Furnaces are complex machines, and like most complex machines, they have parts that can break from time to time. One part that sometimes becomes damaged is the heat exchanger. This part can crack, leading to a number of symptoms such as booming noises when the furnace turns on, carbon monoxide leaks, and a loss of efficiency.
If your furnace has a broken heat exchanger, it will probably still put heat out into your home. So, this begs the question: should you have the heat exchanger replaced? There's more to this question than you might think. Keep reading for an in-depth look at the answer.
You need to do something about the heat exchanger.
It is not safe to continue operating a furnace with a broken heat exchanger. The crack in the heat exchanger means the flame is in direct contact with the air that is getting blown through your ducts. As such, any vapors or exhaust given off by that flame can make their way into the forced air. One of these exhaust components, carbon monoxide, is particularly insidious. It can lead to fatigue, confusion, headaches, nausea, and even death.
Repairs may or may not be your best option.
So, it's clear you need to do something about the broken heat exchanger. But the question still remains whether repairing the furnace with a new heat exchanger is the solution. If your furnace is new and under warranty, this is an approach your contractor might recommend. The repair will likely be covered under warranty, so you don't need to be concerned about costs. And the rest of the furnace should be in good shape, so you'll get years of additional use out of the furnace once it's fixed.
If your furnace is older and not under warranty, however, you might be better off replacing the furnace. Replacing a heat exchanger is a major repair, and the cost can approach that of buying a new furnace once you account for labor and parts. You may be better off spending money on a new furnace that won't break for many years, rather than repairing one that may just have another breakdown soon.
A broken heat exchanger is an issue that needs to be dealt with sooner rather than later. Whether you do so by repairing or replacing your furnace is really up to you and your HVAC contractor. Ask them for an estimate for both services, which should go a long way in helping you make this decision.
For more information on furnace repair, contact a professional near you.
A few years ago, I could tell that we were having serious furnace problems. In addition to dealing with a house that was constantly too cold or too warm, we were also plagued by a noisy, smelly furnace that seemed to have trouble on a daily basis. Unfortunately, I didn't know enough about furnaces at the time to spot the problems quickly. One day, the entire system died, and it was beyond repair. After having that experience, I learned a lot about HVAC systems, so that I could troubleshoot future systems. This website is all about teaching you what you need to know so that you don't end up in the same situation.