• We accept all major credit cards.
  • Financing Available
For All Your
Home Service Needs.
919.929.0203
Serving the Chapel Hill Area for Over 40 Years!

Danger: Cracked Heat Exchanger in a Furnace

Posted on: December 12, 2016

Putting the word Danger! right at the front of a title of a blog post about furnaces may make it sound like gas furnaces are inherently hazardous pieces of equipment. The truth is that natural gas furnaces—which are found in more homes than any other type of heater—are built for safe operation. If you take regular care of your furnace through annual maintenance inspections and prompt repairs when necessary, you shouldn’t expect to run into any dangers.

However, it’s important to know about the ways a gas furnace can become a safety hazard. We’ll look at one of the more common ones, the cracked heat exchanger.

What’s a heat exchanger?

In simplest terms, it’s the part of the furnace that does the actual heating of the air. The hot combustion gas from the burner enters this metal chamber, where the heat transfers to the walls. Air is blown past the exchanger and picks up heat before going into the ventilation system.

Why are cracks in it a problem?

If a heat exchanger develops even small cracks along its surface, it can permit the combustion gas inside it to escape. Because the exchanger expands as it heats up, these cracks gap wide enough for toxic gases like carbon monoxide to slip out, which will then enter the air going into the house.

How do cracks develop in a heat exchanger?

Standard wear and tear—the metal expanding and contracting over many years—can lead to cracks. But it can also occur because of corrosion. The vapor in combustion gas reacting with the metal over years sometimes lead to corrosion that weakens the metal to the point of cracking.

How can I tell I have a cracked heat exchanger?

The best way to know is to make sure that you have carbon monoxide detectors in your home. If these go off, shut off the gas and evacuate your house. When the immediate danger is past, call our furnace repair technicians to look into the problem with the furnace. If the issue is a cracked heat exchanger, we can replace the exchanger. In situations where the furnace is extremely old, it may be better to put in a new furnace.

For All Your Home Service Needs: Call Bud Matthews Services in Durham, NC.

Testimonials
See What Your Neighbors Are Saying

“Many heartfelt thanks to the people I talked with on the phone late this afternoon who were concerned enough to send Pat over to check on our frozen pipes and dripping shower. Pat was so kind and professional and fixed...”

– Rindi

“Bud, I want to send my thanks to your company and especially to Scott. He got into more than he bargained for on our project yesterday. He went out and got different parts and went the extra mile to make...”

– Dave W.

“They were professional, honest, and cleaned-up after their work, and even took the shop-vacuum around the living room for good measure (we have a GSD - say no more)! Nice folks.”

– Judith A. – Pittsboro, NC

“Bud Mathew responded to our call even though it was made during the weekend. Plumber came to the house, identified the problem, gave us a temporary fix and suggested we wait until Monday to fix it. (That saved us some...”

– Gloria C. – Carrboro, NC

“They replaced a number of parts in my old Maytag dryer. It has been very reliable for 26 years and I want to keep it rather than buy a new one. Works great now!”

– Jane S. – Chapel Hill, NC

“Repair people were punctual and cordial. They troubleshot a problem, trying different approaches when the first try didn't work to clear the line. They explained everything they were doing as they did it while we watched. They were very efficient...”

– Diana B. – Efland, NC

“We were very happy with the process and outcome. Noah was very responsive. If he couldn't answer his phone when I called, he quickly returned calls. Everyone was very polite and respectful. They did a great job. Noah made good...”

– Jeffrey H. – Durham, NC

“They fixed my LG Front Load Washing Machine, which was leaking. They also helped me level it properly. They were on time, they provided clear estimates, they were professional, and they clearly explained every step of the process to me...”

– Lindsey S. – Chapel Hill, NC
See More Reviews
Certifications & Affiliations