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Can You Run a Furnace With a Cracked Heat Exchanger?

And there are some components inside of your furnace that are easy to repair or replace when things go wrong. But your heat exchanger is not one of them. When your heat exchanger cracks, it is time to replace your entire furnace.

We get a lot of customers inquiring, can you run a furnace with a cracked heat exchanger? The short answer is no, and you need to understand why. You can keep reading to learn more about what the heat exchanger inside of your furnace does and why it is such a problem when the heat exchanger cracks.

How a Heat Exchanger Works

The heat exchanger inside of your furnace is a chamber where the combustion happens between the gas source and the pilot light. Your furnace begins by releasing some gas into the chamber and then igniting the pilot light to create heat that transfers into the air and then blows throughout your home. There are a variety of safety mechanisms in place to make sure that this process happens exactly as it should. The right amount of gas enters the chamber and the gas source is turned off once heating is complete.

What Causes Heat Exchanger Cracks

The heat exchanger inside of your furnace can crack when the combustion process has a flaw. If the pilot light does not ignite when it should, gas continues to release into the chamber and build up. When the pilot light finally ignites, too much gas is in the chamber. Instead of just creating heat, a tiny explosion happens.

Having this happen once or twice won’t crack your heat exchanger, but if it happens repetitively without being addressed, eventually your heat exchanger will sustain damage. It was not designed to work that way. And once a crack begins, you cannot slow down, reverse, or repair the damage.

Dangers of Heat Exchanger Cracks

Once your heat exchanger cracks, gas can begin to leak out into your home. The heat exchanger should be completely airtight to keep the gas within the chamber so that heat can transfer into your home and fumes can transfer away from your home. Even the tiniest cracks in your heat exchanger interrupt this process and allow gas to mix in with otherwise clean air entering your home. Since gas does not have a smell, your family could get very sick without even realizing it.

You can prevent a cracked heat exchanger by scheduling annual maintenance for your gas furnace. You can also stay ahead of any safety risks by having smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors installed in your home. That way if you do have a leak or other issue, the detectors will alert you to the problem so you can get it fixed fast.

Robbins Heating & Air Conditioning serves Colorado Springs and the surrounding area. Contact us to schedule an appointment for AC repairs today.

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