What is a Heat Exchanger?

Protecting Your Home From Carbon Monoxide

Have you had an technician inspect your unit within the last year? If not, you may be at risk for carbon monoxide leaking into your home. A heat exchanger uses gas to heat the air. This part keeps intake and exhaust separate from the air circulating in your home. This is absolutely necessary for the prevention of toxic gases entering the house, which can be fatal. Heat exchangers are typically found in heating units, gas dryers, and heated pools.

Heat exchangers work by transferring heat from the combustion chamber through a metal surrounding into the circulating air. When you turn the heater on, burners inside the exchanger ignite and heat up the surrounding metal container. Return ducts inside your home draw cool air in, brings the air to the exchanger, and heat the air by running it past the heated metal. The air then goes back out into your home.

Problems with the exchanger

This constant heating and cooling of the exchanger causes the wall to become brittle very quickly. Think of bending a piece of metal back and forth multiple times, eventually it snaps. The walls protecting your home from the dangerous gases crack, allowing those gases to get into your circulating air. This is why having a carbon monoxide detector in your home is very important. There is little warning if there is a leak, and it can become fatal if enough gets in.

Most heat exchanger are designed to last 15 -20 years, however, things do happen. Faulty equipment, bad installation, and improper maintenance can cause the unit to crack faster.

Preventative Maintenance

Replacing a faulty unit requires a HVAC technician. Doing it yourself is dangerous and can void the warranty. Many owners usually end up replacing the whole ac unit due to the estimated repair time. Replacing an exchanger requires a tech to dismantle the unit, which can take 6 – 8 hours.

Call a HVAC tech who knows best how to inspect and maintain your unit.