Furnace “Puff Back” Q&A

October 15, 2014 at 1:03 PM | Posted in Home | Leave a comment
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What is a “Puff Back”?
A “Puff Back” is an explosion in the burner chamber of a furnace or boiler. If you have forced hot air you have a furnace, and if you have forced hot water you have a boiler. These explosions are usually small and confined to the burner chamber but they can cause quite a bit of damage to the heating system. Most “Puff Backs” occur in oil-fired heating systems. In a system fueled with gas, the explosion is usually bigger and more damaging.

What causes a “Puff Back”?
A “Puff Back” may have many causes but is always traced to a lack of maintenance or a failure to make needed repairs. Having your heating system cleaned and inspected annually to help you avoid problems.

What damage can a “Puff Back” cause?
A “Puff Back” can result in major damage by sending soot and smoke throughout the house. Walls, ceilings, carpets, furniture, and curtains become coated with a fine film of soot and smoke. The damage is usually worse with a forced hot air heating system or central air conditioning because the duct work provides a path through the house allowing the soot and smoke to reach more areas.

What do I do if this happens to me?
If you have a “Puff Back”, report it to your insurance agent and contact a professional cleaning company to begin clean up. Soot and smoke can create quite a mess and be very hard to clean up. Special techniques and materials are usually required to avoid leaving greasy smears. In severe cases, furniture and carpeting may need to be replaced.

Am I covered under my homeowner policy?
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.

Schedule your furnace to be cleaned before the cold weather takes hold to avoid the chances of a “Puff Back” in your home.

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