Of all the components of a gas furnace, the heat exchanger is one of the most important. Heat exchangers are made of a set of metal tubes or coils that repeatedly loop through the airflow inside the furnace. In concert with other components, the heat exchanger heats the air in the furnace. Considering that the heat exchanger is critical to a furnace’s primary function, repairing any damage to this component is crucial. Unfortunately, it’s fairly common for a heat exchanger to crack after years of service. A cracked heat exchanger is a serious matter and should be fixed immediately. If there’s a crack in this component, the gases being burned off, such as carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrous oxide, could leak into your facility, causing illness or worse. Look out for the following telltale signs that will alert you of a damaged and dangerous heat exchanger.
Strong, nauseating fumes are produced when a cracked heat exchanger leaks burned off carbon monoxide and other chemical compounds. These fumes will generally smell like formaldehyde, and if inhaled, can be extremely toxic to humans. If you or your staff notice a formaldehyde-like smell coming from your boiler room, immediately call an expert for help.
If your staff suddenly becomes ill when in proximity of your facilities, it could be sick building syndrome. Or it could be a cracked heat exchanger. Combustion gases leaking from a cracked heat exchanger can cause frequent headaches as well as flu-like symptoms. Combustion pollutants, such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide, cause eye and nose irritation, disorientation, sleepiness, and nausea.
•Soot and water
A cracked heat exchanger fails to complete routine combustion process. This results in a black, sooty buildup on the furnace’s interior. Faulty burners can also be the culprits in soot build up, but if you also notice water leaking out of the bottom of your furnace, you can narrow the culprit down to the heat exchanger.
•Change in Flame Appearance
A steady blue flame is a sign of a healthy, fully functioning furnace. A burner with a moving yellow flame can mean that the burner is dirty or that the heat exchanger is cracked. Flames made with cracked heat exchangers also have the tendency to flicker when home fans are turned on.
•Cracks and Corrosion on Other Components
When a heat exchanger cracks, it begins emitting dangerous, chemical fumes. These fumes aren’t only damaging to humans. These fumes, such as chloride, will begin to corrode the components adjacent to the heat exchanger. The added strain and stress from the malfunctioning heat exchanger also increases the development of stress cracks.
If you notice any of the signs above, you may have a cracked heat exchanger. A cracked heat exchanger dangerously compromises your furnaces functions and puts your employees in harm’s way. Fortunately, Legacy Mechanical Inc. has a team of service experts who can diagnose, repair, or replace any malfunctioning furnace. Legacy does more than design and deliver high-quality HVAC systems: Our team goes the extra mile to keep those systems maintained and operating efficiently. Our industry experts aim to provide your company with total satisfaction and keep your staff safe.