The PuroClean Blog

What is a Furnace Puff Back and How to Prevent One?

What is a puff back?

A puff back is the explosion of oil built up in the burning chamber of a furnace, water heater, or boiler. It can severely damage the furnace and release soot on walls and furniture through the exhaust system, and results in costly cleaning and restoration.

While the furnace is running, leaky pipes cause oil to build up on the bottom of the oil container. Once accumulated, it will ignite when the next burning cycle starts. A puff back can also occur when the shutdown phase of the burner is working improperly or when the components of the furnace have been poorly maintained.

To prevent a puff back:

  • Any furnace must be cleaned and serviced by a professional at least once a year. The technician should open, clean and inspect the furnace thoroughly.
  • Careful monitoring of the soot, odours and noises in the furnace room and in the building. If rumbling in the furnace is noticed, a professional must come inspect the source.
  • Thorough inspection for oil leaks and air leaks on both the furnace and its piping system. Not only oil drips, but also dirt at piping fittings can be a sign of a leak.
  • Inspecting for debris in the fuel vent connector. If any is found, that could point to furnace malfunction that could cause puff backs. A professional must be called right away.

When a puff back occurs in a 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 odours.

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

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