The heat exchanger is one of the major parts of your furnace. If the heat exchanger is damaged, you might have to spend a lot of money to get it repaired or replaced. If you maintain the exchanger properly, you reduce the risk of furnace problems. Here's how the heat exchanger works, how a furnace maintenance technician checks for damage to it, and how the exchanger is cleaned.
How The Heat Exchanger Works
The heat exchanger is the part of your furnace where the burners and blower do the work of heating the air and blowing it through the ducts. The heat exchanger is a sealed area that holds heat and toxic gases such as carbon monoxide. The toxic gases are released through the flue and the heat is blown through your house.
How A Heat Exchanger Is Damaged
Since the exchanger is near the burners, the exchanger can get combustion debris buildup on it. The exchanger might even crack due to constant expansion and contraction when the burners operate. However, this is more likely when the airflow is restricted and the exchanger gets too hot. Airflow restriction happens when the furnace filter gets clogged with dust. Something as simple as a clogged, dusty filter could cause expensive damage to the heat exchanger.
When the heat exchanger goes bad, you might hear odd noises, smell unusual odors, or see a lot of soot on the burners and combustion area. If the exchanger cracks, carbon monoxide could leak out and cause your alarm to go off.
How A Heat Exchanger Is Maintained
A furnace maintenance technician can check and clean the heat exchanger during an annual furnace tune-up. To do this, they may need to pull out the furnace control board, burners, and blower. This is a good time to clean the blower too so it doesn't blow dust on the clean heat exchanger when you put the parts back together.
Once all of the parts are out of the way, the furnace maintenance technician can inspect the heat exchanger. They'll probably need to use a mirror to see the top and all of the sides. Newer furnaces sometimes have a secondary heat exchanger, and it is difficult to see without an inspection mirror.
The maintenance technician looks for dust, soot, rusty areas, and cracks. If cracks and rusted areas are found, they may discuss the need for a new heat exchanger. However, if the exchanger is only dirty, the furnace maintenance technician can scrub off the buildup to get the exchanger clean and ready to operate efficiently.
To finish the maintenance work related to the heat exchanger, the technician may also replace the filter to make sure it is free from dust. They might also test the carbon monoxide alarm and replace the batteries or remind you to do so. This ensures you'll be notified if the exchanger should happen to crack and leak the dangerous gas into your house.
To learn more about furnace repair, contact a company like Paris Heating and Cooling.
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