Preventing Premature Damage To Your Furnace's Heat Exchanger

The services of a functional furnace are essential when it comes to maintaining a comfortable temperature within your home. Modern furnaces are made up of many different parts, but few play as a critical a role as the heat exchanger.

A heat exchanger is a looped set of coils that house the air used during the combustion process. The air inside the heat exchanger can be contaminated with gases like carbon monoxide, so the air that is pushed into your home runs across the surface of the heat exchanger in order to be heated to the proper temperature in order to prevent contamination.

If your heat exchanger cracks, then your family could breathe in contaminated (and potentially deadly) air. Here are two things that cause premature damage to a furnace system's heat exchanger, and some simple ways you can prevent this damage in the future.

1. Poor airflow.

One of the easiest ways to damage your furnace's heat exchanger is to forget to change the air filter on a regular basis. When air cannot move freely through your furnace's filter, it cannot be heated properly and pushed into your home.

The heat exchanger will need to operate at a higher temperature in order to maintain your thermostat setting, and this additional workload could stress the metal used to fabricate the heat exchanger. To prevent cracks caused by stress, be sure that you are regularly swapping out a damaged or dirty air filter.

2. A furnace that is too large.

When it comes to your home's furnace, bigger isn't better. A furnace that is too large for your home's square footage will heat your living space very quickly, causing the furnace to short cycle. Short cycling creates repeated bursts of heat that run through the heat exchanger. The heat exchanger heats and cools very rapidly, which can create undue stress on the metal used during the manufacturing of the part.

Excessive and repeated heating and cooling can cause the metal to crack, rending your furnace's heat exchanger susceptible to toxic gas leaks. If your furnace kicks on and off constantly because it is too large for your home, consider investing in a smaller heating unit to protect your family from contaminated air.

Understanding the critical role that a heat exchanger plays in maintaining the safety of your home allows you to see why preventing premature damage to this component should be a priority. Make sure you have a fresh air filter and a furnace that is sized appropriately to avoid damage to your heat exchanger in the future. Contact a heating contractor in your area for more information.