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inspecting heat exchangers
Almost all state and association "Standards of Practice" don't require a home inspector to inspect
the heat exchanger. However, a reliable inspection process is; if you see a traditional furnace in
which heat exchanger openings are bigger and also offer the inspector accessibility using his/her
mirror he/she really should take a look.
New high efficiency furnaces have sealed combustion so you can not see their exchangers; mid
efficiency units typically have smaller sized openings which make it complicated to get a mirror
within. Oil fired units are in addition generally not viewable. It's a great recommendation to
enlighten your customer that approximately only 25 % of the heat exchangers in a general gas
furnace are viewable with the mid, high and oil being definitely a lot lower or not viewable at all.
If you do have access, use your flashlight plus inspection mirror to look for cracks. Be specifically
cautious if evaluating curves and welded sites. Some things to look out for which may indicate a
cracked or faulty heat exchanger are scorch or burn marks on the furnace jacket, discoloring all
around registers or on front of the furnace, corrosion, rust or soot build up on or under the heat
exchanger, as well as out of the ordinary flame movement.
With a boiler, the heat exchanger will not be obvious for inspection. As you inspect the burner
area document if there is any sort of evidence of leaking coming from the heat exchanger onto
this area. Oftentimes there would be traces of rusting, corrosion, flaking metal, or water seepage
and dripping water.
When it comes to any of the instances detailed above, suggest a professional service technician
analyze either the furnace or boiler if you find a possible situation. Your customers are going to
tremendously appreciate it.
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