I had a WHAT?
If you've walked into your home to find a thin layer of black soot covering every surface and black cobwebs in the corners of your ceiling, it's likely you've had a furnace puffback.
Although not an everyday occurrence, we receive several restoration calls a year from homeowners who have had a furnace puffback. A puffback occurs when the oil burner malfunctions. This can be because the burner doesn’t ignite immediately and a buildup of fumes causes an explosion similar to that of a car backfiring. Puff backs can also happen when debris builds up and causes an explosion when the boiler turns on. In either case, the explosion sends soot and debris through the furnace or boilers exhaust system and into your home. In our experience, the soot tends to be more widespread in forced hot air systems as the heating ducts spread the soot with same efficiency that they spread air throughout the home.
A puffback leaves a fine layer of oil based soot on all of the surfaces of a home. This includes hard surfaces such as floors, walls and furniture as well as soft furnishings such as curtains, bedding, clothing and carpeting. In fact, because it is literally blasted throughout your house, the soot from a puffback manages to find its way into every nook and cranny.
When you’ve had a puffback, you will know it!
You may first notice a black sticky film on your countertops and then realize that it is widespread throughout your home. Some homeowners will see what appears to be black spiderwebs in the corners of your rooms - this is a common way the soot collects and settles.
Attempts to remove the soot will prove futile and possibly make the damage worse. Because of its oil based nature, the residue left after a puffback requires professional restoration. Our team is experienced, trained and equipped to properly clean your home and it’s contents of oil and soot. The good news is that puffbacks are typically covered under your homeowners insurance policy. When you experience a puffback, call your oil burner specialist, your insurance agent and SERVPRO of Shelton, Naugatuck for immediate service.