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  • Writer's pictureGBT Heating & Cooling

What is a Heat Exchanger

When you think of your home heating system, chances are just one word comes to mind:  furnace.  If you’re not happy with its performance, several other words might come to mind, but none of them appropriate for a public blog

Your furnace is a collection of many components, but none bigger or more important than the heat exchanger. Like all mechanical objects, time and use take their toll and can result in cracks or holes. That leads to incomplete fuel combustion and unacceptable levels of carbon monoxide (CO) let loose into your living spaces.  Based on the harm a CO leak can cause, it’s something you totally want to prevent.

Heat Exchanger

How a Heat Exchanger Works

Heat exchangers transfer heat from one place to another. When a furnace burns natural gas or propane fuel, its combustion by-products (also known as flue gas) enter and travel through the heat exchanger. The hot flue gas heats the metal as the gas makes its way to the exhaust outlet of the furnace. As this takes place, the now-heated metal heats the air circulating over the heat exchanger’s exterior.

Health Risks

Because heat exchangers contain flue gas, it is important there are no holes, cracks or other deterioration. Otherwise, the heat exchanger can release carbon monoxide and other harmful gases into your living spaces. Over time, that makes it unsafe to operate.

How to Detect a Heat Exchanger Problem

Unless your furnace is malfunctioning or your CO detector is going off, it’s nearly impossible to tell if there’s a problem with the heat exchanger.

That’s why GBT Heating & Air Conditioning recommends annual furnace preventative maintenance which includes a thorough inspection of your heat exchanger and all other system components. Our service is designed both to help keep your furnace in top working order and to help keep your family from harm.  If it’s been a year or longer since preventive maintenance was last performed, we urge you to contact us for service today.



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