February 16, 2023

The heat exchanger in a furnace is one of the most critical components of a heating system. It is responsible for transferring heat from the furnace to the living space. When it is corroded or otherwise damaged, it creates serious issues with your home’s comfort and safety. If you suspect your furnace’s heat exchanger in Arlington Heights, IL is damaged, act quickly. Here are six signs of a damaged furnace heat exchanger and how to fix it.

1. Unusual Odors

If you notice any odd smells coming from your furnace, investigate the source of the odor as soon as possible. Common causes of furnace odors can include burning dust, mold, or oil. If you notice a musty smell in the air, this could signify that your heat exchanger has broken down and is leaking gases like carbon monoxide.

2. Formaldehyde Odors

Furnaces producing formaldehyde odors indicate a damaged heat exchanger and should be investigated immediately. Formaldehyde is a toxic, odorless gas that causes serious health risks commonly found in household and construction materials and combustion products like car exhaust fumes. Contact an HVAC technician at IBBOTSON Heating & Air Conditioning Co. for further analysis if you smell formaldehyde odors near your furnace.

3. Corrosion and Cracks

One of the most common signs of damage to a heat exchanger is corrosion developing from flue gases or condensation. This corrosion can lead to cracks in the heat exchanger. If the corrosion is left untreated, it can weaken or compromise the structural integrity of the heat exchanger, leading to dangerous levels of carbon monoxide in the home.

To prevent further damage and restore the efficiency of your furnace, call for prompt repair of any cracks that may have formed due to corrosion. This involves removing affected portions of the heat exchanger and replacing them with new ones. Depending on the severity of the corrosion, you may need to replace other components associated with your furnaces, such as the flue pipes or controls.

4. Change in the Flame’s Appearance

One of the telltale signs of damage to a furnace heat exchanger is an abnormal change in the color of the flame, which should be all blue or almost completely blue. An abnormal flame has an orange or yellow coloring. If you see these changes, the heat exchanger is damaged and needs to be replaced or repaired. Also, the heat exchanger’s cracks cause changes in the furnace’s combustion process, causing the production of toxic fumes. Have your furnace inspected by a qualified technician if you notice any changes in the flame’s normal appearance.

5. Soot Buildup

Soot is an accumulation of fine solid particles created when the combustion process within the furnace is incomplete. If the heat exchanger is damaged, the combustion process is affected. As a result, soot accumulates on the furnace’s interior walls.

6. Water Collects on the Floor Around the Furnace

Another sign indicating that the heat exchanger is damaged is water collecting on the floor around the furnace. This suggests that heated air escaped from the exchange and caused condensation on nearby surfaces. In this situation, contact a professional HVAC technician to repair your system. If left unaddressed, the broken heat exchanger could lead to major safety and operational risks. The system’s efficiency will be significantly lowered since the damaged heat exchanger no longer transfers heat effectively.

4 Tips for Maintaining a Furnace Heat Exchanger

Contact a qualified professional for further assistance if you have questions or concerns about caring for your furnace heat exchanger. The technician will perform the following functions to keep your heat exchanger operating optimally.

1. Regularly Inspect the Unit

Regular inspection of the interior of the furnace heat exchanger ensures there are no signs of corrosion, rust, or wear that could indicate a problem. The technician can also check the air supply and return lines for signs of corrosion and ensure all electrical connections are tight and secure.

2. Clean the Unit

Periodically use a vacuum or compressed air to blow out any dust and debris accumulated in the furnace heat exchanger. This will help ensure optimal performance and efficiency.

3. Check the Fuel Supply

Make sure there is an adequate amount of fuel being supplied and enough ventilation for proper combustion. Your technician will always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when replacing or adjusting the fuel supply.

4. Make Adjustments

If necessary, the technician can make adjustments. This might include changing air filters or cleaning the condensate drain.

Contact Us

If you’re worried that your furnace heat exchanger is showing signs of damage, immediately contact our qualified and experienced HVAC technicians at IBBOTSON Heating & Air Conditioning Co.. At our company, we have experienced and knowledgeable HVAC technicians who can inspect your furnace heat exchanger to identify any potential problems. They will diagnose the issue and suggest the best course of action for repair. In addition to repairs, our team provides HVAC maintenance and installation. We also offer indoor air quality solutions. Contact IBBOTSON Heating & Air Conditioning Co. for all your HVAC needs at your home in Arlington Heights, IL.

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