HeatingWhat Causes a Heat Exchanger to Crack?

Multiple components work together in your heating system to provide your home with heat. One of these components is the heat exchanger. Like other parts of your heating system, the heat exchanger can wear down, but when a heat exchanger cracks, you can have a potentially serious situation on your hands. This is because a cracked heat exchanger can release the toxic byproducts of your system’s combustion into your home, including gases like carbon monoxide. As such, if you have a cracked heat exchanger, it’s important to call for heating repairs immediately. Since 1977, G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc., has provided comprehensive heating services in Everett, so if you are experiencing an issue, call us today.

What Is a Heat Exchanger?

Heat exchangers transfer heat energy from one medium to another, most times through liquids or gases. In your heating system, the heat exchanger is a metal component made from medium-sized metal tubes. The tubes are hollow and open at both ends. The toxic byproducts of the combustion process flow through the inside of the tubes and are vented to your flue, staying completely separate from the rest of your system. The warm air generated on the outside of the heat exchanger is blown into your home by your system’s blower once the heat reaches the correct temperature.

Causes of Cracking

The main reason a heat exchanger cracks is due to the constant heating and cooling process it endures. This process causes the heat exchanger to constantly expand and contract, wearing down the metal of the component. At some point, the metal will fatigue enough that it cracks. A second reason a heat exchanger can crack is from corrosion and/or rust. If your system isn’t well-maintained, corrosion/rust can develop on the components, including the heat exchanger. Rust eats away at metal, resulting in cracks in your heat exchanger. A third reason a heat exchanger can crack is age. Heat exchangers have an average lifespan of 15-18 years, so if yours has reached this age, it may be time to replace it. Heat exchangers cannot be repaired, so replacement is always required for a cracked heat exchanger.

Operating your heating system with a cracked heat exchanger can be a potentially dangerous situation. Scheduling annual maintenance for your heating system can help you stay ahead of your heating repair. If it’s been a while since your last maintenance appointment, or you are experiencing issues with your heat exchanger, call G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc., and schedule an appointment with one of our experts.


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