In order to prevent issues with your home heating system, it’s recommended that you take good care of it. This is especially the case with the heat exchanger. If the heat exchanger ends up becoming cracked or severely damaged, then major issues could arise. With that said, let’s go into more details about what an exchanger is, why it’s important and how to tell whether or not you have a cracked heat exchanger.

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What Does A Heat Exchanger Do?

A heat exchanger is a component within the heating system. Its function is to transfer heat between fluids to either cool a building down or to heat it up. In a home heating system, the exchanger heats the air that makes its way throughout the ventilation system. The combustible gas will become hotter as it accumulates in the exchanger. Consequently, air temperature becomes hotter. If a heat exchanger becomes cracked, then your heating system will not perform as it should.

Signs Your Furnace Has A Cracked Heat Exchanger

There are certain signs to look for to determine if the heat exchanger has been cracked. The top signs include:

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The Flame’s Appearance Changes

A furnace flame should be blue in appearance. When the flame is blue, it means your heating system is functioning normally. However, if the flame turns yellow, then it may mean that the burner should be cleaned. It could also mean that the exchanger has been cracked. If the flame flickers, the chances are that there is an issue with the unit and you should have it looked at as soon as possible. Call a reputable HVAC company right away.

image of a furnace ignition system



When carbon builds up within the interior of the heating system, then soot accumulates. This happens when the system doesn’t burn the fuel properly. There could be a number of reasons why the fuel isn’t being burned properly, with one of them being that the heat exchanger has been cracked.

Components That Have Cracks And Corrosion

Have a look at the external components of the system. Are there cracks and rust? If the external components have visible damage, then it may mean that there are internal components that are damaged too.


When an exchanger is cracked, then the system can produce an unpleasant odor. This odor can cause health issues, such as severe headaches. If this happens, you’ll want to contact an HVAC company right away. The longer you ignore the problem, the more severe it will get.

image of a man dealing with furance odors and plugging nose


Health Issues

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, poisonous gas that leads to fatalities. When a furnace is improperly vented, it can leak this gas into your home Before reaching the point of fatality, people can experience symptoms that are similar to the flu, including sleepiness, dizziness, and disorientation. However, if these are symptoms are experienced only when physically at home and not when leaving the house, then there may be an issue with your heating system.

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Why Do Heat Exchangers Crack?

Overheating is one of the top reasons that heat exchangers end up cracking. This is usually due to insufficient airflow, which is often because of the lack of maintenance. Also, dust, as dirt and other pollutants buildup within the system, the filters can become clogged. The blowers and coils can become clogged up too. In turn, airflow becomes blocked and this leads to the system not being able to absorb excess heat. When that happens, the internal temperatures increase and then there is a high chance that the exchanger will become cracked.

Another reason why an exchanger may crack is because of control valves that have become worn out. When control valves become worn, the heat exchanger can’t handle the changes in pressure. This is why you should have a professional perform an inspection on a regular basis.

image of a person with a gas mask and carbon monoxide


The Issue With A Cracked Heat Exchanger

Having a damaged heat exchanger is a hassle due to the symptoms associated with it. Not only that, but your personal safety and your home’s safety can be put at risk. Many people use fuel oil, natural gas, or propane to power their heating systems. Such fuels produce fumes when they are burned. The fumes can contain harmful things like water vapor, soot, carbon dioxide, and carbon monoxide, to name a few. If such harmful gases increase, then you and other members of the household may end up experiencing health issues.

Solutions For A Heat Exchanger That Is Cracked

Never attempt a DIY inspection or repair if your exchanger has been damaged. The exchanger will actually need to be replaced if it is cracked, or you may have to replace the entire heating system. Either way, you don’t want to do the inspection or the work yourself. A professional HVAC technician can perform an inspection and they can figure out what exactly the issue is. Afterward, they’ll let you know what the problem is and what solutions are available for you to choose from.

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The entire heating system could become damaged due to a cracked heat exchanger. Not only that, but it can pose potential health problems for the household. Thankfully, this is all preventable with regular maintenance. As long as maintenance is performed, the heat exchanger will remain working properly and should last for years to come. If you have questions or concerns about your heater, then you should contact a professional HVAC contractor. They can tell you what solutions are available and what preventative steps can be taken. The bottom line is the better your heating system is cared for, the longer it will last.

Call Hart Home Comfort For Your Heating Needs Today


Hart Home Comfort offers quality heating and cooling services throughout the area. Our NATE certified technicians have experience with HVAC maintenance, repairs, tuneups, replacements, and installations. Whenever you need HVAC services, you can trust our team of technicians to provide you with fast and accurate solutions.

Do you have a heating system that needs to be replaced or repaired? If so, then contact us today. We provide nothing but the best furnace repair and replacement services. Our HVAC service prices are competitive and we back our work with a guarantee to ensure your satisfaction. Our aim is to improve your comfort, efficiency, and indoor air quality while reducing your energy costs.

Give Hart Home Comfort a call today to schedule an appointment. We offer free, in-home estimates. Call now!

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For any questions about what Hart Home Comfort can do for you, give us a call today. Click here to contact us now or call us at (631) 667-3200 to find out more!