Gas Furnaces: Cracked Heat Exchangers
The most common reason for a natural gas frnace to leak carbon monoxide is from the Heat Exchanger. The heat exchanger is the only wall separating the toxic flue gases from the supply air. If a crack develops in the heat exchanger, there is a potential for carbon monoxide gas to leak over to the supply side and be blown throughout your rooms. Since carbon monoxide gas is odorless, the human senses will not detect its presence. During a maintenance call, our tech will inspect your heat exchanger for rust and cracks.
If there is a crack in a heat exchanger there may not be carbon monoxide present right away. A very dangerous misconception is that if there is a crack in the heat exchanger but no carbon monoxide present at the time of the check up, the furnace is still safe to run. In fact, at any time during the use of the furnace carbon monoxide may suddenly and without warning appear. As the furnace runs it begins to burn dirtier which can create the gas. A crack in the heat exchanger is a pathway for the gas to escape through, and leak out into the home. As the gas goes through the crack, and the metal continues to heat up, the hole can grow larger quickly! What may have been only 1 or 2 parts per million, can rapidly become 300 parts per million or higher!
How does carbon monoxide harm you?
Carbon Monoxide prevents oxygen from being used in your body and can harm the central nervous system, and even your heart.
Everyone is at risk of being poisoned when exposed to the gas but individuals with existing health problems such as heart disease, lung problems, are at risk of succumbing faster. Infants, children, and pregnant women are also at a higher risk.
Longevity, and Furnace Maintenance
Gas Furnace on average will last 15 years, before excessive damage or potential cracks on your heating systems heat exchanger. Newer systems have stainless heat exchangers with lifetime warranty, with is an important option when looking to replace your heating system. Dirty filters, poor air flow are some of a few reasons that heat exchangers fail early.
Having a certified technician inspect and perform an annually maintenance will go a long way in keeping your system working efficiently for years to come.
For more information about a gas furnace heating maintenance or questions, feel free to email us at [email protected]