A puffback is a messy furnace malfunction that occurs when an oil burning furnace backfires, sending soot throughout the interior of a property. 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 you can take to prevent damage to your home:
- Have the oil-burning furnace professionally checked and cleaned annually.
- Keep an eye out for traces of soot around your home.
- Install a carbon monoxide monitor. Puffbacks (and the soot they create) will increase the carbon monoxide levels in your home. A carbon monoxide monitor can help to detect the puffback in its early stages.
If soot begins accumulating on objects or walls within your home, you should turn off the heating system immediately. Contact a heating professional to service the heater and restore it to proper working order. If the oil-burning furnace is left on it can carry it through the duct work to other portions of the home.
Fortunately, if you do experience a puffback, SERVPRO® has the knowledge and experience to complete a thorough cleaning and removal of any soot and odors. Depending on the severity we are able to perform a pack out to ensure your items are properly restored, cleaned, or removed for your safety and health.
Our Fire Restoration Team will respond immediately and give you the steps to ensure we can make it "Like it never even happened."