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What Are Possible Causes of Cracks in a Heat Exchanger?

Heat Exchanger

Troubleshooting/problem solving time! Your heat exchanger is cracked. You may be asking one of two questions: 1) So what? 2) How did that happen?

To answer the first question, a cracked heat exchanger could spread the deadly odorless and colorless gas carbon monoxide throughout your home, which can lead to tragic results.

To answer the second question, let’s stay in troubleshooting/problem solving mode and discuss how this might have happened:

Normal Wear and Tear

With regular use, the metal in your heat exchanger will expand and contract. Because this is simply a natural process, there is no way to prevent it, but the rate at which cracks form is influenced by a number of factors including installation methods and maintenance.

Condensation Buildup

If the water in your heater is not draining properly and starts to build up, it may lead to rust. Rusty metal is more prone to stress cracks due to the normal expansion and contraction of the heat exchanger.

Frequent Startup and Shutdown Cycling

If your home is losing heat due to poor insulation, your heater may be starting up and shutting down frequently to keep up with temperature control. This continual cycling leads to more frequent expansion and contraction in the heat exchanger and puts more stress on it, which can lead to cracks.

Reduced Airflow

Dirty air filters are the biggest cause of reduced airflow to your heater. When there’s reduced airflow, your heater retains heat and significantly increases the internal temperature of your heater. This leads to larger swings of expansion and contraction in the heat exchanger.

Now that you know the possible causes of a cracked heat exchanger, you can impress your friends when they ask you why you’re getting your heater serviced.

Brummitt Heating & Cooling knows heat exchangers crack. More importantly, we know what to do about it, so you and your family can stay warm in a safe home. Contact us today if you need a troubleshooting/problem solving expert to inspect your heat exchanger for cracks.