Every gas furnace will have a heat exchanger, which plays a crucial role in providing heat to your home. If this part breaks down unexpectedly, it can cause a major problem that will require immediate repair or replacement of the part. Here is what you should know about the heat exchanger if you have a gas furnace in your home
Heat Exchanger Operation
It's easy to explain how heat exchangers work. The gas from the furnace will flow into a combustion chamber where it's ignited, which is where heat is produced. Since there is deadly carbon monoxide and other harmful gases in the heat at this point, the blower can't send the heat through your home just yet.
The air that has been heated within the unit's combustion changes needs to be sent to the furnace's heat exchanger. This part is essentially a closed metal tubing system that circulates air from your home, which isolates the dangerous gases while allowing the heat to pass through. The dangerous gases then safely leave your house through a component known as the flue.
Heat Exchanger Damage
A heat exchanger will be subjected to a lot of temperature changes when your furnace is being used. It can get very hot while heat is actively being produced for your home, and then cool down when your furnace is off by getting the home to the proper temperature. The problem with this is that metal will naturally expand and contract when it gets hot and cools down, and when metal does this thousands of times over its lifespan, it will eventually experience fatigue. This causes the metal to become weak, and can eventually lead to the part cracking along seams of where the part was manufactured. There are also corrosive substances within the exhaust fumes that are bad for a heat exchanger. Over the years, the part will start to rust and become damaged.
Unfortunately, you can't really prevent heat exchanger damage from happening, since it is a natural side effect of creating heat for your home. You just need to be aware of the problems and prepare to have the part repaired or replaced if necessary. Ignoring a damaged heat exchanger can put everyone in your home at risk, since it can cause toxic gases to seep into the home's air.
Make sure to have carbon monoxide detectors installed around your home to let you know that there is a problem with the heat exchanger. It will also help to have your furnace inspected regularly so that the part can be replaced prior to it completely failing.
Talk to a heating repair professional if you have more questions.