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National Refrigeration explains what a heat exchanger is and why it is dangerous if they crack.

What Causes a Heat Exchanger to Crack?

By National Refrigeration September 14, 2020

There are many components that work together to keep your home warm and comfortable. It is important to keep up with your maintenance to ensure your heating and cooling systems are working properly and efficiently. This is not only crucial for the lifespan of your heating and cooling systems but for the safety of everyone in your home.

What is a heat exchanger?

The heat exchanger is a metal container inside the furnace that collects hot combustion gas from the burners. A heat exchanger is what allows a furnace to heat up the air that travels through your ventilation system. It is a device that allows heat from a fluid (a liquid or a gas) to pass to a second fluid (another liquid or gas) without the two fluids having to mix together or come into direct contact. Essentially, a heat exchanger transfers the heat without transferring the fluid that carries the heat.

Can a cracked heat exchanger be dangerous?

Yes. If the heat exchanger is compromised (by a crack or rust), carbon monoxide and flue gases can leak into the home, which can become a huge health concern.

Can a cracked heat exchanger be repaired?

The best way to repair a cracked heat exchanger is to replace the heat exchanger itself. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need a whole new system but you might want to depending on the cost to repair it. Something to keep in mind- if any repair job costs more than half the price of a new furnace installation, you will probably save more money in the long run with a new furnace.

National Refrigeration repairs HVAC systems.

What causes heat exchangers to crack?

The main reason a heat exchanger cracks is due to the constant heating and cooling process that requires the heat exchanger to constantly expand and contract. At some point, the metal will fatigue enough that it cracks. Corrosion and rust also causes cracks in heat exchangers (as well as other components on your furnace). Age is also a factor in the cracking of heat exchangers. Heat exchangers have an average lifespan of 15-18 years, so if yours has reached this age, it may be time to replace it.

Operating your heating system with a cracked heat exchanger can be a potentially dangerous situation. Scheduling annual maintenance for your heating system can help you stay ahead of your heating repair. Call us today and we can schedule a maintenance appointment for you!

About National Refrigeration
Since 1969

National Refrigeration is a unique family company: one where we share our focus on our family of employees with yours. That’s why we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee. We know that our reputation is on the line with every job that we do and will settle for nothing less than perfection. It’s been that way since our modest beginnings in 1969.

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