A puff back occurs when a furnace or boiler does not ignite properly and allows the oil or natural gas vapors to build up within the combustion chamber of the furnace. When it ignites, the excess fuel in the chamber causes a mini-explosion inside the furnace.
This explosion expels soot in the burner chamber with force into the heating system, from there it finds its way onto your walls, baseboards, floor, other surfaces. Not only is the structure of the property affected, but also the contents – many times, even contents in drawers, cabinets, and closets! To the touch, this soot is oily and can prove to be very toxic if exposed for too long.
In many cases, cleaning up puff backs isn't as simple as cleaning up soot after fire damage.
Whenever you experience a puff back (it is fairly noticeable), the first thing you should do is to turn off your heating system, or you may end up having to face fire, and/or smoke damage. If you smell fire or think there is a risk of fire/carbon monoxide buildup, evacuate immediately.
If safe, or once the fire marshal has allowed you to go inside:
If you have experienced a puff back in your oil or gas-fired furnace or heating system, Mammoth Restoration can help you get rid of all soot, odors, and toxic materials in your home. Our partners in the HVAC industry suggest annual cleaning and preventative maintenance of furnaces to help prevent another puff back in the future. Call us at 609.859.5600 or email us.