a furnace heat exchanger that is currently burning

5 Signs Your Furnace Heat Exchanger Has Gone Bad

Do things feel a bit different around the house? Maybe it’s taking a bit longer for the home to heat up, or your furnace is starting to give off a few bad vibes. Don’t ignore your gut feelings. Sometimes heat exchangers go bad and demand repairs or a replacement of the entire furnace. If you want to get ahead of any potential problems, use these five signs to know when it’s time to call your local HVAC contractor to evaluate the condition of a furnace heat exchanger.

What Is the Purpose of a Heat Exchanger?

Heat exchangers are a vital part of the transfer of warm air into your home. The simple explanation would be that these units take thermal energy from one place and place it in another. When you turn the unit on, combustible gases transfer through the exchanger. In the process, the metal walls in the exchanger begin heating up. When the cold air in your home goes past those warm metal walls, it heats up and is transferred throughout the house using ductwork. The combustible gasses are then transmitted back outside the home without ever coming in contact with anything outside the furnace.

What causes a bad heat exchanger? Your heating specialist will likely find that any one of these issues is responsible for displaying the signs of a cracked heat exchanger:

  • Overheating
  • The Furnace Is Old
  • Constant Switching Between Heating and Cooling
  • Dust Accumulation
  • Rusting/Corrosion

Visual Damage

Heat exchanger cracks are one of the most common and telltale signs of trouble. These require immediate attention from a local heating specialist, as odds are you might need to replace the heat exchanger or risk exposure to those dangerous gasses. Over time, cracks occur due to the constant expansion and contraction of the metal in the furnace. Contact your furnace specialists and refrain from using the system.

The Presence of Soot

Soot is a sign of incomplete combustion. The heating process should completely burn off natural gas, but when that doesn’t happen, the presence of carbon leads to soot accumulation. It can be a symptom of a crack in your heating exchanger or a sign of a different issue, such as improper burner adjustment.

Your System Releases a Strong Smell

You really shouldn’t smell anything too strong coming from the burner, and anything you do smell will be relatively consistent throughout your usage. If you start smelling a strong, unpleasant odor (similar to formaldehyde), there’s a major issue. The smell can cause headaches, nausea, and other symptoms. There is a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning if your exchanger releases strong odors, so be sure to have a carbon monoxide detector in the area in case of exposure. 

Weird Looking Flames

The furnace flames should consistently be blue — a sign of an efficient furnace. Yellow or orange colored flames mean you either have a dirty burner or that cracks are present on the exchanger. Immediately contact a professional, as the chances are high that there are multiple issues with the system. 

Water on the Floor Around the Furnace

Some furnaces have condensation issues, so if this is the case for you, water pooling around might not be a serious issue. But for others, pooling water is a symptom of a faulty heat exchanger. There are some other issues, such as a clogged HVAC drain system, but most of the time, this results from a heat exchanger suffering from the effects of wear and tear.

Stay Warm This Winter With High-Quality Heating Repairs

Broken heating systems take your home from a comfortable oasis to a frozen winter wonderland. As much as you might like the winter weather, most homeowners don’t want their home temperatures to match the outdoors in the middle of February. Fortunately, residents of  Toms River or surrounding areas have access to quality furnace repairs from Care Temp, LLC! If you notice visual cracks on the heating exchanger or see weird-looking flames, don’t hesitate to contact our heating repair experts today! Schedule an appointment and avoid major problems with these signs that your heating exchanger has gone bad. Or schedule a free estimate to replace your furnace by calling Care Temp, LLC today at 732.349.1448.

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