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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Oil Furnace Puffback Damage Requires Expert Cleaning

4/21/2021 (Permalink)

Puffback. Soot webs on ceiling Puffback damage in Prescott, AZ.

Many businesses in Prescott, AZ use oil for heat. While the price of oil can fluctuate, it’s been an excellent source of heat in this region. While modern furnaces are very safe, as they age, they can experience serious problems, such as puffback damage.

What Is A Puffback?

If you don’t know, congratulations! Hopefully, you’ll never find out. Here are the symptoms of a puffback and what to do about it.

A Furnace Puffback Is Always Bad

Puffbacks can happen in gas furnaces, but they’re typically associated with an oil furnace. It means something serious went wrong with your furnace, and if the puffback is large, the puffback damage itself may destroy your furnace.
The results of a puffback can be ominous:

  • Widespread soot damage
  • Toxic fume release
  • Combustion chamber explosion

If you’re around the furnace when it happens, it can even be dangerous. But you may get some advance notice if you pay attention.

Signs of a Furnace Puffback Risk

The most common sign that your furnace may have a puffback is a knocking or booming sound when the combustion chamber ignites. It’s normally a pretty smooth sound, so if you notice it, you should have your furnace inspected immediately.
Another sign is an increasing odor of burning fuel. Rarely, you may get a slight diesel fume odor from your furnace, but if it’s happing daily, it certainly needs servicing.

After a Furnace Puffback

Soot is a horrid mess of toxic residue and oils. It sticks to everything and stubbornly resists typical smoke cleaning. A puffback in a business is a disaster and may be covered by your commercial insurance policy.

Unless the release of soot was very minimal, you’re going to need professional smoke damage experts to restore your business. They use custom cleaning agents and have been certified by the IICRC to use them safely. Cleaning agents found in hardware stores just aren’t up to the job and may cause more damage than good.

Puffback damage should always be treated seriously. Your furnace will need an immediate inspection, and you’ll have to remove heavy soot before you’ll be allowed to reopen.

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