If you have a gas furnace keeping you warm this winter, there are a few important things you to know about its operation so you not only stay cozy during the next couple months, but that you also stay safe. Any appliance that uses natural gas poses some risk of exposure to carbon monoxide, which is both combustible and toxic to inhale. Fortunately, gas furnaces today are designed with your safety as a priority, so you should experience few problems—as long as you provide the furnace with regular maintenance and have repairs done promptly.
A major safety concern in a gas furnace comes from a cracked heat exchanger.
What’s a heat exchanger and why is it dangerous when cracked?
In order for your furnace to transfer heat to the air, it requires a heat exchanger, which is a metal chamber that resembles a clam shell. Most furnaces will have more than one. The combustion gas from the jets along the burner enters the heat exchanger(s), where the high temperature of the gas heats up the metal walls. A fan blows air across the heat exchanger, and the heated walls raise the temperature of the air. This is the air that the blowers send into the ducts to the rest of the house. The combustion gas inside the exchanger is then safely vented away.
However, if the heat exchanger develops cracks or holes, the exhaust gas will start to leak out into the furnace cabinet and the space around it. This exhaust gas consists of carbon monoxide, which is colorless and odorless and therefore hard to detect. But even a small exposure to it will induce headaches and nausea. It is also highly flammable.
It only takes a small crack or gap in a heat exchanger to cause this problem: because the metal of the chamber turns so hot during heat exchange, the metal expands and causes these “tiny” cracks to open wide.
Heat exchangers usually develop these problems because of corrosion, which weakens and eats through the metal. A regular inspection will catch spots where corrosion has started to weaken the metal of a heat exchanger. A technician can swap out the damaged heat exchanger for a new one.
Don’t hesitate when it comes to a damaged heat exchanger – call for help today!
There are a few signs of heat exchanger troubles you can recognize: the sound of hissing from the furnace cabinet, a change in the color of the pilot light. If you suspect a heat exchanger problem, don’t hesitate: shut off the gas supply to the furnace and call a Denver heating contractor. Do not want to attempt repairs on your own.
Bell Plumbing & Heating Company is ready whenever a hazardous issue like this starts: we have 24-hour emergency service, so you don’t need to wait long to have your heater and your peace of mind restored. Call us for all your needs for heater repair in Denver, CO.