Hansberger Refrigeration Blog: Your AC Repair Resource

A Cracked Heat Exchanger Compromises The Safety Of Your Household

The heat exchanger is the component in your furnace that collects heat produced by the unit’s burners. A blower sends air across the heat exchanger, where the air absorbs the heat and is warmed before being distributed to your home. Under normal operations, a heat exchanger is safe, but a cracked heat exchanger can be very dangerous.

Your furnace produces exhaust gases as a by-product of the combustion of the fuel the system uses to generate heat. The most dangerous substance in furnace exhaust is carbon monoxide, an odorless, tasteless, colorless gas that cannot be detected by human senses. Exposure to small amounts of carbon monoxide can harm your health; exposure to large amounts of it can kill.

Furnace exhaust is usually safely vented to the outdoors, but a cracked heat exchanger can allow these dangerous gases to leak into your home or be actively pulled back inside before they are vented away. For this reason, a cracked heat exchanger presents an active danger to the safety of everyone in your home. The furnace should be immediately shut down and professional HVAC services contacted. A cracked heat exchanger is not a trivial matter; it should be considered an emergency situation requiring urgent action, possibly even a complete furnace replacement.

To help maintain carbon monoxide safety:

  • Check burner flame color: The burner flames in your furnace should be blue. If they are yellow, it means a possible carbon monoxide leak, though there also could be a less serious explanation.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors: Put several carbon monoxide detectors in your home. Install at least one outside each bedroom, one at each end of the building, and one over any attached garage. Test detectors and change batteries at least annually.
  • Get professional testing: If you suspect a carbon monoxide leak, contact your HVAC expert for professional testing and inspection of your furnace.

For 60 years, Hansberger Refrigeration and Electric Company has provided expert air conditioning, refrigeration and electrical services in the Yuma area. Contact us today for more information on the dangers of a cracked heat exchanger and for assistance with deciding what to do to protect your family from carbon monoxide leaks.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Yuma, Arizona about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about cracked heat exchangers and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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