“Puff Backs” 101

“Puff Backs” 101

What’s a puff back, how are they caused, what’s the danger, what do I do if I have one, and how can I prevent them in the first place?

Here in CT, we’re expecting temperatures to dip below freezing in the coming days. Not sure about you, but it seems to us like the weather has decided to transition into winter weather conditions all at once!

Our furnaces are our saviors this time of year, and you should anticipate running yours for the next few days and nights. Here’s the thing, if you haven’t had your furnace properly maintained, you risk having a puff back. You definitely don’t want to have one of these happen in your home, because they’re messy, dirty, and potentially very dangerous!

What’s Puff Back?

A puff back is a misfiring of your furnace that causes smoke and soot to be pushed out of your system and into your home. Soot can cover your drapes, bedding, carpets, furniture, walls, clothes, and whatever else it can stick to.

What Causes Puff Backs?

Puff backs occur when an explosion pushes soot out of your furnace or boiler’s exhaust system and into your home. Sometimes, these are large explosions, but they can also be smaller ones that, over time, allow smaller amounts of soot to backfire into your home.

You should know that when a puff back occurs in a forced-air heating system often leads to more damage because the soot and smoke are pushed throughout the home.

What do You do if Puff Back Occurs?

The first thing you should do if you experience puff back is to document the damage that occurred. This can be helpful later on if you need to file a claim. If you want to file a claim, you can call our office and we can discuss your options, as well as the process of doing so.

Leave the cleanup to the professionals. Call our office, and we can suggest which professional cleaning companies can assist you in the cleanup. Cleaning this amount of soot is incredibly difficult, and you will likely create more mess than you can clean up. Clothing and other items that cannot be cleaned will need to be thrown away. Exposed food must be thrown away.

Contact a heating repair service before you turn the system on again. They can assess the damage to your system and fix the issue for you.

How can I Prevent Puff Back?

Have your heating system regularly cleaned and maintained by professionals. Chances are, you’re not a heating system professional, and you won’t know what to look for or how to properly maintain and clean your system yourself.

You may not be a heating professional, but you can still be an informed homeowner. Oil drips, a loud bang or “puff” after startup, a strange odor, soot or debris, or loud noises that occur after you shut your system off are all warning signs for homeowners. Your system may not be running the way that it should if you’re experiencing these issues, and you should address these issues by calling in the professionals right away.

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