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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Poorly Maintained Furnace? You're At Risk for a Puff Back

10/5/2016 (Permalink)

Poorly Maintained Furnace? You're At Risk for a Puff Back


As we move further into fall and edge closer to winter, the desire to start nudging up the dial on the thermostat grows increasingly strong. While the first time we turn the heat on may fully signal the end of a season, for those with a poorly maintained furnace, it can call attention to a bigger problem resulting in a furnace “puff back” and a house covered in soot and smoke.


How Does a Furnace Puff Back Occur?

A misfiring in the furnace causes a puff back that can send soot throughout your home. When an oil burner doesn't immediately ignite, and oil fumes are allowed to build up before ignition, a small explosion can occur – similar to a backfiring of a car. Furnace puff backs can also result from a buildup of debris in your furnace that create an excessive explosion when the furnace is ignited. In both scenarios, the explosion shoots debris through the furnace's exhaust system and into your home. For homes with a forced hot air system, the damage can be much more extensive since the ducts will help spread the soot as easily as they spread heat 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 which will need to be repaired to prevent any further misfirings.


Things to Remember


  • Furnace Puff Backs require professionals to restore your home
  • Most Puff Back cleanups are covered by insurance
  • After a puff back, limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from becoming embedded in upholstery and carpets
  • Keep 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
  • Make sure a repairman is hired to repair the malfunctioning furnace
  • Don't attempt to wash any walls or surface yourself
  • Don't turn on ceiling fans or increase air circulation as this will only spread soot around
  • Don't send garments to an ordinary dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may cause the smoke odor to set.
  • Do call SERVPRO of Milton/Braintree at 781-341-7007


Contact SERVPRO of Milton/Braintree to help you restore your property in the event of a furnace puff back. Our smoke and fire damage specialists have the equipment and training to quickly return your home to a safe, clean, and comfortable environment for you and your family. We're faster to any disaster and are dedicated to responding immediately so that you can recover quickly, with less disruption to your life.

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