Signs Your Furnace Has A Damaged Heat Exchanger


Your furnace is a complex piece of machinery requiring many parts working together to effectively heat your home. Regular heating service Raleigh-based helps keep your furnace in top operating condition and working safely. The heat exchanger is one of the most important parts of a furnace as it blocks dangerous byproducts of combustion such as fumes from entering the blower as it pushes warm air through your home. A heat exchanger can fill for an assortment of reasons including clogged filters, the need for cleaning, and a need for repair, servicing, or replacement.  Heat exchangers can become cracked due to long-term use. When there is a crack in your furnace’s heat exchanger there will be signs to look out for.

Signs Your Furnace’s Heat Exchanger Is Damaged

  • Odd Smells: a damaged heat exchanger will often cause strange odors to spread throughout your home when the heat is on. This smell is hard to miss and has been described as smelling like formaldehyde.
  • Weird Sounds: a working furnace should be relatively quiet with say noises being the typical ones you associate with a functional home heating system. However, when the heat exchanger is damaged there will be out-of-place noises. Listen for rattling, banging, or popping noises. As a heat exchanger is made of metal, any cracks can cause strange sounds when the exchanger becomes hot.  
  • Corrosion and Cracking: a visual inspection of your furnace can often tell you when something is wrong. Damage to various furnace components is a sign that the heat exchanger may also be damaged. Look for corrosion and cracks in the inducer motor or draft diverter box.
  • A Build-Up of Soot: if you suspect your heat exchanger is damaged, look for physical signs in your furnace. While you may not be able to detect any damage to the heat exchanger itself, the increased build-up of soot in and around your furnace’s burners is a sign something is wrong.
  • Different Flame Colors: when your furnace is working you can typically see the flame. Under normal operating conditions, this flame should be blue. If your furnace is creating an orange or yellow flame, this is a sign of an underlying mechanical issue.
  • Carbon Monoxide: CO is a dangerous gas that is both odorless and colorless. In addition, it is also flammable and is toxic to humans and animals. A CO puts your entire family in danger, and it can be released into your home if your furnace has a damaged heat exchanger. A CO alarm can tell you if your home has increased CO levels. To avoid this danger, yearly inspections are advised, so any problems can be corrected before they cause a dangerous gas leak.  

Final Thoughts

If you suspect your furnace’s heat exchanger is damaged, you should contact a professional as soon as possible for repairs or possible furnace replacement. A cracked heat exchanger is not an issue you can ignore as damage to this part of your furnace can cause dangerous gases such as carbon monoxide to leak into your home, which can severely impact your health and well-being. If you suspect your home is unsafe, do not hesitate to leave until proper repairs can be made.