If the furnace’s heat exchanger cracks, typically you should get your furnace replaced. Even what appear to be small cracks on the outside can allow carbon monoxide gas to infiltrate the air in your home, which can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
A heat exchanger takes the exhaust gases from the furnace and heats the air as it comes into the furnace. This increases the efficiency of your furnace, but if it cracks, it can cause severe problems in your house.
Heat exchanger cracks can also reduce the efficiency of your furnace, because the hot gases exiting from the furnace are allowed to seep out into the atmosphere around the furnace.
It is possible to spot cracks early on during a pre-season maintenance checkup, but often they are only discovered when investigating other problems with the furnace.
When a technician finds a cracked heat exchanger, they will red tag (shut down) the furnace. The heat exchanger has to be repaired or replaced before the furnace can be turned back on again. They will also recommend whether you should repair the heat exchanger, or replace the furnace entirely. This can depend on how old the furnace is, and how efficient it is. Older furnaces often have as low an annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating as 70 percent. The AFUE rating is the amount of fuel that the furnace uses to heat your home over the span of a year. Really old furnaces might even have only a 56 percent rating. New furnaces go up to 98 percent AFUE or higher.
If your heat exchanger is cracked, you should call an experienced HVAC company immediately to get the problem fixed.
For more expert information about heat exchangers or any other home comfort questions related to your Wichita area home, contact Comfort Systems today. We have been proudly serving the Greater Wichita area for almost 20 years.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Wichita, Kansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about heat exchangers and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.