Skip navigation


Serving Staten Island's Heating and A/C needs since 1950


Why a Cracked Heat Exchanger Is a Dangerous Issue

dog-under-blanketIt’s hard to determine if a furnace’s heat exchanger is cracked by a visual assessment alone. That’s what you should turn to a professional for. An expert can find and diagnose a crack quickly.

If you suspect your heat exchanger could be cracked, it’s important to address it immediately. If you’re in Staten Island, contacting Bob Mims Heating and Air Conditioning for further help is a great way to get your heater repairs in Staten Island taken care of. Read on to learn more about this and why it’s a dangerous issue to have!

Why a Cracked Heat Exchanger Is a Problem

Your heat exchanger holds combustion gases which allows it to heat the air that is blown into your home. If there is a crack in this component, it can allow those gases to enter your home. This can include carbon monoxide.

Carbon monoxide poisoning can create worrying symptoms like unexplained headaches, dizziness, nausea, breathlessness, unconsciousness, fatigue, and vision problems. Because this can be a potentially life-threatening situation for your entire household, turn off your system and follow all safety precautions to stop carbon monoxide from leaking through your furnace. After you’ve ensured the system is off, contact a professional to address repairing or replacing the heat exchanger.

Finding the Warning Signs of a Crack

The main reasons a heat exchanger cracks are due to corrosion or rust, or age. The average lifespan of a furnace is 15 years. If the furnace is reaching that age, there’s a high chance it could crack. Here are some symptoms that indicate a cracked heat exchanger:

Flame Isn’t Blue

The furnace flame should always be blue. If the flame is any color other than blue, it means something isn’t functioning right. While soot build up or rust could cause the flame to deviate from its normal blue hue, it’s the most obvious indication something is wrong and needs to be addressed. If you see orange or yellow flame shades, turn off the system and contact a professional for further inspection.

Increased Soot

Soot is a byproduct of incomplete combustion, which occurs when the supply of air or oxygen is poor. A certain amount of soot is normal. However, if black soot is found near where the furnace connects to the ducts, this could indicate a cracked heat exchanger. Since high levels of soot impact the heating capacity of the furnace, it’ll take more power to heat the air, leading to a higher energy bill.

Strong Smell

If you smell a sulfur-like odor, turn off the system right away and ventilate the home. Fumes that smell like sulfur or rotten eggs are toxic and should not be inhaled. Any strange odors coming from your furnace should be addressed immediately.

Visible Wear and Tear

When the outer components of your furnace show signs of wear and tear like cracks and rust, there’s a good chance the inside is affected as well. Stress cracks occur from the excess strain from expansion and contracting. These stress cracks cause weak areas and bends in the metal. Furnaces without adequate airflow overheat and eventually crack, leading to a cracked heat exchanger.

Any signs associated with a cracked heat exchanger should be evaluated by a professional who can determine the exact cause. If your heat exchanger is cracked, it’s important not to run the system until it has been repaired or replaced. Annual maintenance can help detect problems before they become major issues.

We are your trusted source for heater repairs and servicing needs. Serving Staten Island’s Heating and A/C needs since 1955. Contact us today for an appointment.

Comments are closed.