Failed Heat Exchanger-What You Should Know

heat exchanger rheemYour furnace’s heat exchanger is one of the most important aspects of your furnace. It can also be the most dangerous, if something goes wrong with it. We will talk about what a furnace heat exchanger is, how it works and what you should do if yours fails.

What is a heat exchanger?

Simply put, the heat exchanger is the part of your furnace that puts heat into your home, separating the combustion process from your breathing air. Air is heated as it blows across the hot surface of the heat exchanger. This air is then delivered through the ductwork to the living area. On the inside of the heat exchanger, the combustion process occurs producing many toxic gases, including carbon monoxide. The heat exchanger separates these toxic gasses from your indoor air.

Why do heat exchangers fail?

Heat exchangers are designed to provide your home with safe and breathable air during its life expectancy. However, your furnace will run thousands of hours, year after year. After time, the constant heating up and cooling down will wear out the metal, known as “metal fatigue”. This can cause the heat exchanger to split or break (not different if you bend a paperclip back and forth until it snaps).

How do you know if your heat exchanger has failed?

The first thing a Home Comfort Experts’ technician will do involves a visual examination of the heat exchanger with a camera. They will insert a camera lens into your furnace and observe the condition of our equipment through the monitor. If they suspect there is damage to your heat exchanger, they will show you the evidence.

What happens if my heat exchanger fails?

Because of the serious risk that carbon monoxide presents, heating technicians are required to shut down a failed furnace, and you won’t be able to operate the system. What are your options? Repair: This step involves replacing the heat exchanger and it’s an ideal option for homeowners with relatively newer systems or for a furnace with an active warranty. Replace: Replacing the furnace is often the best choice if you have an older furnace or higher energy bills. This option is almost always more costly up front, but it often makes more sense than investing major repair money into an older system.

There is no doubt that some furnaces in our service area will fail this winter. With the help of an expert, you can make the best long-term choice on your red-tagged furnace. Contact the certified technicians at Home Comfort Experts for help. We proudly serve Northern Indiana and Southwest Michigan, offering a free second opinion for any type of failure, including heat exchangers.