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Dangers of Cracked Heat Exchangers: Why Furnace Maintenance is Essential

As summer winds down and the crisp fall weather approaches, many people enjoy the change of season with pumpkins, pumpkin spice lattes (pumpkin spice everything, really), and changing over their décor to welcome the end-of-year string of holidays. It's understandable that furnace maintenance is far from the first thing on most people's minds. But while home maintenance tasks can sometimes be a bit of a pain, it can potentially be the thing that saves your life if your furnace has dangerous hidden damage. Skipping furnace maintenance could potentially lead to the formation of cracks in your heat exchanger, something that should not be taken lightly.

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Why a Cracked Heat Exchanger is Dangerous

  • Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Gas furnaces naturally emit carbon monoxide (CO), nitrous oxide, and sulfur dioxide as byproducts of combustion. Your furnace utilizes built-in vents to usher these toxic gases outdoors and safely away from your home. However, if there is a crack in your heat exchanger, those gases can leak and be released into your home.

Carbon monoxide is particularly dangerous because it is tasteless, colorless and odorless, and breathing it can lead to sickness and even death. While all homes should have CO detectors, these devices do not stop the spread of this deadly gas; like a smoke detector, it only warns you of the gas’s presence.

Scheduling a yearly maintenance check-up on your furnace protects your family from the dangers of cracked heat exchangers and carbon monoxide poisoning. Your HVAC technician will ensure that there is adequate combustion in the burner so that CO cannot build up within your heat exchanger, and that your system’s ventilation is secure so toxic gases can’t harm your family. Keep your family safe, and contact a licensed professional to inspect your heating unit.

  • Furnace Fires

Carbon monoxide poisoning is not the only possible danger a cracked heat exchanger presents. If combustible gas builds up in your heating unit and is released into your home through a fracture, it can lead to a potentially deadly furnace fire. It is essential to make sure your unit is performing at the highest level possible to avoid an unpredictable blaze.

Furnace fires are not only threatening to your safety, but also extremely expensive to recover from. You may have to repair damage to your home or replace cherished possessions. Don’t take the risk! Be sure to schedule an annual maintenance check on your furnace.

How Can I Know If My Heat Exchanger is Cracked?

The simplest and most reliable way to be sure that your furnace's heat exchanger is in good condition is to have your furnace serviced regularly. Here at Quality Degree, we recommend that you schedule a furnace maintenance appointment at least once per year in the late summer or early fall, right before you begin needing to turn it on for the season.

Though the prospect of a cracked heat exchanger may seem daunting, the team at Quality Degree is always here to make sure you and your family are receiving the best HVAC service possible. Our specialists have been offering quality air conditioning and heating services since 1996 and can give you peace of mind that your furnace is working correctly!


Give us a call at (610) 600-1108 or contact us online to schedule furnace maintenance today.


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