In: Home & Family24 Sep 2013
No one wants to hear that his or her heating system is red tagged. This news means the gas utility worker or HVAC contractor has found a crack in the heat exchanger. By law, the system must be disabled until it is repaired or replaced, due to the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning. At this point, the owner faces the choice of furnace repair or replacement.
While heat exchangers may crack for a variety of reasons, two are the most common. As the metal ages, it may develop normal cracks. However, the development of cracks is often because of a build up of dirt inside the chamber. In addition to increasing the energy bill, this can also cause the metal to crack.
Diagnosing this problem can be challenging, but if the homes CO detector goes off with no other apparent cause, the heating unit should be examined. Providing regular maintenance can keep the unit working better and may prevent this problem form occurring prematurely. The HVAC contractor can clean parts that are not accessible to the owner.
Once units reach the ten year mark, replacement is often the best option. It is difficult to find parts for these older units and they repairs may cost more than their value. Newer units are more energy efficient and may eventually pay for themselves in lower operating costs.
With newer systems, repairs are sometimes an option. Parts can sometimes be difficult to locate and may take some time to be shipped. Owners should have a supplemental heat source that protects pipes and keeps occupants comfortable. Many of these newer units could still be under warranty.
Furnace repair for red tagged units is best with newer systems. The best way to prevent this type of failure is to provide annual maintenance of the system. This ensures longest life of the investment a homeowner makes in a heating unit.