How Can Proper Maintenance Prevent Corrosion On Your Heat Exchanger?

Posted on: 15 September 2020

Your furnace's heat exchanger is critical to the safe operation of your heating system. This relatively simple component contains harmful combustion gases while ensuring that you can extract heat from them. Damage to your heat exchanger can lead to inefficient furnace operation or even toxic fumes escaping into your home's air.

Fortunately, heat exchangers are robust. The greatest threat to these components often comes from overheating, but corrosion is a concern since it can weaken the structure of the exchanger. Heat exchangers typically corrode due to excess moisture, which is something that proper maintenance can help minimize. Below you will find three ways you can help to keep your exchanger healthy.

1. Inspect Your Flue Plumbing

The escape path for combustion byproducts in a gas furnace is relatively straightforward. As your burner runs, combustion gases travel through the heat exchanger, into the exhaust flue pipes, and out of your home. Depending on the design of your system, the exhaust flue may go directly outside or connect to an existing chimney.

Your exhaust pipes must angle back towards your unit to allow condensate to drip into the furnace instead of away from it. Furnaces contain internal drains to help deal with this moisture and keep it from causing damage. If condensation instead drains into your pipes, it can push combustion gas back into your furnace or create excessive humidity. Both situations can lead to corrosion or other problems.

Although the angle of your pipes shouldn't change, a yearly inspection can help to confirm that they meet code requirements and will not cause problems for you in the future.

2. Maintain Condensate Drains

All furnaces must drain condensation safely away, even if there is not a problem with the exhaust flue angles. If your home has a central air conditioning system, then it's likely that you have an evaporator near your furnace, as well. While this design is efficient, it does mean that there is another potential source of moisture near your furnace.

Over time, condensate drains or trays can become dirty and clogged. When this happens, the environment inside the furnace can become incredibly moist. Even worse, condensation may begin to collect on internal elements such as the heat exchanger, leading to corrosion issues. Routine inspection and cleaning can keep your condensate drains clear.

3. Monitor Your Heat Exchanger

Finally, it's vital that an HVAC technician routinely check your heat exchanger for signs of cracking or corrosion. Even well-maintained furnaces may develop corrosion issues as they age due to exposure to combustion gases. Spotting the signs of deterioration early on won't save your furnace, but it will allow you to deal with the problem before it becomes a hazard to your family's health.

Contact a company that offers furnace maintenance services to learn more.


Making Your Customers Comfortable

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