The heat exchanger is a key part of the furnace and is responsible for the actual heating of air. Located in the center of the furnace, it is where fire, gas and heat connect. It is important that the heat exchanger is taken care of as hazards can build from a faulty exchanger.
Heating and air conditioning contractors rarely find furnaces with cracked heat exchangers. When they do, it is often caused by preventable reasons.
The heat exchanger is a set of coils on top of a burner. The burner, once ignited, holds an intense fire that heats the coils. Air from inside the home is then collected and passed over the coils, heating it to the temperature set on the thermostat. There are additional lines that help remove fumes out of the furnace to an outside location, usually through the chimney.
When HVAC contractors do come across a heat exchanger with a crack, it may be because it over-heated from lack of airflow. This happens when the central air system has gone too long without any type of maintenance work.
Dirt and buildup can accumulate, blocking filters, clogging blowers and coils. When this happens, air cannot pass through to be heated. Consequently, the burners continue to emit heat without having anything to absorb its excess. This is when the heat exchanger itself starts to take a beating, growing cracks and splinters.
Heat exchangers can also experience cracks because the valves that control them have worn down. This changes the amount of pressure heat exchangers can handle. Gas pressures vary throughout the year depending on the supplier. For this reason, HVAC contractors recommend furnace maintenance in order to ensure that the heat exchanger is in proper shape and safe to use for the fall.
The American Gas Association allows two options after discovering a cracked heat exchanger. First, the heat exchanger may be replaced. Unfortunately, for older furnaces, it can be more difficult to find a matching heat exchanger. Second, the entire furnace may need to be replaced. Though homeowners may find this inconvenient, HVAC technology has grown impressively allowing a type of customization never before seen.
Regardless, it is important to avoid using the central air system with a cracked heat exchanger. Instead, contact your air conditioning technician for assistance. Your AC contractor can provide a more a thorough plan for recovery.
Extraordinary heating service is possible only with Service Champions. As the preferred HVAC technicians of Southern California, our teams lead in furnace installations, heating repairs and heating maintenance.
Service Champions technicians are certain to provide exceptional customer service and expert technical care. With any repair or replacement, we can find the exact part needed to restore your home heating and air conditioning.
To prepare for another season of reliable heating, contact one of our friendly representatives in our call center to schedule an appointment or to learn more.