Extreme Dangers of Heat Exchanger Failure

It is very important that your heat exchanger systems go through regular maintenance. Heat exchanger maintenance is significant and helps to not only increase efficiency in the industries, but also preserves a safe workspace and is environmentally friendly.

Before knowing the dangers of heat exchangers, it is important to understand what a heat exchanger is and what it does.

For example, a furnace produces heat by burning fuel such as oil and or natural gas – a process known as combustion. Combustion in exchange produces extremely hot, poisonous gas, including carbon monoxide. (CO) The combustion gases are passed through the heat exchanger – a series of enclosed metal tubes. The furnace’s blower draws in clean air from your room and passes it outside to these tubes. The heat from the gas is then transferred through the metal walls of the heat exchanger, which is then used to circulate around your home. Meanwhile, the harmful gases are passed out through the exhaust pipes.

In short, they are called heat exchangers because they “exchange” the harmful gases produced into air that we can breathe in.

The problem is, heat exchangers eventually fail, developing holes or cracks that allows the poisonous gases to leak out and contaminate the surrounding air.

Cracked heat exchangers can be invisible to you and even odourless so you would not be able to smell it but when this component heats up, the cracks widen and causes dangerous gases to escape into the living space, that would otherwise have been vented into the duct. The gas that escapes is known as carbon monoxide (CO) and when exposed to it, may lead to dizziness, light-headedness, nausea and more. It may even lead to more severe injuries or even death if too much of CO is inhaled. 

Carbon monoxide is known to be the “silent killer” and many get hospitalized or even die from CO poisoning. Regular maintenance can help extend the lifespan of a heat exchanger.

Therefore, It is important to use an inspection tool like APRIS to regularly monitor your heat exchangers and ensure there are no detrimental defects.

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