What is the worst problem that can happen with your gas furnace? You might think having it fail to turn on during the coldest day of winter is terrible. And it definitely is! You’ll want to have furnace repair in Los Lunas, NM done as soon as possible if this happens. But if you guessed that the worst gas furnace trouble would involve the furnace becoming dangerous for the household, you’re right. There’s nothing worse than an appliance that is actively harmful.
Before we go farther, we want you to take a deep breath. Your furnace isn’t inherently dangerous. As long as it is 1) professionally installed, 2) maintained regularly, and 3) repaired promptly when it malfunctions, it has a low risk of danger. In fact, it is regular maintenance that will catch the problem we’re going to talk about before it turns hazardous.
The Most Serious Problem: A Cracked Heat Exchanger
A cracked heat exchanger is the most common furnace issue that can become deadly. The heat exchanger is the element of a gas furnace that does the actual heating of the air moving through the system. When you look inside your furnace, you’ll see a metal container taking up a large amount of space. This is the exchanger, where the hot combustion gas from the burners collects. The heat from the gases causes the walls of the exchanger to get hot. Air from the blower passes through and around the exchanger and picks up heat from its surface before heading into the ventilation system. The exhaust from the combustion gas escapes from the exchanger through a flue.
Because of the exchanger, the combustion gas never comes into contact with the air sent into the ductwork. Heat is transferred, and nothing else. Unless … there’s a crack along the heat exchanger.
The metal of the heat exchanger expands as it gets hotter, and this can cause even a small crack to open wide enough to allow the toxic combustion gases inside, which include carbon monoxide, to seep into the air. This is the air sent to the rooms around the house—you don’t want toxic gases inside it!
A cracked heat exchanger usually occurs in a furnace that’s more than 15 years old. Long years of exposure to the vapor in combustion gases can cause the heat exchanger to corrode, and the weakening of the metal makes it easier for cracks to start. Corrosion can start earlier if the furnace isn’t properly venting.
During annual heating maintenance, our technicians inspect the heat exchanger closely for corrosion and cracks. If we find this, we can replace the exchanger or replace the furnace (depending on age) to keep your family safe. This is yet another reason to stay current with annual maintenance for your furnace!
If you ever have the carbon monoxide detectors in your house go off in winter, it may be the fault of a cracked heat exchanger. Don’t check on it, however. Get out of the house first and call the gas company. Afterward, you can have our technicians see what work the furnace needs.
Why wait for service when you can get it Express? Santa Fe Express Plumbing & Drain serves Santa Fe, Espanola, Los Alamos, and Pecos.