The Tech Has Just Found a Crack in Your Heat Exchanger — Now What?
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The Tech Has Just Found a Crack in Your Heat Exchanger — Now What?


If a technician finds a crack in your heat exchanger, your furnace will be red-tagged and taken out of service. This is done to prevent the possibility of dangerous levels of carbon monoxide from building up in your home, which is prone to happen if you run a furnace with a cracked heat exchanger. If you’ve got a red-tagged furnace, you’re going to be facing a difficult decision: Should you pay to have the crack in your heat exchanger repaired, or should you replace the furnace altogether?

First, you should be aware that the heat exchanger is a relatively expensive component, typically costing thousands of dollars. If your furnace is relatively new or still under warranty, it’s generally a wiser idea, from a financial standpoint, to have the heat exchanger replaced.

However, if your furnace is aging or it’s no longer under warranty, it might be a better idea to have the entire system replaced. Determining whether or not this is the right move requires you to sit down and crunch some numbers. Here are the factors you should consider:

  • The cost of repairing the crack in your heat exchanger versus the cost of a new furnace
  • The life expectancy of your repaired furnace (which depends on how old your current furnace is) versus the life expectancy of a new furnace (10 to 15 years, on average)
  • The operational and maintenance costs of your current furnace versus the operational and maintenance costs of a new furnace

That last point is particularly significant. By upgrading to a new, more efficient furnace, you can enjoy sustained savings on your energy costs. The furnaces being manufactured today are far more energy-efficient than the ones which were being made as recently as a decade ago, and you may find that the energy savings alone are enough to justify the replacement of your heating system.

If you’ve got a crack in your heat exchanger and need help figuring out whether to repair or replace your furnace, contact the pros at Roth Heating & Cooling. We’ve been providing homeowners in the Portland area with outstanding service since 1976.

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