Heat exchangers are present in all gas furnaces. Gas is ignited and used to heat up the heat exchanger. After the heat exchanger is hot, the air around the exchanger is warmed. This air will then be distributed throughout the system. Gas furnaces will last anywhere between ten to twenty years, during this lifetime heat exchangers will heat up and cool down thousands of times. Eventually the structural integrity of the metal will give in and the metal will break. These breaks usually occur as small cracks and holes in the heat exchanger.
A cracked heat exchanger is very dangerous for two major reasons. First, Carbon Monoxide could leak out of the furnace and into the home. Second, gas could leak out of the furnace and into the home. Carbon Monoxide (or CO) is a byproduct of combustion and poisonous. Every home with gas HVAC equipment or appliances should be equipped with a CO detector as well as a smoke detector. In addition to having these two detectors, every home with a gas furnace should be inspected annually by a certified HVAC technician. Inspections and detectors can keep your family safe and give you peace of mind. If you do not have a CO Detector or have not had your gas furnace equipment maintenanced or inspected in over a year, contact your local HVAC company and have your equipment taken of care today.