In just about every city in our country, you’re going to find that if the homeowner has a heating system, the majority of them are gas-powered systems. Tacoma residents are certainly no exception. While we may not experience the frigid temperatures that other folks throughout the country do, we do deal with some pretty consistent chilliness, and it’s nice to have a gas-powered system that delivers powerful heat, quickly, without draining your wallet.
There are, of course, risks to using a gas-powered system in your home. Now, we aren’t saying this to panic you. Gas-powered furnaces are not inherently unsafe. In fact, there are a number of safety features built in to ensure its safety in your home. However, there are certainly potential hazards to consider, and one of these is the potential of a cracked heat exchanger. Read on to discover why this is a problem, and what you should know.
The Concern of a Cracked Heat Exchanger
The reason cracked heat exchangers are such an issue, and the reason you should probably consider replacing your entire furnace if you have a cracked heat exchanger, is that there is a potential health hazard involved.
Your heater’s heat exchanger is an extremely important component of your furnace. It’s a metal, clam-shaped type component that’s inside your system. It’s tasked with collecting hot combustion gas from the system’s burners. This head gets transferred to the metal walls of the heat exchanger, causing it to burn hot. Air from the blower then moves around the exchanger, picking up heat before it passes through your vents. From there, leftover combustion is exhausted through a flue outdoors.
If your furnace’s heat exchanger has a crack, then carbon monoxide gas has the opportunity to enter your indoor air, which is a huge health concern. In minor cases, it will make members of your household ill. In the worst-case scenario, this problem can lead to fatalities.
“I Can Just Get a Heat Exchanger Repaired, Right?”
Well, maybe. We mean, sure, you can. But, you may not want to.
You can’t have a heat exchanger repaired reliably, no matter who conducts the repair. Once the structural integrity of the heat exchanger is compromised, it can crack again later. This is a pretty big risk for you to take in your home.
“So, what about replacing it?”
This is a great question! Replacing your cracked heat exchanger is an option, but like repairing it, you might not want to. The thing is, cracked heat exchangers are most likely to occur in aging heating systems—probably 10-15 years old. So if you experience this problem, you’ll want to think about how many more years of life you can even get from the system. It may make the most financial sense to replace the entire system.
If you’re unsure of how to proceed, we invite you to speak to our staff! We’re happy to go over your repair and replacement options with you.
Remember, a great rule of thumb to go by with any furnace repair needs is that if the repair will cost over half of what your furnace is even worth, then economically you should probably just replace the whole system. A great benefit of this is that you’ll have an upgraded furnace that will be highly efficient and cost you less to run from month to month!