A puffback is a messy furnace malfunction that occurs when an oil burner backfires, sending soot throughout the interior of a home. It can happen all at once, covering the interior in grimy soot, or it can leak soot more gradually.
Initially, many people mistake soot for dust and simply wipe it away. However, once cleaned, this “dust” often reappears and can sometimes be accompanied by a strong, oily odor. There are several steps your clients can take to prevent damage to their home. Remind them to:
- Have the oil-burning furnace professionally checked and cleaned annually.
- Keep an eye out for traces of soot around their home.
- Install a carbon monoxide monitor. Puffbacks (and the soot they create) will increase the carbon monoxide levels in their home. A carbon monoxide monitor can help to detect the puffback in its early stages.
If soot begins accumulating on objects or walls within their home, they should turn off the heating system immediately. Contact a heating professional to service the heater and restore it to proper working order.
Fortunately, if your client does experience a puffback, SERVPRO has the knowledge and experience to complete a thorough cleaning and removal of any soot and odors. Our Fire Restoration Team will respond immediately and make it look Like it never even happened®.