Common Signs of a Cracked Heat Exchanger

Many homeowners don’t realize something is wrong with their home’s furnace until there are obvious signs and symptoms present. Since a cracked heat exchanger is one of the most serious problems your natural gas furnace can have, it’s important to know what to look for. The heating professionals at Grove Heating & Cooling explain the signs of a cracked heat exchanger so you know when to call for help regarding this important furnace issue.

Why Heat Exchanger Cracks Are Dangerous

A furnace heat exchanger is an important part of a furnace. It helps to transfer heat from the furnace to the air in your home. Heat generated by combusting fuel is normally contained within the furnace’s heat exchanger as heat energy is transferred to the home’s air, and these byproducts of combustion eventually exit the system and the home through the flue.

The combustion process produces many byproducts, one of which is carbon monoxide. A cracked heat exchanger can be dangerous because it can allow carbon monoxide to mix with the home’s air supply. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that can cause serious health problems, even death.

Common Cracked Heat Exchanger Symptoms

There are a handful of distinct and common signs of a cracked heat exchanger in your furnace. The signs and symptoms all homeowners need to be mindful of include:

Flickering Yellow Burner Flame

The first sign of a problem with your heating system is the color of the furnace flame. You can easily decipher whether you need to call for repair or not by just looking at the flame color. If it is a normal blue, then there’s nothing wrong and no need to panic, but if its flame is yellow, then there’s a problem in your furnace.

A yellow flame is one of the signs of a cracked or damaged heat exchanger, but it can also indicate dirty burners. If the furnace produces a flickering yellow flame, it’s likely that the problem within your furnace is on the serious side and needs immediate professional attention.

Soot Inside the Furnace

Carbon builds up inside the furnace system, often as a result of incomplete fuel combustion, creating more soot than normal within the unit. Faulty burners in your HVAC system can cause an excess of soot in the furnace, most commonly due to inadequate maintenance or pilot light issues. However, cracked heat exchangers can also result in increased soot levels.

Heating System Odors

If you notice an unpleasant smell coming from your heating system, it could be one of the signs of a cracked heat exchanger. These fumes typically smell similar to formaldehyde. The fumes are highly toxic and can be very dangerous if inhaled. 

Signs of Wear and Tear

Your furnace works hard to keep your home comfortable all winter long. But like any machine, it will eventually start to show signs of wear and tear. If you notice external components beginning to degrade, it’s likely that the internal components are also starting to experience some wear and tear. This damage is often one of the signs of a cracked heat exchanger.

Stress cracks are generated by the cyclical expansion and contraction of the components as their metals heat up and cool down. Corrosion can impact various components when they are exposed to chloride fumes or moisture in the system.

Furnace Repair Service in Maryland

If you’re noticing any of the signs of a cracked heat exchanger, it’s important to call a professional right away. A cracked heat exchanger can be dangerous, and can quickly lead to furnace failure.

At Grove Heating & Cooling, we offer furnace repair and replacement services in Maryland. We can help you inspect your furnace for signs of a cracked heat exchanger and provide the best course of action for repairing or replacing your furnace. If you notice any of the signs of a cracked heat exchanger in your furnace, call us today to schedule an appointment for furnace repairs.