How A Damaged Heat Exchanger Can Lead To Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that is also odorless and tasteless. When a furnace is in good condition, there is a substantially smaller risk of carbon monoxide becoming a threat in your home, especially when your heat exchanger is in good condition. One way that carbon monoxide might become a problem is if your heat exchanger fails.
The Importance of a Carbon Monoxide Detector
To keep your home safe from carbon monoxide, you'll want to have a carbon monoxide detector. When a detector discovers a certain amount of carbon monoxide, it activates an alarm. Electrodes are immersed in a chemical solution that cause them to activate when a chemical reaction occurs. While a carbon monoxide detector is an important part of protecting your home from carbon monoxide leaks, you must also look to potential causes of carbon monoxide contamination, such as a failing heat exchanger.
How a Heat Exchanger Fails
The heat exchanger is made of metal. Because of this, it can sometimes be subjected to rust, which can lead to openings forming in the heat exchanger. Out of these openings, carbon monoxide can leak out.
Another way heat exchangers fail is that the expansion and contraction of the metal causes cracks to form on the heat exchanger. The leak should set off your carbon monoxide detector. A furnace repair technician can determine if your furnace has a cracked heat exchanger by using a camera or a CO meter. A repair technician will also test the rest of the home to determine if there is carbon monoxide anywhere else. In some cases, the technician may even shut off the gas so that you don't accidentally run your heat exchanger.
In addition to the carbon monoxide detector, there are several other ways to determine if your heat exchanger is cracked. This includes:
- Flickering flames in the furnace
- Feeling sick, nauseous or lightheaded
- The smell of rotting eggs
Whenever you feel that your furnace isn't safe to operate, always shut it off and call a repair technician.
When you discover that your heat exchanger is defective, this problem needs to be solved as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the correct solution for a cracked heat exchanger is for it to be replaced, rather than repaired. There are some heat exchangers that are repaired and are brought back later on after its found that the exchanger is not safe for operation. Contact a service, like Washam Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning, for more help.