Preventing Furnace Puff Backs

A puff back is an explosion of buildup oil in the burning chamber of a furnace, boiler or water heater. Puff backs can severely damage your furnace and release soot on walls and furniture through the exhaust system, resulting in costly cleaning and restoration.

When the furnace is running, leaky pipes build up oil on the bottom of the oil container, which will accumulate until it ignites when the next burning cycle begins. A puff back can also occur when the shutdown phase of the burner is not working properly or when the components of the furnace are poorly maintained.

To prevent a puff back:

  • Have your furnace cleaned and serviced by a professional at least once a year. The technician should open, clean and inspect the furnace thoroughly.
  • Be aware of soot, odors and noises in the furnace room and in the building. If you hear rumbling in the furnace, call a professional to inspect the source.
  • Check for oil leaks and air leaks on both the furnace and its piping system. Watch for oil drips as well as dirt at piping fittings.
  • Look for debris in the fuel vent connector. If you find any, that could point to furnace malfunction that could cause puff backs. Call a professional right away.

If a puff back should ever occur in your home or business, it is imperative to act fast to prevent further damage. Smoke is highly corrosive and quickly penetrates walls and porous surfaces, making it difficult to eliminate stains and odors.

Call your local PuroClean professional to restore your property and eliminate potential consequences caused by lingering smoke and soot.  

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PuroClean is a leading commercial and residential restoration franchising company.  Founded in 2001, the company offers fire and water cleanup and restoration services, mold mitigation and remediation, and biohazard cleanup and removal throughout the United States and Canada through its franchise network of 240 offices. Learn more.