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10 Signs of a Heat Exchanger Cracked in Your Furnace

10 Signs of a Heat Exchanger Cracked in Your Furnace

Many homeowners come home to turn up their heat with little thought. What’s not seen is how hard your heat exchanger works to help warm your home. Heat exchangers are an essential part of every home, but they are not immune to damage. 

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Cracked heat exchangers can get detrimental fast—that’s why our team at Hutchinson provides quick and efficient 24-hour services. Read on to find out what a heat exchanger is and how you can recognize a malfunction.

What is a Heat Exchanger?

A heat exchanger is a driving force behind your heat. This component consists of tubes and coils that will heat up air as it enters its metal chamber. It’s the combustion of gas inside the chamber that creates heat. Once the air is heated, it will disperse through your ductwork and into your home. 

Heat Exchanger

Heat exchangers are housed in metal chambers to prevent combustion gasses from entering your home. If your heat exchanger is cracked, your safety could be at risk.

Signs of a Cracked Heat Exchanger in Furnace

Now that you know what a heat exchanger is, let’s take a look at the ten telltale signs of damage. 

1. Your Furnace Isn’t Producing Hot Air

If your heat exchanger is cracked, the best-case scenario is if your furnace stops blowing hot air or shuts off altogether. Furnaces that continue to blow hot air while suffering from a cracked heat exchanger could result in carbon monoxide poisoning.  If your furnace stops working, contact our team at Hutchinson to get your system evaluated. 

2. Your Furnace Components Crack & Corrode

Cracks can happen as your furnace expands and contracts, which can corrode over time. Where there’s exterior corrosion, there’s probably interior corrosion. If you notice any cracks or corrosion around your furnace, then you should call a professional as soon as possible.

3. Your Furnace Flame Color Changes

Gas furnaces should always produce a blue flame. If the color of your flame is anything other than blue, such as yellow, then you could have a damaged heat exchanger. This occurs when oxygen enters the chamber.

4. You Hear Loud Noises

A few noises coming from your furnace are normal—but loud sounds like banging, popping, whistling, and scraping are not. If you hear any unusual sounds coming from your furnace cabinet, it’s best to call an expert to evaluate and troubleshoot the issue.

5. There’s a Carbon Monoxide Leak

carbon monoxide

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a toxic, odorless gas that can cause serious health problems. If your heat exchanger cracks, CO could enter your home, leaving you and your family at risk. If your carbon monoxide detector goes off, you and your family should evacuate and call 911.

6. You Experience Health Issues

Having a fully-working carbon monoxide detector is crucial. Otherwise, carbon monoxide is completely undetectable. If carbon monoxide leaks into your home, you and your family could start to experience nausea, fatigue, and flu-like symptoms.

7. You Find Soot Buildup

Do you see a buildup of black carbon buildup inside your furnace? Soot accumulates due to inadequate combustion. This is typically a result of a broken burner or cracked heat exchanger.

8. You Smell an Unpleasant Odor

That rotten egg smell isn’t coming from your trash. Instead, you’ve traced that nasty smell back to your furnace. Unpleasant odors indicate a gas leak. Don’t sleep on bad smells. Turn your heating system off and call your local HVAC professional as soon as possible.

9. Water Collects Around Your Furnace

Water pooling around the floor of your furnace could be an indication of a broken heat exchanger—especially if your system doesn’t have any condensation problems.

10. Clogged Heat Exchanger

Your heat exchanger can get clogged with dirt and dust. A buildup of dirt and dust can prevent your heat exchanger from dispersing air.

Get a Furnace Check-Up Fast With Hutchinson

The signs of a cracked heat exchanger can often go unnoticed. Keep you and your family safe with Hutchinson’s heater check-up—the easy and comprehensive way to ensure your furnace is working safely. Safeguard your home from carbon monoxide, and schedule an appointment with our team today.