By: Brian Schutt
Chances are if you’re reading this, you’ve had a technician out to your home, and they’ve told you to have a crack or rupture in your heat exchanger.
As furnaces age, they can and do develop these issues that can cause serious health consequences from carbon monoxide leaking into your home.
The issue that we see in Indianapolis HVAC, is that many companies use this very real threat as a means to force customers into buying new furnaces, when it may not be necessary.
The first thing to know: whenever you get a cracked heat exchanger diagnosis, the technician should be able to show you the crack.
If they say it’s not a visible crack, but they have a CO detection device that found a crack, ask them to show you. It’s not that you’re questioning their credibility, you’re just wanted to see for yourself.
Either way, you should get a second opinion from another company before moving forward.
Let’s say you do have a cracked heat exchanger; this is what your next steps would look like: The reality is that most heat exchangers have a 20 year or lifetime warranty anymore. However, even with the part under warranty, your labor cost can be very prohibitive, because most of the furnace has to be disassembled and reassembled, as the heat exchanger is a major part. Since we don’t usually see cracked heat exchangers until the furnace gets up in age, and most people don’t see the benefit of replacing a $1k + part, on an old system, we end up recommending replacing the entire furnace.
Once you talk about replacing the furnace, you have plenty of options. And, unless the crack is very prominent, don’t feel pressured to make an immediate decision, though we encourage you to do some within 24 hours of the initial diagnostic, and to have a CO detector in the home to ensure you’re not at any major risk.