Author Topic: Tech says heat exchanger is cracked  (Read 647 times)

BC_Goldman

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Tech says heat exchanger is cracked
« on: March 15, 2017, 06:55:22 PM »
My friend woke up this morning to a haze in their house. The worst concentration was in the laundry 'room' portion of the basement where the furnace is located. Air filter was black even though it was replaced about a month ago. Service guy says it's a cracked heat exchanger. It didn't sound like he took anything apart to confirm his diagnosis.

I came by after work to take a look and spotted a hole in the exhaust pipe just above the heater with signs of soot, soot on the bottom of the barometric valve and one of the cleaning ports wasn't closed (don't know if that was the service guy's doing or not). I'm inclined to think this may be a genuine exchanger problem but wouldn't mind hearing some suggestions.

The sticker below the cleaning ports says that improperly fastening can cause flue gas leakage and lead to furnace damage, oil fumes, sooting and severe bodily harm.

The fact that it's so sudden and severe would lead me to believe that the cracked diagnosis may be correct. Unless one of the kids was playing around and undid the cleaning port cover within the last 24 hours.

thebattlewalrus

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Re: Tech says heat exchanger is cracked
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2017, 07:59:37 AM »
I am not an HVAC expert at all but we had replaced our furnace in 2007 and had similar issues. We had a couple inch long hairline crack but it wasn't leaking very bad, there was a little soot in the area around the crack that indicated it was leaking out though. Ours was not as bad as the house filling with a haze, I would be very concerned about carbon monoxide poisoning though!

How big is the hole that you saw?

BC_Goldman

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Re: Tech says heat exchanger is cracked
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2017, 09:31:47 AM »
The hole was pretty small, maybe 1/8 inch. I went by again after doing more reading and realized the barometric damper was covered with soot as well. The pattern looked like air was forcing out of it. Outside there were horizontal soot streaks several feet along the foundation next to the chimney where I could see hairline cracks. There was also soot on the underside of the surrounding snow. Sounds more like a blockage in the chimney to me but they decided they want to replace the heater since it is 30-40 years old anyway.

At least I learned more about heaters work and got to practice diagnosis.