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A-Avis Home Services Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. Blog

How to Spot a Cracked Heat Exchanger

We’re in the middle of heating season here in Riverside, CA, and while our heaters don’t see a whole lot of work, this is the time of year when they’re called upon to do their very best. A cracked heat exchanger can put a huge damper on those plans. It’s the shaped metal that sits between the burners and the air chamber. The heat from the gas in the burners heats the metal in the heat exchangers, which in turn heats the air in the chamber which can then be blown into your home with a fan. The heat exchangers also channel all the toxic gasses from the burners safely out the ventilation system. A cracked heat exchanger can send those gasses into your home, which is why you should never run a heater with a cracked exchanger. Instead, if you spot any of the following trouble signs, turn your system off and call in a qualified repair service.

  • Physical Cracks. The easiest sign is if you spot any physical cracks or corrosion on the heat exchanger itself. The toxicity of mis-vented gas and the stress of the heat can also create cracks or corrosion on other parts of the heating system.
  • Strange Smells. The smell of smoke is always a sign that’s something is wrong, and a cracked heat exchanger may be the culprit, More specifically, you may notice an odd chemical smell like formaldehyde, created by the gasses when the heat exchanger cracks.
  • A cracked heat exchange means a less clean burn, which means the flame from the burners it apt to produce smoke and soot that will coat components in the heater.
  • Odd Flame Colors. The flames in your burners should be blue. If they’re yellow or they flicker, it indicates one of several problems, which includes a cracked heat exchanger.

Call the pros at Avis Plumbing, Heating and Air to replace a cracked heat exchanger.

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