During chilly weather, you depend on the home furnace to circulate warm air throughout your living spaces. A key component of this system is the heat exchanger. If you're unfamiliar with the exchanger and its purpose, here's a quick guide to review, so you know when it's time to call your HVAC contractor for maintenance and heating system repairs. 

What Is the Heat Exchanger?

The heat exchanger plays the critical role of separating warm, breathable air from the combustion process that generates said heat. It is a safety device installed in gas furnaces to mitigate the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Since carbon monoxide is odorless and not visible to the naked eye, having a properly functioning heat exchanger is a must for safety reasons.  

How Does It Work?


To generate heat, your furnace combusts fuel, usually gas, in a fully sealed chamber. The process generates heat energy, but the combination of gas and combustion fumes is not breathable. That is where the heat exchanger comes in. This metal shield is located between the sealed chamber and the blower. It distributes breathable air into the vents to warm your interiors, while directing combustion fumes outside. 

When Does It Need to Be Repaired?

The constant heating and cooling of the metal material used to create the heat exchanger can lead to excessive wear and tear. Cracks will allow carbon monoxide to seep into your air vents. With this in mind, the exchanger should be replaced every 10 to 20 years, depending on your usage. In addition to age, you might also notice visual cracks, soot buildup, discolored metal on the exterior of your furnace, unpleasant chemical odors, or a carbon monoxide detector that goes off with frequency.


If you notice any of the issues outlined above, ABC Heating Cooling & Plumbing Inc. can help. Located in Brookville, PA, this friendly HVAC contractor has provided quality craftsmanship at fair prices to residents throughout Jefferson County and the surrounding region since 1994. To schedule furnace or AC repairs or learn more about their 24/7 emergency service and commitment to customer satisfaction, call today at (814) 856-3211.