It is always tempting for homeowners to address problems with their heater themselves, instead of paying for a professional to do it for them. In some cases, this is actually quite possible. In the case of the heat exchanger, it is certainly not. The heat exchanger is one of the most vital parts of a heating system. It also happens to be one of the most difficult to fix. Let’s take a look at what the heat exchanger is, what it does, and why you absolutely need to have a professional fix it for you.
What is the Heat Exchanger?
In a combustion-based home heating system, whatever fuel that powers the system is burned by a burner assembly at the bottom of the heating unit. The burning fuel gives off heat, but it also creates toxic combustion byproducts like nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide. These gases are quite dangerous to humans, and are fatal in large enough quantities. Thankfully, the heat exchanger is there to direct the gases out of the house.
The heat exchanger is a tube that extends from the burners to the exhaust flue. Along the way, it passes through the air handler that circulates air throughout the house. As the combustion gases travel through the heat exchanger, the heat radiates through the tube and into the air being circulated through the house. The combustion gases, however, remain trapped in the tube and are eventually vented out of the exhaust flue. This is how your heating system heats your house, if you’re using a combustion-based forced-air system like a furnace.
The problem is that as a heat exchanger gets older, it begins to develop small cracks under the strain of so much heat. These cracks can cause major issues, including feeding too much oxygen to the burners and even venting combustion gases into the home’s air supply. This can cause fires and poison the occupants of the house. Once these cracks occur, they are extremely difficult to repair. Even if they are repaired, it is almost inevitable that other cracks will soon develop. If you have a problem with your heat exchanger, you should have a professional look at it and decide what the best option is for fixing or replacing it.
If you are having heat exchanger troubles, call JW Heating and Air. We provide heating repair throughout Los Angeles.