Preventing Furnace Puff Backs

October 23, 2013 at 9:15 AM | Posted in Home, Personal Insurance, Personal Property, Safety Tips | Leave a comment
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Furnace “puff backs” occur most often in winter, and if you have ever had a puff back occur in your home, you know how messy and smelly they can be. It can take weeks to get the smell of oil out of your house, furnishings, and clothing. Most times it needs to be professionally cleaned so you are not smelling oil for months. Here is some information on puff backs provided by ServiceMaster by Williams.

What Is A Puff Back? A puff back is a messy and potentially dangerous event in which smoke and soot are released into the furnace, often resulting in oily black “webs” of soot being distributed throughout the house, requiring extensive cleaning and sometimes professional restoration.

How Does A Puff Back Occur? Puff backs occur when an oil-burning furnace doesn’t ignite when it should. Oil vapors build up in the ignition chamber, causing an explosion when the igniter finally triggers. This explosion blows soot and other debris through the furnace’s exhaust system and into the heating system, which carries it into the house. Even if you have forced hot water instead of forced air, the puff back can blow soot out of the furnace.

How To Prevent A Puff Back. Preventing puff backs in oil-burning furnaces is largely a matter of performing regular maintenance on the oil-burning furnace to keep it in proper operating condition. Inspect the furnace periodically for oil leaks, and pay attention to any odd smells or soot in the furnace room.

Your homeowner policy will usually cover damage to your home and contents caused by a puff back. If a puff back occurs, we recommend that you do not attempt to clean it yourself. Using standard cleaning products could cause further damage and may not get rid of the oil residue and odors. The cost of hiring a professional cleaning company would be covered as part of the claim. If you have any questions on puff backs or how your policy will respond, call us at 888-850-9400.

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