Furnace heat exchanger: What are they, and how do they work?

Your furnace heat exchanger is arguably the most important part of the entire system. It’s at the heart of the system, and it’s what generates the warmed air. In this article, we will explain what a heat exchanger is, how they work, and what to do when something goes wrong.

Pictured: Furnace heat exchanger igniting, heating a home.

Pictured: Furnace heat exchanger igniting, heating a home.

What is the furnace heat exchanger?

A heat exchanger is the part of a furnace that generates hot air. The exchanger consists of coils or tubes that loop repeatedly through the air flow. The exact shape of the heat exchanger depends on the model or type of the furnace.

A gas furnace, for instance, has a heat exchanger that warms air through an ignition process. An electric furnace uses heated coils to warm air. The blower sends air over the heat exchanger, warming it and then distributing it throughout your home via your air ducts.

What can go wrong with this part?

As the air inside the furnace and around the heat exchanger warms to very hot temperatures, the metal inside of the exchanger expands and contracts. This is similar to why your air ducts sometimes make sounds when heated air passes through them. To a certain extent, heat exchangers are engineered to accept some of this process.

However, over the course of multiple years and multiple winters of use, all that expansion and contraction of metal has the potential to cause the heat exchanger to crack.

Even a small crack can be a problem, since it can result in carbon monoxide gas being leaked into the home’s air ducts. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can be fatal. Not every crack will cause a carbon monoxide leak, but every leak needs to be investigated and repaired when it happens.

When does a heat exchanger need to be replaced?

Heat exchangers are far more likely to develop problems late in the system’s life expectancy. In most cases, a cracked exchanger cannot be repaired, and must be replaced. Because the cost of this one part, for most systems, is nearly as high as the cost of a new furnace, many homeowners opt to get an entirely new furnace installed when the heat exchanger fails.

However, every situation is different. If you suspect your furnace heat exchanger has a problem, contact the team at Tin Man Heating & Cooling for furnace repair. Our technicians can inspect the system and determine whether or not the problem can be fixed, or if you’ll need a new system. Always have a certified and experienced HVAC technician work with your furnace.

In general, if your furnace is more than 10 years old, you should consider replacing the entire furnace and not just the heat exchanger. Furnaces usually have a lifespan of about 15 years. So, it makes more sense to replace the entire furnace if it is nearing the end of its operational life.

How can I make sure that my furnace is working right?

To make sure that your exchanger and your furnace are safe to operate this winter, you’ll want to schedule a heating tune-up with your local HVAC company. If you live in northwest Ohio, that’s us here at Tin Man!

Regular maintenance means that a technician is doing a thorough inspection for the signs of exchanger problems. If there are any problems with the exchanger or the furnace as a whole, you’ll be able to address them before the coldest months of the year—or before the furnace becomes a safety hazard to your home.

Call the team at Tin Man for furnace heat exchanger repair

If you live in northwest Ohio—including the communities of Bowling Green, Findlay, and surrounding areas—contact the team at Tin Man for more furnace repair advice and services. We’re happy to help with any of your heating needs this winter!

Air Duct Cleaning: Is It Necessary For Your Home?

Is Air Duct Cleaning a Necessity or a Waste of Money?This is a question we get a lot: does air duct cleaning matter? In this blog post, we’ll review the facts and make a recommendation.

Why do you need air duct cleaning?

Dirt and dust normally accumulates inside your home’s air ducts. Apart from that, sometimes mold and mildew invade the ducts and circulate inside the rooms via the air vents.

However, some people leave their air ducts dirty in a bid to save costs.

So, should you really have your air ducts cleaned? Does leaving the air ducts dirty have any negative consequences? Is cleaning the ducts a necessity or a waste of money? Let’s dive into it.

Is air duct cleaning really needed?

First of all, it is important for you to realize that air ducts are just one of the sources of air pollutants inside the house. There are many ways that the dirt, dust, and other contaminants can enter the house through windows, doors, and even pets. In fact, most of the air borne pollutants enters through these sources.

Air ducts are only one of the sources of the airborne pollutants. Cleaning the air ducts won’t eliminate all the contaminants from the house. You need to address other sources, as well.

Breathe easier with cleaner air

However, cleaning your air ducts will reduce air pollution levels inside your property.

When dander, dust, and other airborne pollutants accumulate inside the ducts, they are pulled inside the HVAC systems that are then re-circulated inside the home. This will contribute to health issues such as environmental allergies, autoimmune disorders, and even respiratory problems. The health problems will be experienced more by children and senior individuals.

The HVAC system is the lungs of your house. The system breathes the indoor air in and out. If the indoor air contains contaminants, the system will spread them throughout the rooms. Having the air ducts cleaned by a professional technician will greatly increase the quality of air that is circulated inside the house.

But improved air quality is not the only benefit of cleaning the air ducts.

Have better energy-efficiency

About 25 to 40 percent of the energy is wasted in heating or cooling the home, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. This results in improper cooling and increased energy bills. One of the causes of the energy wastage is dirt accumulation inside the ducts. The contaminants inside the house will shorten the lifespan of the system by making them work harder.

Benefits of air duct cleaning

By having the air ducts cleaned regularly by a professional HVAC technician, the system will keep on working efficiently, keeping the energy bills down, reducing the frequency of emergency repairs, and benefitting from an increased lifetime.

Call Tin Man for indoor air quality services

If you want a professional HVAC system technician to clean your air ducts, you can contact Tin Man Heating and Cooling. We serve Bowling Green, Findlay, and the surrounding areas with complete sincerity and dedication.