Did you know that over 64 million homes in the United States are equipped with natural gas-powered heaters? Most of these homes use a furnace for heat, and Chicagoland residents make up a considerable handful of these households. It’s no surprise that gas-powered furnaces remain the leading choice for winter comfort around here—they deliver powerful heat and do it quickly without draining your household budget.
There are, however, risks to using a gas-powered heating system of any kind if you don’t care for that system properly. Sure, they’re constructed to be safe, and have safety features that force them to shut down if the unit overheats or whatnot. However, there are hazards to be aware of, and one potential is a cracked heat exchanger. Read on as we uncover why this is a problem and what to do about it.
A Cause for Concern
The reason a cracked heat exchanger is such a problem (and the reason you should consider replacing your furnace if this happens to you) is because it creates a health hazard.
Your furnace system’s heat exchanger is a metal, clam shaped component inside the system that collects hot combustion gas from the burners. This heat transfers to the metal walls of the heat exchanger, causing it to get hot. Air from the blower moves around the exchanger, picking up heat before it passes through your ventilation system. Then, leftover combustion exhaust in the exchanger is expelled harmlessly through a flue, outside.
However, if there is a crack in the heat exchanger, carbon monoxide can enter your indoor air, which is a huge health concern. In the best-case scenario, it can make members of your household ill. In the worst cases, it can lead to fatalities.
“Can I Get My Heat Exchanger Repaired or Replaced?”
Well, yes. But, you might not want to.
Hear us out!
A heat exchanger can’t really be fixed reliably. Once this component is compromised, and it usually happens in an aging furnace, then it can crack again. This is too big of a risk to take for your home! The heat exchanger can also be replaced. But like we just said, this is most likely to happen in an aging furnace. So you’ll want to consider how many useful years of service life you have left in the furnace anyway. It might make more economical sense to replace the whole entire furnace.
An expensive repair for a furnace that’s 10-15+ years old may simply not be worth it.
The best thing you can do is talk to our professionals about your options, including your replacement options. Here’s a good rule of thumb with any repair on an aging furnace, whether it involves your heat exchanger or not. If it’s going to cost over half of what your furnace is currently worth, it’s a better use of your money to replace the whole system.
This will also help boost your efficiency and lead to lower utility bills, too!