The Dangers of a Cracked Firebox in Your Furnace

The Dangers of a Cracked Firebox in Your Furnace

If your home relies on a furnace for heat, you may be sitting on top of a dangerous secret. Inside your furnace is a part called a firebox or a heat exchanger. The component is responsible for actually warming the air that will be pushed through your ducts and around your home. If this part is damaged, however, it can quickly turn deadly.

How Does a Heat Exchanger Work?

This part holds a set of tubes or coils that repeatedly loop through the airflow inside your furnace to heat the air. Inside your heat exchanger, a combustible material, such as natural gas, is burned to heat the tubes. A blower motor pushed the air across these heated tubes or coils and into your ducts, where it will circulate around your home.

Over time, your heat exchanger can crack or separate, which can be dangerous. As your heat exchanger heats up and cools down, the metal it is made of expands and contracts. The stress of this expanding and contracting can cause stress to the metal and lead to cracks over time. While this deterioration is normal, that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be addressed.

Why Is a Cracked Heat Exchanger Dangerous?

Like any machinery, a furnace is safest when it is in good repair and has no damaged parts. Your heat exchanger is a particularly vital part of your furnace, so it can cause serious issues when it is cracked. Here are some of the hazards of a cracked heat exchanger.

A Damaged Firebox Can Leak Carbon Monoxide

A colorless, odorless, tasteless gas, carbon monoxide is a deadly threat in your home. When your heat exchanger cracks, it can leak carbon monoxide into your home, and potentially raise the levels of this gas to deadly amounts. If your family is exposed to high levels of carbon monoxide, they may experience headaches, weakness, nausea and vomiting, irregular heartbeat, chest pain, disorientation, and hearing loss. Over-exposure can even be fatal.

Your Furnace Will Need Replacement

Because of the obvious dangers a cracked heat exchanger can pose, your gas company may “red tag” your furnace if their technician discovers a cracked heat exchanger. Catching a cracked heat exchanger early can protect your family from the dangers it can pose. Rather than waiting for the gas company to condemn your furnace, you can schedule a replacement service and talk with our qualified furnace repair experts to find the best new system for your needs.

What Are the Signs of a Cracked Heat Exchanger?

As a homeowner, it can be difficult to know exactly what is wrong with your heating system. There are some signs that may indicate a cracked heat exchanger, however. These signs include:

  • Corrosion or cracks on other components: If you see that other parts of your furnace have cracked or corroded, it is possible that your heat exchanger may also be damaged.
  • Soot: Soot, or a black carbon buildup, can happen inside your furnace if it isn’t burning cleanly. Incomplete combustion can lead to soot, and may be caused by a cracked heat exchanger.
  • Water on the floor: This can indicate a furnace condensation issue, but water on the floor also can signal a cracked firebox.
  • Strange smells: Malfunctioning furnace parts can cause strange and unpleasant smells. Often, the smell of formaldehyde is a common complaint.

If you notice any of these signs, get in touch with our Van Nuys furnace repair professionals. We can diagnose any issues with your heating system and recommend your next steps to ensure that your home is safe and efficient. Our friendly team at JMS Air Conditioning and Heating is available 24/7 for your heating emergencies.

Schedule a service call today! Contact our office by calling (818) 423-4494.


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