The heat exchanger is an important component of a gas furnace. This is where air is heated before it is moved into your home. The heat exchanger keeps the combustion process separate from the air you breathe, preventing dangerous carbon monoxide from entering your air supply.
Over the normal course of furnace use, a heat exchanger may wear out and go bad, or cracks may form, allowing carbon monoxide to mix with the heated air going into your home. Problems with this furnace component are typically caught during preventative maintenance tune-ups; if you haven’t had one, your heat exchanger could be flawed and you may not know about it, putting your family at risk. Heat exchanger problems can be difficult for homeowners to diagnose, though the signs below may indicate an issue with this component.
Signs of Heat Exchanger Problems
• Flame Color: The flame in your gas furnace should be blue when the system is operating properly. It should burn cleanly. If the flame is burning yellow or orange, or jumps around, this is a sign that a heat exchanger problem may exist.
• Damage to Metal Components: Exposure to water can damage metal furnace components, leading to rust or cracks. If you notice rust or cracked metal anywhere on your furnace, the source of the problem may have also damaged your heat exchanger.
• Carbon Monoxide in the Home: All homes with gas-burning appliances need to have carbon monoxide detectors on every level. If your carbon monoxide detectors sound, a cracked heat exchanger could be the source of elevated carbon monoxide levels in your home. If your alarms sound, you must exit the home and call your local fire department. Do not reenter the home until you are cleared to do so. If your furnace is found to be the source of the carbon monoxide leak, you will need to have it fixed before operating the heating system again.
• Buildup of Soot: Heat exchanger problems create improper combustion. One tell-tale sign of this is soot buildup. If you notice a black, resin-like buildup within your furnace, this is soot.
Heat exchanger problems should be repaired by a certified HVAC specialist to ensure your safety. For assistance fixing your heat exchanger or other furnace problems, contact Climate Control of Lexington.