Dec 07

Signs Your Furnace Has A Cracked Heat Exchanger

image of blue furnace flames

Proper furnace care and maintenance is always a good idea. This way, you can avoid heating system problems, such as a cracked heat exchanger. As a homeowner, it is important to have a basic understanding of a heat exchanger. You should know what it does and why it is essential. This way, you know what signs to look out for if you suspect that you have heat exchanger issues.

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What Is A Heat Exchanger?

The heat exchanger is responsible for transferring the heat between fluids to heat or cool your home. This component in your furnace heats the air that is distributed via the ventilation system. It is achieved when the combustible gas in the heat exchanger is collected and heated. Thus, the air temperature also increases.

Signs  Of A Cracked Heat Exchanger

Having a cracked heat exchanger will undoubtedly affect your furnace’s operations. Here are some of the signs that your furnace has a cracked heat exchanger:

Yellowish Flame

gas furnace flame

A gas furnace that works as it should have a blue flame with a slight yellow tip. However, if you notice that the flame has turned yellow and is flickering, you might have a heating system that isn’t working correctly. You might have a dirty burner or a cracked heat exchanger on your hands.

Rust And Cracks

There might be corrosion and cracks on your furnace’s external components. Physical problems seen on the outside could point to internal damage as well.

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Unusual Odors

If you notice a strange smell like formaldehyde, you might have a cracked heat exchanger. This unusual odor can cause health issues like severe headaches. Call a licensed HVAC technician and have your system inspected immediately.


image of soot from home heating system

This happens when carbon accumulates on your furnace interior. Soot results from a unit that does not burn fuel wholly and cleanly because of an improperly adjusted burner or a cracked heat exchanger.

Health Issues

Carbon monoxide can leak through the cracked heat exchanger. It can cause symptoms like drowsiness, nausea, eye and nose irritation, and disorientation. If you only experience this while you are home, then have your system checked right away. Exposure to carbon monoxide can turn lethal if not addressed immediately.


Cracked Heat Exchanger Causes

Some of the most common reasons heat exchangers crack include:


Insufficient airflow often causes overheating. As time passes, your system accumulates dust, dirt, and other particulates. The filter, coils, and blower get clogged, and the air cannot flow as it should. Air is needed to maintain the internal system temperature and absorb excess heat. With the airflow blocked, the internal temperature increases. This overheating can, in turn, cause the heat exchanger to crack.

Worn Control Valves

When the control valves are worn out, the pressure becomes too much for the heat exchanger to handle. As a result, the heat exchanger will incur damages and crack. Make sure to have your system checked by a professional regularly. This way, all potential issues are identified and fixed immediately.

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The Problem With A Cracked Heat Exchanger

Having a cracked heat exchanger brings inconvenience to your home and poses a serious threat to your safety. Heating systems typically use natural gas, heating oil, or propane. When burned, these fossil fuels produce fumes that have soot, water vapor, carbon dioxide, and carbon monoxide. These can be dangerous when inhaled as you and your family could experience health symptoms. Prolonged exposure can also be fatal, so it is best to have your system checked immediately.

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How To Resolve A Cracked Heat Exchanger

Never conduct a do-it-yourself furnace repair project when dealing with a cracked heat exchanger. If you do have a cracked heat exchanger, then the part needs to be replaced. In some cases, you need to have a complete heating system replacement. Either way, professional attention is a must. A licensed technician will thoroughly inspect and test your furnace to find the root cause of the issue. After that, they will recommend appropriate solutions. A pro will also help you with what you need to do to care for your heating system properly.



A cracked heat exchanger damages your heating system and also causes severe repercussions to you and your family’s health. Fortunately, it is preventable. Regular maintenance will ensure that your heat exchanger functions as it should for a long time. For any concerns with your heating system, contact your local trusted HVAC company to help you. They can provide you with possible solutions and preventative steps so you can better care for your furnace.

Call Skylands Energy Service For All Of Your Home Heating Needs

image of skylands energy service logoSkylands Energy Service provides top-notch heating and cooling services throughout Central New Jersey. Our professionally certified and trained technicians offer high-quality services, such as AC maintenance, furnace repairs, boiler installations, ductless systems, and more. All our friendly techs have years of experience and extensive knowledge and skills to conduct accurate and prompt HVAC services at all times.

If you need to have your heating system repaired or replaced, don’t worry. You are in capable hands with Skylands Energy Service. We have the most competitive furnace repair and replacement rates in the area. Rest assured that we can recommend the best make and model to fit your specific needs and budget. Your energy-efficiency, comfort, cost-effectiveness, and indoor air quality are among our top priorities. Schedule a service appointment with us today to receive a free, no-obligation, in-home estimate.

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