How to Handle Puff Backs
If you experience a puff back in your home, you may need fire damage restoration services because puff backs generate soot. Our fire and smoke damage repair services remove soot stains from your property and should only be performed by a professional.
The best way to prevent a puff back is to understand what it is and how it starts so you can take the appropriate steps to avoid it.
What is a Puff Back?
The average person most likely doesn’t know a puff back is. A puff back occurs when an oil burner fails to ignite immediately and the fumes build-up, causing the furnace to backfire. When a furnace misfires, it spreads soot throughout your property either gradually or all at once. Either way, soot coats all your belongings, ranging from light to heavy, and it may appear as ordinary dust.
However, the ‘dust’ will reappear soon after being cleaned, so look for this sign when trying to identify soot masquerading as dust. Soot is also accompanied by a strong odor of oil, so it’s important to remove the soot as soon as possible.
There are several steps you can take to prevent a puff back from occurring in your home.
First, hire a service technician to inspect and clean your oil heating system annually. A professional understands the proper way to open, clean, and inspect the furnace. A great way to tell if your furnace needs inspection is to listen for loud noises or rumbling from your heating system.
Next, keep the heating system dust-free and don’t clutter the area with lots of items. Clean up soot and oil drips on the piping fittings right away and call a technician immediately after.
Finally, install a carbon monoxide detector to detect early stages of a puff back because puff backs increase the levels of carbon monoxide in your home. Our professionals are ready and prepared to restore your property to its original state after a puff back.
How to Clean Puff Backs
You may be motivated to clean up the puff back yourself, but you will quickly discover that your store-bought cleaning products and home remedies won’t work. Vacuuming, ammonia, baking soda and distilled vinegar, dishwashing liquid, and chemical sponges are all examples of common cleaning methods that will be ineffective against soot from a puff back.
Even ordinary water and soap will smear the soot because it contains petroleum. You will inadvertently track soot all over your property and worsen the problem during your attempts to clean. Fire damage professionals will be required because they possess specially formulated commercial cleaning agents.
Our professionals at ServiceMaster have the equipment and experience to handle soot and smoke damage, even if your furnace malfunctioning doesn’t result in a fire. We will start by pre-cleaning materials and surfaces affected by smoke or soot to reduce the chance of discoloration on those materials. We will begin cleaning the air in your home by placing the equipment right away.
Next, our technicians will create a plan to restore and clean your belongings. Our crew will pack up your electronics, clothes, and decorative items yourself and process them in a facility with specialized equipment such as an Esporta wash system and ultrasonic technology. You can rest easy knowing that your household items have been safely inventoried and packed and will be returned free of residue and soot.
Once the floors, walls, ceilings, and fixtures have been cleaned, we will restore and deodorize your carpets and upholstery. We will perform an air duct cleaning to test if your home ventilation and air quality are safe and clean. Finally, our crew will return and unpack your personal belongings after the cleaning process.
If a puff back occurs on your property, soot and residue will cover your home’s interior. Your appliances, lights, walls, doors, and cabinets will be covered in a dingy film and the soot will make the air smell like petroleum and cause nausea and headaches. If you experience these issues, you have most likely had a puff back and require fire damage cleanup services.