If you’ve ended up here reading this post, you are likely asking yourself: is my gas furnace safe? And the short answer is yes. But it can become unsafe when the gas furnace heat exchanger develops cracks. Gas furnaces are and have been the standard and are used in about 57% of American homes – gas furnaces are the most common central heating system. But they are becoming increasingly less common as more Americans transition to energy-saving alternatives like heat pumps.
So how does a gas furnace heat exchanger crack?
Metal naturally expands as it heats and cools – overtime this expanding and contracting can lead to cracking. Poorly maintained (dirty) furnaces work harder, leading to a higher temperature rise and potential cracking. In sum, poor maintenance can further contribute to cracking.
A gas furnace heat exchanger crack can emit deadly carbon monoxide, which is a poisonous gas that can lead to death. The Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) describes carbon monoxide as an odorless and colorless gas that can cause flu-like symptoms, disorientation, confusion, and even death.
It is critical you take a diagnosis of “crack in the gas furnace heat exchange” seriously. That is likely why you’ve found yourself reading this article. If you have any doubt, a simple infrared camera can identify cracks in the gas furnace heat exchange. Giving you the proof you need to determine: repair or replace?
Gas Furnace Heat Exchange Lifespan
Naturally, you may be thinking – so how long will my gas furnace heat exchanger actually last? Most gas furnaces come with a limited twenty year parts warranty on the heat exchanger. However, heat exchangers have been known to crack as early as 11 years old.
It is for this reason the CDC recommends annual inspection and heating tune-up of your gas furnace by a certified technician. Reputable contractors should offer a standard 25 point inspection and cleaning as part of their heating tune-up. Upton’s heating tune-up includes carbon monoxide testing as part of its 25 point inspection and cleaning. Besides the obvious benefit of regular carbon monoxide testing, tune-ups keep your system clean and prevent breakdown.
Another simple recommendation is the placement of a carbon monoxide detector in your home. Just make sure to regularly replace batteries or install a wired detector by a licensed technician. Upton Air offers annual gas furnace maintenance and carbon monoxide detector installation. You can also do-it-yourself and pickup detectors at Home Depot, Lowe’s and Costco.
Replacing the Gas Furnace Heat Exchange
If your furnace is still under warranty, the heat exchange replacement part will be covered by the manufacturer. You will still need to hire a hvac contractor to service the warranty part. Keep in mind a crack in gas furnace heat exchange is a major breakdown. You will want to weigh the cost to repair versus replace. And in some cases substantial rebates, for gas furnace to heat pump conversion, are available.
If your furnace is currently not working or if it is older and you are concerned about gas furnace safety, we can help. Give us a call to book gas furnace heating maintenance, repair service or a free replacement estimate!