What to Know About Cracked Heat Exchangers: Our Guide

As you continue to spend more time at home, you’ll eventually become more acquainted with the different parts of your house that contribute to your comfort.

Whether it’s in your living room, bathroom, bedroom, or kitchen, there are different details that bear a significant impact on your home’s overall environment. From the pillows and mattress that you sleep on to the hot water in your faucets and showerheads, there are indeed many working parts and fixtures that are responsible for making you feel comfortable. 

However, once wintertime sets in, much of the comfort that you feel will mainly come from the heater that helps keep everything warm and cozy within your home. But did you know that it can also be dangerous if you aren’t careful?

The dangers of furnaces (and one particular malfunction that stands out)

While furnaces themselves aren’t inherently dangerous and are responsible for ensuring that households don’t freeze over during cold months, the fact that they use natural gas bears an inherent risk. 

Given that furnaces function through burning natural gas itself (which already bears a risk like any other combustible source), there is an inherent responsibility to be as careful as possible. Unfortunately, many homeowners fail to take the necessary major precautions for the highest levels of safety—a necessary task that extends over to various parts of the average system.

Among the different problems that require due diligence in terms of protection and prevention, there’s one that can be especially hazardous if you don’t take the right precautions: A cracked heat exchanger.

Why cracked heat exchangers are dangerous

Heat exchangers are the metal parts of the insides of furnaces that are responsible for heating the air that moves from the furnace, through the ductwork, and into every room. Typically, their metal chamber is easily recognizable with a clam shape situated in the burners inside the furnace itself.

In simple terms, the exchanger is a vital part of a heating system or furnace that allows it to do the exact job that you need it to do. 

As your furnace continues to heat things up and keep your home safe, it relies on a constant passage of hot combustion gas that is generated from the exchanger until the heating cycle is done. This particular part of the heating process ends up creating toxic air that is contained and properly disposed of through a flue leading it out of the house. 

The main reason a cracked exchanger is a cause for worry lies in the fact that cracks can cause the built-up toxic and heated gases inside the furnace to slip out into the home’s environment. Once years of usage start generating cracks in the exchanger after expansion and contraction (or corrosion due to poor ventilation, conversely), the resulting leakage can cause carbon monoxide poisoning, suffocation, and possible death.

The signs to watch out for

Once you understand the danger of having a cracked heat exchanger, it’s clear that you’ll need to work on being more aware of such a problem so that you can prevent it. If you suspect that you might be dealing with a crack that can put you and your family (or anyone else at home) at risk, remember the acronym PSS for key signs to watch out for: 

  • P: Persistent Carbon Monoxide detector alerts when your furnace starts operating
  • S: Strange clicking sounds after a blower fan turns off whenever you turn on your furnace
  • S: Slight dizziness whenever you turn on your furnace

Fortunately, you can prevent the problem of a cracked heat exchanger from even reaching the three key signs mentioned above by calling Good Guys Home Services’ experts to come over and remedy the issue!


As you continue to depend on your home’s furnace to help you get by during the colder days of the year, it’s important to be especially aware of the dangers that come with cracked heat exchangers. Through the help of this guide and the key points mentioned above, you’ll be able to prevent such a problem from growing until it poses a significant risk to your safety! 

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