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Deadly Carbon Monoxide from Cracked Heat Exchangers
This photo shows a major safety issue that can occur from a cracked heat exchanger. The heat exchanger is where hot forced air warms the inside air that passes through your furnace unit. Tiny cracks can develop in your heat exchanger, causing carbon monoxide to leak out into your home. Carbon monoxide is a deadly, colorless, and odorless gas (it's not like having a gas leak which can smell like rotten eggs!). This poisonous gas can kill you, your family, and pets within hours. That's why it's so important to have your heat exchanger checked out in the fall just before the heating season starts.
In this photo, condensate from the coils above the heat exchanger has dripped down onto the galvanized heat exchanger coils resulting in the rust and cracks you see hereâ€¦ cracks which could have leaked carbon monoxide! This Maytag residential gas/electric package unit was still under warranty when this was found, just 8 years after installation. Lucky for the homeowners, they did not succumb to carbon monoxide poisoning, and the warranty paid for the replacement of the heat exchanger.
Read more about heat exchangers in two of our previous blogs: Fall Maintenance Secrets - Heat Exchangers and Do You Need a Stainless Steel Heat Exchanger?
Now is a good time the time to check your heat exchanger before the heating season starts. And while you're at it, check your carbon monoxide detector, too!