Fall always means our phones will be ringing with customers calling in for their furnace inspection. During the inspection, a vital step is the inspection of the furnace heat exchanger.
Most major furnace manufacturers warrant their products heat exchanger for twenty years. I believe If manufactures warrant it for twenty years, the heat exchanger will probably last that long, but we still must inspect on a yearly basis your furnaces condition to make certain it is safe to operate.
When we perform a furnace checkup, one of the many important steps included is the inspection of the heat exchanger. During this heat exchanger inspection we are looking to accomplish a number of things. An important step on the checklist is that the heat exchanger is safe and not releasing carbon monoxide into your home. Since most heat exchangers are manufactured from steel, their lifespan is not indefinite. As you know, steel can and will rust. Steel will also eventually fatigue and crack from the constant expansion and contraction of each heating cycle. A heat exchanger must also be kept clean in order to efficiently transfer heat.
Up until a few years ago the technician would do a visual check, looking for the above mentioned situations but because of the inherent design of most exchangers, it was nearly impossible to see all of the surfaces. We now included one of the most accurate and safe heat exchanger inspections there is. Our Technicians use a special ultraviolet dye mixed with simple alcohol. This formula is sprayed on the outside of the entire heat exchanger. We then inspect from the inside of the exchanger with a special UV light where, should the heat exchanger be compromised, any traces of the dye are readily exposed. Because this formula is alcohol based, it will penetrate through even the smallest of imperfections and show up immediately. The alcohol evaporates quickly and leaves behind no residue for a very clean inspection.
We include this dye test with every checkup and because of this test can always give you a definitive answer about the condition of your heat exchanger, putting your mind at ease that you truly do have a safe and efficient system.