The Maynard Man may be known as “The Clean Air, Clean Water,
Clean Energy Expert,” but we care about your safety, too. That’s not to say
that if you have a gas furnace, you’re inherently in danger. If you don’t take proper care of that gas furnace, however,
the system itself could become a
Look, we know you want to keep warm in your home, and we
want to help you achieve that comfort. But part of the responsibility of having
a gas furnace or any gas-powered appliance for that matter, is having it
properly maintained. Professional heating maintenance allows our technicians to
fully inspect, clean, and adjust the components of your system, checking for
any repair needs in the process.
As your furnace ages, it’s more prone to certain repair needs, like a cracked heat exchanger. Read on as we dive further into this and why a damaged heat exchanger is a big deal.
Make sure to read this related article to learn more about signs that you need furnace repairs!
Understanding What the Heat Exchanger Does
The heat exchanger of your gas furnace is the device
responsible for actually applying heat to the air that blows into your living
space. Heat exchangers are clamshell-shaped metal chambers that collect
combustion gasses when the furnace burners ignite.
The gasses heat up
the walls of the heat exchanger, and air from your blower fan flows over them.
This air picks up the heat and then keeps traveling through your ductwork into
your living space. This is a very effective process and provides your home with
How Can Heat Exchangers Become Damaged?
Throughout the years, the heat exchangers inside your gas
furnace go through a lot of stress. Every time they’re heated up, the metal
chamber expands, and when they cool down, they contract back down. Over time,
this constant movement can lead to corrosion.
The keywords here are “over time”—this is a problem that is
much more common in aging furnaces than newer ones. Our version of aging is
10-15 years—this is how long most well-designed furnaces last. Corrosion occurs
over time as do other issues. Short-cycling, for instance, can create damage to
other components in your system the longer you allow it to go on, including
heat exchanger damage.
Why Damaged Heat Exchangers Are Bad News
When we talk about “cracks” in the heat exchanger, we’re not
talking about large, noticeable damage. These cracks are more like micro
fissures, often naked to the human eye. But the problem is, they open up when
the heat exchangers get hot, and they can allow combustion gasses—namely carbon
monoxide (CO)—to leak into your living space.
Carbon monoxide poisoning leads to hundreds of deaths and
even fatalities each year in the U.S. and in many cases can be avoided by
taking two important steps: Having CO detectors installed in your home, and
maintaining your gas furnace!