Signs Your Heat Exchanger May Be Cracked On Your Gas Furnace

image of blue furnace flames

The heating system is vital in keeping your home safe and warm during the winter season. Therefore, it is recommended that your heating system receives annual maintenance to ensure that it is in excellent condition for a long time. An HVAC tune-up will prevent problems, such as a cracked heat exchanger.

If this particular problem happens, there are some telltale signs that you can look out for. Read on to learn more about a heat exchanger, its importance, and how to identify a cracked heat exchanger.

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What Is A Heat Exchanger?

The heat exchanger is vital in the heating and cooling process. It is where heat is transferred between fluids to heat or cool your home. If you have a heater, this component heats the air that is circulated via the venting system. The gas increases the temperature inside the heat exchanger so that the temperature of the air also increases. Naturally, if the heat exchanger malfunctions, your furnace’s operation is affected as well.

Symptoms Of A Cracked Heat Exchanger

image of soot from home heating system


  • Flame Looks Different: The flame of a gas furnace is typically blue with a yellow tip. However, if it has turned predominantly yellow, then there might be a few issues. The burner might be dirty and needs to be cleaned. It could also be due to a cracked heat exchanger. Check the flame to see if it burns steadily. If you see it flickering, then it is likely experiencing an issue.
  • Soot: Carbon buildup inside your furnace can result in soot. When the fuel does not burn cleanly and completely, it might be because of an improperly adjusted burner or a cracked heat exchanger.
  • Corrosion And Cracks: Check the outer parts of your heating unit for any cracks and rust. Any physical problems with your heater’s external components could also point to damaged internal components.
  • Unusual Smells: If you have a cracked heat exchanger, it will release an unpleasant formaldehyde-like smell. It can have repercussions on your health and cause severe headaches. Therefore, call a professional HVAC technician immediately to repair your system.
  • Health Issues: A cracked heat exchanger can release carbon monoxide. It can cause serious health effects, such as nausea, disorientation, eye and nose irritation, and other flu-like symptoms. Prolonged exposure can be fatal, so have your cracked heat exchanger repaired immediately.
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Reasons Heat Exchangers Crack

One of the most common causes of a cracked heat exchanger is an overheating furnace. This problem happens because of improper or insufficient airflow, which is a problem that frequently happens because of lack of maintenance. The furnace filters accumulate dust, dirt, and other debris over time. The coils and blowers can also get clogged. These issues block proper airflow, which is needed to maintain the internal temperature and absorb excess heat. Otherwise, the increased temperature can lead to a cracked heat exchanger.

Other causes include worn out control valves. This issue results in extreme pressure changes that the heat exchanger cannot handle. Therefore, it is vital that your system is checked and maintained regularly to resolve all potential issues early.

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The Problem With A Cracked Heat Exchanger

gas furnace that has a leak

A damaged heat exchanger is more than just a hassle. It can pose a severe threat to your household’s safety. Many heating systems burn heating oil, natural gas, or propane. These fossil fuels generate fumes when burned. These fumes have soot, water vapor, carbon dioxide, and carbon monoxide. These gases can be harmful in large doses. When these leak into your home, you and your family can experience serious health problems.

Solutions For A Cracked Heat Exchanger

Never conduct a DIY furnace repair when you have a cracked heat exchanger. The solution can either be replacing this faulty component or installing a new replacement system. Both issues need to be considered carefully. A professional HVAC contractor will conduct a thorough inspection and test on your system so that they can recommend the best possible solution. An expert can also give you tips on how you can best care for your heating system.

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A cracked heat exchanger can lead to more severe problems. For instance, it can damage your whole system. It can also negatively affect your health. Fortunately, this problem can be prevented. Proper and regular heating system maintenance will ensure that your heat exchanger remains in tiptop shape for many years. For any concerns you have regarding your heating system, contact a reliable HVAC technician. They can discuss preventative measures and solutions for all your heating and cooling issues. Remember that taking care of your HVAC system means it will provide you with a longer lifespan, energy-efficient and safe operation, and a better level of comfort.

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Call Townsend Energy For All Your Home Heating Needs

te logoWhen you need superior HVAC services, make sure to call Townsend Energy. We have professionally certified and highly-qualified technicians who conduct excellent heating and cooling services. Our services include HVAC installations, replacements, repairs, maintenance, and more. All our techs are knowledgeable, skilled, and experienced to service any HVAC make and model accurately and on time at all times.

Do you need to replace your current heating system? No worries. You are in good hands with Townsend Energy. We offer affordable repair and replacement rates in the area. We can recommend the best replacement HVAC unit without sacrificing your home’s needs and budget. Your satisfaction is always our priority. Schedule an appointment with Townsend Energy today to receive a free, in-home estimate.

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