A heat exchanger is the component of your furnace that is heated up when the burners are ignited. Generally a furnace heat exchanger is made of metal in the form of either walls or tubing, and the inside collects the toxic flue gases and emits them out of the furnace exhaust. The cooler air of the house actually passes over the outside of the heat exchanger—since the metal walls absorb the heat from the gas—and the heat transfers into the air. Afterward, the blower pushes the air back into the ductwork and redistributes it into the house again. This process is repeated many times until the air in your home reaches the desired temperature.
Why Your Furnace Heat Exchanger Is So Important
Of course, your furnace heat exchanger is one of the most important aspects of your heating system because it actually transfers the heat from the combustion of fuel in your furnace to the air in your home. However, it’s also crucially important because it handles the toxic byproducts of your furnace. If not properly maintained, the furnace heat exchanger has the potential for a carbon monoxide leak. If it develops a crack, the carbon monoxide—which would usually be vented harmlessly through the flue—will seep into the air in your home. This is a dangerous and potentially fatal situation for you and your family. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas which is toxic to humans and, at high levels, can be deadly within minutes.
Note: If you or anyone in your family experiences nausea, dizziness, head pain, weakness, vomiting, chest pains, and/or confusion and believe it’s linked to carbon monoxide poisoning, evacuate immediately and call the fire department. Do not go back into the house for anything under any circumstances—a CO leak should be handled just like a fire because it is equally deadly.
The Good News About Your Furnace Heat Exchanger
There are actually a number of things you can do to both reduce the likelihood of cracks in your furnace heat exchanger and keep your family safe from potential CO poisoning:
- Have regular furnace maintenance performed at the start of every heating season—this will ensure your heating system is in tip-top shape and there are no cracks in your furnace heat exchanger or other things you need to worry about.
- Install a carbon monoxide detector— much like a smoke alarm, this will alert you if the levels of CO in your home reach a point where they could be life threatening, letting you and your family evacuate safely.
- Repair or replace your furnace heat exchanger as necessary—if your heat exchanger is old or in disrepair, don’t ignore it! This is a top priority for your home and should always be handled by highly trained HVAC experts immediately.
If you have questions about your furnace heat exchanger or you want to schedule furnace maintenance in Monmouth, Middlesex, or Ocean County, New Jersey, contact the professionals at Arctic Air Conditioning. We have provided exceptional HVAC services to the residents in our area since 1977, and we have the expertise to keep your home safe and comfortable for seasons to come. Call us today!