With the end of the year nearing and holidays approaching, colder weather is heading our way. Not only will people prepare by wearing warmer clothes and bundling up when they go outdoors, but also by turning on and using their home’s heating system.
Chances are it has been a while since you have used your furnace to heat your property. If you have an oil or gas furnace or boiler system, you may run into the issue of a puffback when you decide to turn on the heat and warm your residence. Not only can puffbacks be unsightly, but they can be dangerous as well.
To best protect yourself and your property from puffbacks, it is important to be educated on the problem and its causes. Continue reading to learn more about puffbacks, what causes a puffback, how to prevent them, and more.
What is a Puffback?
A puffback is a discharge of smoke, soot, and other debris from a furnace or boiler that occurs due to a misfire. The puffback usually causes black, oily web-like soot to be distributed throughout the property via the heating exhaust system. The soot damage caused by a puffback will often require puffback cleanup help to ensure effective cleaning and removal.
What Causes a Puffback?
A puffback is caused by an improper ignition in a furnace or boiler. When there is an ignition issue, excess gas accumulates in the combustion chamber. This extra fuel will eventually escape the furnace or boiler once it is properly ignited. This causes an explosion that sends smoke and soot out into your property along with the excess gas. Each time the furnace does not ignite correctly, more fuel will build up in the chamber and will not be released until a successful ignition occurs.
Sometimes, the resulting puffback will be minimal, causing minor soot damage to your property. In such an instance, soot may just accumulate in and around the vents. Other times, the resulting puffback will be large, causing severe soot damage to your property. It all depends on how much gas has built up in the combustion chamber.
The more fuel that has accumulated in the chamber, the bigger the explosion will be, which can cause a larger amount of soot damage in your home.
Often times, a puffback happens due to lack of maintenance. This is especially the case for furnaces and boilers that use oil instead of gas because oil furnaces and boilers usually need extra maintenance work. Furthermore, puffbacks from oil furnaces are often messier because they produce larger amounts of soot.
Among the more specific causes of puffbacks include the following:
- Broken or clogged fuel nozzle
- Rusty, corroded, or clogged burner
- Clogged chimney or exhaust
- Combustion chamber leak
- Too many manual system resets
The aforementioned events can all cause excess oil or fuel to accumulate in the combustion chamber, which is why they can result in puffbacks.
How Can Puffbacks Be Prevented?
The best way to prevent puffbacks is to have regular maintenance done for your furnace or boiler. This will ensure it remains in good working condition and that any issues can be addressed right away. It is best to hire a professional to inspect your heating system.
Generally speaking, maintenance should be done at least once a year. The furnace should be cleaned, inspected, and serviced.
However, it is best to have such maintenance done before the cold weather hits when you will need your furnace most. This is because your furnace might have a problem when you need to heat your residential or commercial property. If it does, you’ll have to make do without a functioning furnace until repairs can be made.
In contrast, if your furnace is serviced in the summer or fall and you find out there is an issue, repairs can be conducted when you do not need to use it.
What Should You Do if a Puffback Happens?
If you experience a puffback in your home, the soot and smoke residue must be cleaned as soon as possible. Soot is a toxic and corrosive substance that is harmful to your property and hazardous to your health. Given enough time, the resulting soot damage will become permanent, so don’t hesitate to address the puffback damage.
Puffback Cleaning Services
Professional puffback cleaning services are available to help homes and businesses affected by a boiler or furnace puffback. Licensed technicians have the necessary knowledge, equipment ad cleaning materials to conduct effective puffback cleaning and restoration for surfaces and materials affected by soot and smoke.
During the puffback cleaning service, all hazardous residue like smoke and soot will be removed, restoring personal items and surfaces to their original condition. Experienced technicians will take a comprehensive approach to ensure the job is done right from start to finish, responding quickly to your first call and developing a custom plan to allow for an efficient cleaning process.
From content restoration to odor removal to air scrubbing to air duct cleaning, you can have the peace of mind knowing that all chemicals spread from the puffback are fully removed. With their help, your property will be restored to a clean, safe environment once again.
About Luke Armstrong
Expert in emergency fire and Hutto water restoration services, fire cleanup and Hutto water damage cleanup, mold removal, as well as carpet and upholstery cleaning services. Contributor to several restoration and cleaning blogs.