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Heating Season is Near - Inspect Your Furnace for Safety
Wed 08/29/07 10:00:27 am
by Mark Bower

One of the main causes of carbon monoxide in your home is a bad heat exchanger in your furnace. With holes in your heat exchanger, instead of the carbon monoxide going up the chimney, it's coming in your home.

With winter now not very far away and   Coleman’s announcement last year   that some of their furnaces should be inspected for a possible failed heat exchanger may have you wondering if your furnace is safe.  Of course if you have one of the model’s that Coleman lists in their inspection notice, they will do the inspection for you.  If your furnace doesn’t fall into that category, here’s how you can inspect the heat exchanger on your own furnace.


Why inspect your heat exchanger?


One of the main causes of carbon monoxide in your home is a bad heat exchanger in your furnace.  With holes in your heat exchanger, instead of the carbon monoxide going up the chimney, it's coming in your home. 


Carbon monoxide is an odorless gas.  If exposed to it over time, it can get into your body causing sickness and even death.  Once you've been diagnosed with carbon monoxide poisoning, it can literally take months to rid it from your body and you'll feel sick the whole time.  The best way to protect yourself from carbon monoxide is to install a carbon monoxide alarm.

Inspecting your heat exchanger.


There's two ways of inspecting your heat exchanger for holes or cracks.  One way is to remove the burner.  This will give you direct access to inside the heat exchanger.  Then with a trouble-light and mirror, inspect the walls for cracks or burn-through.  Inspecting immediately after the furnace has run will give you the most visible results, but be careful as things will be hot!

The second way to check for a possible bad heat exchanger is to simply watch the flame from your burner.  First turn up the thermostat so the furnace engages.  Looking through the glass viewing hole on your furnace, watch the burners light.  Continue to closely watch the burners until the blower kicks on.  If the flame of the burners start dancing or laying down immediately when the blower kicks on, that's a sign that you may have a bad heat exchanger as the blower is pushing air into it.  Air from the blower should only flow over the heat exchanger -- picking up the heat and cycling it into the home (hence the term heat exchanger).

If you believe you have a problem with your heat exchanger, your furnace should be shut down (red tagged) and a service technician called immediately.  Replacing a heat exchanger is not a minor repair.  If your furnace is quite old, replacing the furnace may be a more viable option.  Also note that doing any of these procedures without being certified and licensed with experience "can/probably will" void your unit warranty AND your home insurance policy should a fire/explosion or similar mishap occur and be proven to be the fault of said repair/procedure or be linked to furnace in any way.


More furnace troubleshooting tips can be found in my book, The Manual for Manufactured/Mobile Home Repair and Upgrade.

Mark Bower owns Aberdeen Mobile Home Repair and is the author of "The Manual for Manufactured/Mobile Home Repair and Upgrade" available on this website.

Manufactured Housing Repair On-Line

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The Manual for Manufactured Home Repair & Upgrade   If your looking for a book that covers all facets of manufactured home repair, you've found it! This is the only book of its type, available to the public, that we have been able to find. As you would expect from the title, The repair and upgrade techniques described in this manual are specific to manufactured homes. This book will answer almost every question on manufactured home repair that we have ever heard. Not only does this book show you how to repair and maintain your home, but also great methods for upgrading it.

The Manufactured Home Repair & Renovation Forum   An open discussion group where all are welcome to participate. No registration necessary! Discussion threads covering a wide range of questions, answers, and relating of personal experiences involving MH Repairs. Moderated by Tracy L. Mason of MB-Quality Contractors, from Greeley, CO. Ask our experienced manufactured home repair and renovation contractor about your home repair needs! Basic home fix-it techniques to trade secrets.

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Manufactured Housing Yellow Pages / SERVICE COMPANIES   The Yellow Pages is an ever expanding data base that is growing into one of the richest resources in the world for locating and contacting companies that participate in, or offer services to, the manufactured housing industry.

The Mobile Home Expert   The business of installing and servicing manufactured homes is rapidly moving away from the world of the one pick-up, one jack, local set up and repair guys and into the world of certified tradesmen, and licensed contractors. The modern manufactured home is greeted with stiff compliance codes regulating construction, warranty and installation. As more and more local agencies get involved in the inspection of installations it gets more and more difficult to know what the rules of the game are, especially if your operating in more than one jurisdiction. Consult with R.T. Bonney, who has participated in all phases of the industry over the past 30 Years He can provide solutions for the modern problems of operating most types of manufactured housing business.

Floor Repair Info Kit   includes a 25 minute VHS video about repairing the floor underneath your toilet, and a booklet on floor repair. Price:$25.95 - Shipping & Handling:$3.90

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