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If you’re smelling a strong and unpleasant odor, it could actually be from your heat exchanger. In addition to the smell, there are several other signs that the exchanger may be cracked or broken. These are the 5 most common warning signs of a cracked heat exchanger. 

  1. Black Carbon Buildup 

A cracked heat exchanger leads to incomplete gas combustion. When this happens, you may see a buildup of black carbon on the inside of your furnace. Though you may see some soot when self-inspecting, to tell the true extent of the problem, you’ll have to disassemble the furnace. This is a complicated process and best left up to professionals, so if you suspect there is a carbon buildup in your furnace, call a technician ASAP. 

  1. Corrosion 

Corrosion occurs when metal and water mix and cause a chemical reaction that slowly eats away at the metal. While furnaces are designed so that moisture does not build-up, it can happen from time to time. If moisture repeatedly builds on the exchanger, cracking can and likely will happen. 

  1. Furnace smells like formaldehyde

Many of the symptoms above are difficult to locate if you’re not a trained eye, but the formaldehyde odor can be detected by anyone. If you notice this bad smell coming from your furnace, turn it off immediately.

Hopefully, you’ll notice this smell right away. However, if you get headaches out of nowhere, or a lightheaded feeling that seems unusual, this could be an indirect sign of a leak. 

  1. Water leaking from your furnace 

If you own a standard-efficiency furnace, there should not be any water leaking from the furnace. So if there is water leaking from your standard-efficiency furnace, there’s a decent chance your exchanger is broken. 

  1. Feeling lightheaded or ill

These physical symptoms may only occur when you’re close to the furnace. When you go outside in the fresh air, they’ll subside. If you notice any strange, sudden physical symptoms when you’re inside and near your furnace, this may be a sign that the exchanger is cracked. 

If you notice any of these five signs of a cracked heat exchanger, turn off your furnace and contact a professional right away. A cracked heat exchanger is not an issue you should try to fix yourself. It’s important that you turn your furnace off immediately if you notice any of these symptoms. Running your furnace with a cracked exchanger may cause toxic gases to leak into your home. 

If you are concerned about any of these issues, call Sharon’s Heating and Air Conditioning right away at (734) 425-1415. Our staff can answer any of your questions or schedule a service call to look at your furnace.

Call the professionals at Sharon’s Heating and Air Conditioning at (734) 425-1415