As cooler temperature make their way to the Twin Cities, families are beginning to fire up their furnaces.
And the last thing you want is a broken down furnace, right?
Well, then you need to ensure that the heat exchanger does not crack. The heat exchanger is an expensive and vitally important part and if it cracks, you’ll have to replace the furnace (unless the exchanger is under warranty).
Unfortunately, many homeowners do something that can cause the heat exchanger to crack: They reduce airflow in their furnace.
Doesn’t sound like something you do? Keep reading and we’ll explain 3 things you probably do that reduce airflow. But first, here’s why this causes the heat exchanger to crack.
Why reducing airflow over the heat exchanger cracks it
The heat exchanger is an S-shaped metal coil in the furnace. Its job is to heat your air. Basically. The blower pulls in air from your home and blows it over the heat exchanger, which then exchanges heat from it to the air. (Here’s a video showing how a furnace works.)
But if there’s not enough air flowing over the heat exchanger, it overheats, expanding so much that it cracks.
Here’s an example of how this works in the kitchen: Imagine putting a pan over a very hot stove top without adding water or food. The pan would get damaged because it’s not exchanging heat to something else. The same thing holds true for the heat exchanger. So your heat exchanger needs enough air so it does not crack.
3 ways homeowners accidentally reduce airflow over the heat exchanger
So how could you cause this to happen? A few ways:
Never changing the furnace filter—Once the filter gets clogged with dirt it becomes a barrier, preventing enough air from blowing over the heat exchanger.
Closing air supply vents— Closing vents adds pressure to your ducts system. Your blower is designed to only work against a certain amount of pressure. So closing vents=higher pressure=a blower that works at a slower speed. Since the blower is working at a slower speed, it’s not pulling in enough air over the heat exchanger.
Putting furniture or drapes over vents—Just like closing a vent, blocking the vent causes similar problems. But most homeowners just don’t realize that they’re doing it while decorating.
The best way to prevent furnace breakdowns
These aren’t the only things that can crack a heat exchanger, but they are a few that you can actively avoid.
According to CenterPoint Energy, the best way to keep your furnace working well for years to come is with professional preventative maintenance.
And, according to ENERGY STAR, the best time to get preventative maintenance is once a year during the fall before heating contractors get too busy.
Has your furnace had a tune-up yet? If not, we have a special coupon for you: Get a furnace tune-up for only $77.