The heat exchanger on your furnace is a vital component for keeping your home warm. It withstands a lot of pressure over the years and can eventually develop cracks because of the near-constant expansion and contraction. While this damage may seem like a natural consequence and thus be of little concern, there are serious dangers of a cracked heat exchanger. Here's why this problem warrants immediate heating repair in Stockbridge, GA.

What the Heat Exchanger Does

It's not too difficult to identify the heat exchanger even if you have little knowledge of HVAC units. The heat exchanger is located inside the cabinet of the furnace and usually looks like a clam-shaped piece of metal, or there are many of them arranged in rows. The heat exchanger is responsible for applying heat to the air that the blower then distributes around your home via the duct system. The burners of the furnace turn on and create hot combustion gas that's collected in the heat exchanger. The combustion byproducts are vented out through the flue, and the warm air goes to the registers.

Why It Gets Damaged

As you can imagine, there's an extreme amount of heat placed on the heat exchanger. It's constantly heating up and cooling down, which means it's expanding and contracting over and over again. This amount of stress weakens the metal and cracks may form after time. In some cases, improper venting can increase the chances of cracks because the reaction between the gas and metal can cause corrosion and further weaken the metal. Poor venting is a problem with older furnaces, which means cracked heat exchangers are more common in older furnaces as well. This is especially true when the furnace hasn't been maintained very well. Many cracks in a heat exchanger are invisible to the naked eye, but that doesn't mean they're not dangerous.

Potential Dangers of Cracked Heat Exchanger

The main problem with a cracked heat exchanger is that you're potentially being exposed to dangerous gases. When a cracked exchanger heats up, the cracks will open up even more and allow the combustion gases to go into the airflow that's being delivered throughout your home. Carbon monoxide is the most common and most dangerous of these combustion byproducts and can cause serious health effects. In fact, at high levels, it can be fatal. People being exposed to carbon monoxide often experience nausea, lightheadedness, dizziness, and sleepiness.

Signs of Damage

Since carbon monoxide is so dangerous, it's imperative that you recognize signs of a cracked heat exchanger before suffering ill health effects. A common sign is a clicking sound from the furnace right after the blower turns off. Corrosion on the furnace is another sign you shouldn't ignore. A cracked heat exchanger is more likely if your furnace is 15 years old or more. Make sure you have carbon monoxide detectors in your home and don't ignore any signs of carbon monoxide exposure.

What You Can Do

In addition to looking for the signs of a cracked heat exchanger, it's a good idea to get regular professional maintenance. Getting professional maintenance for your heating and air conditioning in Stockbridge is crucial. Technicians thoroughly check your system and make sure there's no damage to the heat exchanger or other components. If you do have a cracked heat exchanger, the technician can help you determine if furnace repair or replacement is the best option. To learn more, contact Omega Heating and Air at 404-438-0353.