generate the heat to warm the air. But a burner on its own is a very inefficient way to warm air. The burner instead warms the heat exchanger, which is actually little more than a piece of shaped metal. It distributes the heat to the air, which can then be blown into your home with a fan. It also vents the toxins created by the burners out an exhaust pipe where the gasses can safely pass out of your home.

You can see what might happen if the heat exchanger were to crack. Not only would it severely limit the heater’s ability to do its job, but the chances of a leak of toxic gas into your home would become alarmingly high. A carbon monoxide detector installed nearby can alert you to trouble, and modern furnaces possess an automatic shut-off switch that turns off the flow of gas before it creates a health hazard. But that still leaves you with a heater that won’t function until the problem is addressed.

Heat exchangers become more vulnerable to cracking as they age, and the constant heating and cooling of the metal year after year can take its toll. If you spot signs of trouble, or even if you’d just like a professional to take a look, call on Cal-West Air Conditioning immediately.

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