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A damaged heat exchanger can be a significant cause of carbon monoxide poisoning in Hillview, KY. Read on to discover the signs that your heat exchanger may have a problem that requires immediate repairs.

What Is a Heat Exchanger?

Of the many parts in your furnace, the heat exchanger is the primary component responsible for warming the air. As the furnace burns fuel, it heats the exchanger. Then, the circulating fan pushes air through the heat exchanger, warming it up before pushing heat out to the house.

During regular system maintenance, a technician will inspect and clean your exchanger. This is an important part of maintenance service because of the danger of noxious gases leaking into your home. If you have any of the symptoms of a damaged heat exchanger, call a certified technician immediately to inspect your system.

Physical Signs of Wear

If you look at your furnace and see physical signs of wear or aging, there is an increased risk that you have a damaged heat exchanger. Manufacturers design furnaces to last roughly 15 to 20 years when you maintain them properly. However, every component in the furnace will eventually wear out, requiring repair or replacement.

As you look at your furnace, check for any signs of rust or other corrosion buildup. Also, look for cracks in the walls of the furnace. If you notice any of these, point it out to your technician during regular maintenance.

Signs of Water Around Your Furnace

As your furnace cycles, it’ll eventually create some condensation. When your system works properly, the drip pan underneath catches it and drains it out.

If you notice either pooling water anywhere under your system or what looks like dried water spots on the floor, you may have a problem. The cause of this is a clogged condensate line, but a cracked heat exchanger is another likely culprit.

People in Your Home Falling Ill

Most people don’t think about the possible connection between a faulty heat exchanger and someone in their home not feeling well. However, there are some symptoms you should know that point to the need for a furnace inspection. These include:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Eye or nose irritation
  • Sleepiness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Disorientation

The Mayo Clinic reports that these are all signs of carbon monoxide poisoning that may require immediate medical attention. If you need to see a health-care provider, call for a professional carbon monoxide evaluation to ensure your system is working properly before you return home. Finally, be sure you have a functioning carbon monoxide detector in your home.

Foul Smells

Your furnace should not emit much odor if it’s functioning properly. When you first switch it on at the beginning of the cold season, a faint burning smell may indicate you didn’t clean it before this initial cycle.

However, a constant chemical smell like formaldehyde is a key indicator of a significant problem. If you notice such a smell accompanied by headaches or nausea, you could have a serious issue.

Soot Buildup

During regular maintenance, your technician will look in the burning chamber and inspect it for signs of wear. If they find a buildup of black soot, something isn’t burning properly. Common issues include broken or cracked heat exchangers, as well as improperly adjusted burners.

How to Fix It

Regardless of why your heat exchanger breaks, it requires replacement. Trained professionals are the only ones who should attempt this repair in order to prevent further damage and greater risk. If your system is nearing the end of its useful life, you may need to replace your entire system to reduce continued repair costs.

Regular maintenance is the best way to catch a cracked or broken heat exchanger early and extend the overall life of your furnace. Call to schedule your furnace maintenance with One Choice Mechanical, LLC, today.

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