How Cracked Heat Exchangers Can Lead to Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Every year, many families put themselves at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning due to damaged and cracked heat exchangers in their furnace. Some Forced air type furnaces come with a stainless-steel condensing heat exchanger that releases warm air into the house. When working properly, the exchanger is supposed to separate the combustion process from the air that enters your home, but this component can break down over time, which can lead to the spread of carbon monoxide. This odor-less, color-less gas can lead to flu-like symptoms, a loss of consciousness, seizures and even death if you’re exposed for a long period of time. Learn more about the dangers of damaged heat exchangers and what you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones.


Why Heat Exchangers Fail

Heat exchangers aren’t designed to last a lifetime and will fail at a certain point. As this piece of metal heats up, blowers carry the warm air out of the furnace and into your home. Every time your furnace turns on and off, the metal will expand when it heats up and contract when it cools down. But this metal will deteriorate over time as it continues to expand and contract. Eventually, it will crack apart, which means there’s nothing separating the combustion process from the air you breathe, which can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.


How to Recognize the Signs of a Failing Heat Exchanger

It’s nearly impossible to know if you have a damaged heat exchanger without visually inspecting the inside of your furnace. Unless you have some extensive HVAC experience under your belt, you’ll need to consult with a professional to have your home’s furnace inspected. If they find that your heat exchanger is damaged, they can easily repair this part of your furnace by either replacing the heat exchanger or the entire furnace. Heat exchangers are designed to last anywhere from 10 to 20 years, but these numbers can vary based on the type and how often you use your furnace.

If you fail to have your furnace heat exchanger inspected on a regular basis, you could expose your loved ones and yourself to carbon monoxide. You should install carbon monoxide detectors in your home, but this will not help you stop carbon monoxide from leaking into your home.


The Dangers of Exposure to Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless, making it extremely difficult to detect. It may be several days before you realize this gas is leaking into your home. If you have a leak, short-term exposure to carbon monoxide can lead to flu-like symptoms, including headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and chest pain.

To make sure your home is free of carbon monoxide, you need to have your furnace inspected by a professional at least once a year. An HVAC repair specialist can help you keep an eye out for damage to your furnace’s heat exchanger. Stay safe and make sure your home is free of carbon monoxide by calling the pros at A-1 Guaranteed today!