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What Is Furnace Puff Back and How Can I Fix It?

Puff backs are explosions that occur when oil-burning furnaces don’t ignite properly due to system oil leaks, clogs or other problems. If a furnace connects to a forced-air system, the soot and smoke from a puff back is distributed through the duct system to every room it serves. It contaminates the air and leaves a grimy, sticky residue on virtually every exposed surface. A puff back creates an overwhelming mess, and if it’s not cleaned promptly and properly, it can cause permanent damage to a home’s contents and serious health problems for those who live there.

It’s almost impossible for a non-professional to fully restore the environment after a puff back. Most common cleaning methods and products are ineffective, and those who try to use them may find that they only make things worse. For example, vacuuming drives soot deeper into carpeting and upholstery, and this often causes permanent stains. Without professional cleaning and restoration, residual soot can cause corrosion on metal fixtures and even electronic devices throughout the home.

Without the proper equipment and personal protection devices, exposure to the tiny, oil-based particles can result in respiratory illnesses like asthma or COPD, skin or eye irritation, nausea, vomiting and dizziness. Long-term exposure caused by inadequate cleaning after a puff back may result in an increased risk of cancer and cardiovascular problems.

Fortunately, cleaning companies that specialize in smoke and fire restoration have the knowledge and expertise to handle puff back clean-ups in a safe and effective way. Professional cleaning guards homeowners against exposure to toxic substances and restores their home’s contents without causing further damage. Hiring a professional cleaning company also reduces liability if a puff back occurs in a commercial building. Whether a puff back disaster affects a home or a business, professional intervention reduces loss and ensures the best possible outcome.