Just as you may have noticed that your automobile runs more smoothly after a fresh new oil change, the same principle works for your furnace, when it comes to a new or clean furnace filter. The main component for both hot water and forced air heating units is called a heat exchanger. The purpose of this nifty component is to take the heat that is produced by burning fuel in your furnace, and to transfer it into the water or air so that it can be distributed through the entire house. The heat exchanger is traditionally concealed from view in hot water heating systems, and is only occasionally visible in forced air systems.
If you look at a modern forced-air gasoline-powered furnace, here is everything that you will find. First, you will find a solid-state furnace control, which has a fan assembly and is visible in the power rear of the furnace. Next, you will find a draft inducer, which provides fan-forced exhaust. Third, you will find both an igniter, and a flame sensor, because your furnace is actually running on firepower. Next, you will find the gas valve and manifold, along with gas burners. On the outside of all of this you will have them, followed by furnace filters or other air filters. Keep in mind, several aspects of this concept will vary based on the model of furnace that you use, though some things will remain the same, including the igniter, the filter of the furnace and the heat exchanger.
The thing that makes heat exchangers malfunction or inoperative in general is the development of a hole, crack or warping that allows hot water to escape, or combustion exhaust to escape into the home’s interior air. They do eventually crack or warp over time simply because of the constant heating and cooling that the system experiences throughout the year. However, most heat exchangers can last a significant amount of time, often past their predicted life span depending on whether or not conditions are ideal. Regular cleaning and maintenance of the furnace do play a large part in determining the life expectancy of a heat exchanger, as well as the environment that exists around the furnace unit.
Another heavy contributor to whether or not heat exchangers live out their lifespan properly is reduced airflow, which comes as a result of dirty furnace filters [http://www.appraisalmatters.com/WinterizeYourHome], dirty fan blades, obstructed air vents and dirty duct work. All of these factors contribute to wear on the fan motors, which can significantly reduce the efficiency of the furnace, prematurely burning out them as well. Both fuel-fired and forced-air furnace types are prone to overheating in response to airflow obstructions. Most modern furnaces are built in a way that allows them to shut down if temperatures become unreasonably high based on a dirty or overused filter. However, if the internal temperature elevation caused by dirt and debris is only moderate, the furnace may not switch off but the heat may still be enough to cause metal fatigue to the head exchanger, which can cause serious issues down along the line.
The best way to protect yourself from premature burn out of the heat exchanger in your furnace is to have an annual inspection and a monthly cleaning of your furnace filters. The exam, which should be conducted by a licensed mechanic, should be relatively inexpensive while affording you a great deal of peace of mind. Another useful innovation is the carbon monoxide or CO detector, which is an easy and inexpensive way to protect yourself against exhaust leaks from your furnace.