What is a heat exchanger? You may not have ever heard of a heat exchanger, but we’re willing to bet you would definitely notice if it stopped working! A heat exchanger is a device in a furnace that separates the combustion process from your breathing air. Essentially, it is a combination metal chamber and passageway that starts at the burner assembly and ends approximately where the chimney vent connects to the furnace.

Air is heated as it is blown across the hot metal surface of the heat exchanger, then the heated air is distributed through your house to warm it, which is especially appreciated as we head into winter in the Northwest.

It is crucial for a heat exchanger to have an air (and gas) tight seal to separate the gasses in the flue products inside the heat exchanger from the breathing air passing over the outside surface. This is because the flue gasses can be poisonous – such as carbon monoxide – and the contamination of breathing air by these gasses may pose a health risk and can even be fatal.

What are my options if my heat exchanger is damaged? Really, there are only two options if your heat exchanger is extremely cracked or ruined, like the image above.

  1. First, you can replace your heat exchanger with the help of a heating expert. If the heat exchanger is under warranty, this option is a good way to go. Make sure your heating specialist is available to assist you in a timely manner. Getting your heat exchanger replaced quickly is essential when it’s cold out.
  2. In some cases, it may be a better option to replace your entire furnace. If your furnace is more than 15 years old, not as energy efficient as possible, needs frequent repairs and the cost of service is within your budget, it may be wise to replace the furnace to stop future heating problems before they start. BelRed offers a variety of furnaces, from high-efficiency to electric options that guarantee warmth and comfort throughout your home.

If you suspect you have a damaged heat exchanger or have other questions about your heating and cooling systems, BelRed is here to help! We specialize in furnace installation, ductless heat pump installation and more. Contact us for any of your heating, cooling or plumbing needs today!