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The One Heater Repair You Should Never Ignore

by Denver Plumbing, HVAC and Electrical

If we had to take a guess on what type of heating system you use to keep your home warm during our chilly Denver winters, we’d bet on the natural gas powered furnace. These furnaces are, after all, the most popular in the country—especially in places with winters as cold as ours. They are cost effective , and since most homes have ventilation systems in them already for AC installation, furnaces are typically more common than boilers.

One thing to keep in mind, however, is that while gas furnaces are not inherently dangerous in nature, any use of natural gas does have the potential for toxic gas leaks and combustion issues. The main concern in preventing this is taking proper care of the heat exchanger. A cracked heat exchanger is the number one furnace repair need you should never ignore, as doing so creates the potential for safety hazards. If you have a cracked heat exchanger or suspect a problem, please be sure to call for professional Denver heating services right away.

“Wait, But What Is the Heat Exchanger?”

Your furnace’s heat exchanger is the component that supplies heat to the air that the blower fan sends into the ventilation system, and subsequently into your home. It is a metal chamber, often clam-shaped, and arranged in rows in the furnace, where the hot combustion gas from the burners collects.

The intense heat of the gas raises the temperature of the metal walls, which makes the outside of the heat exchanger very hot, and allows the furnace to apply the heat of the combustion gas to the air without letting those gases contact the air that flows into your living space.

What Causes the Heat Exchanger to Crack?

The heat exchanger of your furnace undergoes a large amount of stress throughout the heating season, and throughout the years. Each time a heat exchanger heats up, the metal expands. Over time, this constant expansion and contraction will weaken the metal, until eventually it can and will lead to corrosion.

This is particularly a risk in older furnaces and/or furnaces that don’t have a well-vented flue. Corrosion will weaken the metal further, and the strain on the heat exchanger will lead to small, microscopic cracks that can be virtually invisible to you, but create a major problem for your health and safety.

The Danger of a Cracked Heat Exchanger

As we mentioned above, any crack on a heat exchanger might be invisible to you. You could pour water into a cooled, cracked heat exchanger and not even see s drop of water. But what happens is that when this component heats up, the cracks widen, and this lets unhealthy gas that are otherwise supposed to be vented into the flue, escape into your living space.

This gas is known as carbon monoxide (CO), and people exposed to too much of it can start experiencing lightheadedness, nausea, dizziness, and much worse inside their homes. CO can be fatal, and that’s why we really don’t want to mess around when we stress the incredible importance of having this problem taken care of right away.

Annual furnace maintenance will let our professionals check every aspect of your heating system, including the heat exchanger, to ensure your safety. But if you have an older furnace, it may be time to talk to a pro about the possibility of an upgrade, and see what your risks are. Additionally, if you hear a clicking noise from your furnace (or really, any strange and unfamiliar sound), it’s best to shut off the heater and call in a pro.

One last thing we can’t forget to mention—if you have a gas powered system of any kind in your home, the best thing you can do to protect yourself is to have carbon monoxide detectors installed so you can be alerted if levels are too high within your living space.

Get peace of mind by calling Bell Plumbing and Heating, the company metro area homeowners have been trusting for over 90 years!

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