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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

What's a Puff Back?

12/13/2016 (Permalink)

Are you Maintaining Your Furnace? You may be at risk for a Puff Back!

Winter is most definitely here. If you have been holding out on turning your heat on you will most likely be forced to do it sooner than later. And if you haven’t maintained your furnace properly, you may be in for quite a mess when you turn that thermostat. That’s right, I’m referring to a furnace “puff back” that will cause your house to be covered in soot and smoke.

What Causes a Furnace Puff Back?

It’s basically a misfiring in the furnace that causes a puff back that will essentially send soot and smoke into every crevice of your home. Basically if there is a delay in the oil burner immediately igniting, and oil fumes are allowed to build up before it ignites, a small explosion can occur – just like the backfiring of a car. Furnace puff backs can also stem from a buildup of debris in your furnace that creates an explosion when the furnace is ignited. In both situations, the explosion will cause debris to shoot through the furnace's entire exhaust system and into your home. For buildings with a forced hot air system, the damage can be a lot more extensive since the air ducts will help spread the soot easily throughout your home. In addition to the damage caused to your home by a puff back, it's also a sign of a problem in your heating system that will need to be repaired to prevent any further misfiring of your furnace.

What to Do and Not to Do:

  • Don't attempt to wash any walls or surface yourself
  • Don't turn on your ceiling fans, windows, doors, etc. It will increase air circulation that will spread the soot around even more.
  • After a puff back occurs, try not to move around a lot. This will help prevent soot from getting embedded into the carpeting, upholstery, etc.
  • Don't send garments to an ordinary dry cleaner. This may cause the smoke odor to set into the material.
  • The good news is that most puff back cleanups are covered by insurance
  • Make sure a repairman is hired to repair the malfunctioning furnace
  • Furnace puff backs will require professionals to restore your home so you’ll need to call SERVPRO of Marion/Middleboro at 508-946-2397
  • Keep your hands clean so as not to further spoil upholstery, walls, and woodwork.
  • Place clean towels or old linen on rugs, upholstery, and carpets
  • Clean and protect chrome with a light coating of petroleum jelly or oil
  • Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers
  • Throw away all exposed food

By calling us at SERVPRO of Marion/Middleboro you are ensuring that your property in the event of a furnace puff back is taken care of with the utmost of care. Our crews have been highly trained in smoke and fire damage. And we have the equipment and training to quickly turn your house into a home again. We're not only faster to any size disaster you have our word that we will make it…. (you guessed it) “Like it never even happened”!

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