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can you run a furnace with a cracked heat exchanger

Can You Run a Furnace With a Cracked Heat Exchanger?

Don’t ignore your cracked heat exchanger. Call Green Energy Mechanical Inc. at 781-236-3421 for reliable repairs and replacements.

You depend on your furnace to keep you warm during the winter, but can you run a furnace with a cracked heat exchanger? Heating appliances can sustain damage from years of use, damage, and corrosion. Sometimes, these problems can lead to dangerous consequences for your health and safety.

Canton’s furnace repair experts at Green Energy Mechanical Inc. explain what you should know about broken heat exchangers. Schedule a repair or installation with these experienced contractors after you finish reading.

Understanding the Heat Exchanger

A gas furnace heat exchanger is the primary component used to warm up your indoor air. These devices consist of copper and aluminum coils that transfer heat throughout your home’s ductwork. You can regulate your heat exchanger’s performance using the control panel on your furnace or central HVAC thermometer.

Manufacturers build heat exchangers to last. However, damage can occur over time due to the following:

  • Overuse of the system
  • Improper use of the system (turning the heat up too high)
  • Rust and corrosion
  • Keeping the furnace on too long
  • Faulty components interfering with coils or the combustion chamber
  • Obstructions in air ducts

Typically, a heat exchanger can last up to 20 years with the proper upkeep. Unfortunately, many homeowners neglect routine furnace inspections, which can drop a system’s life expectancy by several years.

Problems With Cracked Heat Exchangers

Can you run a furnace with a cracked heat exchanger? Technically, yes. However, professionals highly discourage this behavior because several major problems can arise.

Your furnace can still warm the house if it has cracks, but it will run at reduced performance. This problem can cause you to spend more money on your monthly utility bills than necessary. It can also reduce the life expectancy of your HVAC system.

A malfunctioning heat exchanger can also cause natural gas leaks, raising carbon monoxide to dangerous levels in your home. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include:

  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Hallucinations
  • Fatigue
  • Death

Exit your home and call 911 if your carbon monoxide detectors are going off.

Combustion Risks

Operating a furnace with a cracked heat exchanger can be potentially disastrous for you and your neighbors. Gas and air can cause an explosive reaction inside your furnace, forcing flames and shrapnel out of your appliance.

Furnace fires are a serious threat in the United States — causing millions of dollars of property damage and injuries every year.

When To Fix a Heat Exchanger

You should schedule a furnace repair with reputable HVAC technicians as soon as you notice performance issues or damage. This way, you can save time and money avoiding more expensive repairs in the future. Regularly inspect your thermostat to ensure that the furnace provides a consistent indoor temperature for your home.

Listen for hissing sounds or rattling coming from your furnace. Unusual noises may indicate that it is time for a furnace repair.

Don’t forget to check the surface of your furnace and the heat exchanger for dents, corrosion, or cracks. Even hairline cracks can create significant problems for you down the line.

How To Streamline Your Repairs

Attempting DIY furnace repairs is never a good idea, especially when dealing with the heat exchanger. Hiring a professional technician with years of HVAC experience is the best way to ensure that your home is safe from gas leaks and dropping temperatures.

HVAC contractors will inspect your appliance and determine if it is time for a replacement. Sometimes, a new heat exchanger may solve the problem. Other times, runaway damage may necessitate a new furnace installation.

You can expect your contractor to provide preventive care advice, so you can better monitor your furnace in the future.

Green Energy Mechanical Inc. Is Here To Help

Don’t risk carbon monoxide poisoning or a house fire by ignoring your cracked heat exchanger. At Green Energy Mechanical Inc., we can respond quickly to your request and replace your furnace without hassle. Our technicians pride themselves on delivering outstanding customer service during every visit.

Do you notice a burning smell from furnace components? Eliminate the guesswork by calling us for a comprehensive inspection. We can help you identify the source of the problem and provide practical solutions for your budget. 

Can you run a furnace with a cracked heat exchanger? Learn more with Green Energy Mechanical Inc. in Canton, MA. Call 781-236-3421 to book an HVAC consultation.

Author Bio:

Jonathan Neves

Worked in the HVAC industry since he was 17. He started as an HVAC service technician for commercial buildings and eventually came into the residential market because of his love of working with people. He believes that what really sets Green Energy Mechanical apart is how long they stand behind their work and how compassionate his employees are for their clients.


My furnace was not working this morning. I called Green Energy and within a few hours Terry was here and quickly took care of the problem. Terry has been here before and is very professional and friendly.
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Very professional operation. Great technicians. Follow COVID protocol. Leave your house and property very clear with no trace that work had been done.
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Quinn was really nice, professional, and answered all my questions in a clear and easy manner. The woman I spoke with on the phone was also very kind, so I will definitely use this company again.
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Green Energy Mechanical is a pleasure to work. We had both air conditioning and heating installed. During both jobs, GEM was thorough and professional from start to finish.
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I could not be more pleased with the service provided. We have upgraded our water heater to a tank less. We are also getting our heat and ac installed by them. They care for your home like you would
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