Furnace Puffback Cleanup
Furnace ignition problems with oil heat systems can result in incomplete combustion. Incomplete combustion can cause a small explosion in the system sending soot particles throughout the building. That’s what is commonly referred to as a “puff back.”
The soot from a puff back is a sticky, greasy, grimy mess second to none. And, it can present a severe health hazard in your place of business. All those miniscule, oil based particles embed themselves in curtains and carpets while contaminating the air with known and dangerous carcinogens.
Running a vacuum over it only grinds the soot deeper and creates stains that will never come out. Wiping the soot from walls and ceilings creates a place where paint will no longer stick. And, unless the soot is quickly and professionally removed, it can cause corrosion of metals on door knobs, faucets, and even electronic equipment throughout the building.
Here are the steps you need to take to protect yourself if you have a furnace puff back:
1. Safety first: Make sure you call 911. A furnace puffback is an explosion or miss-firing in the heating system. You want the fire department to check and make sure it’s nothing more serious and that the fire is contained to the heating unit, and that it’s out completely.
2. Shut off the power to the heating system. There’s usually a main power switch, and it’s usually red, located close to the entrance of the area where the furnace is located (i.e., the basement or utility room). Make sure everyone in your office knows where this switch is!
3. If you have carbon monoxide detectors in your office (and we hope you do!) the alarm will sound in the event of a puffback. Don’t wait! A furnace puffback can elevate Carbon Monoxide to dangerous levels in your business. Immediately open all the doors and windows to let fresh air enter the building, and then evacuate while you wait for the fire department.
4. On your way out, unplug computers, printers, fax machines and televisions – anything electronic. Because the oily soot from a puffback permeates everything, it will damage hard drives, computer chips, and other electronic components. All these devices must be professionally cleaned before using them again – or you will end up needing to replace them.
5. Once the fire department has determined that your business is safe to re-enter, call your furnace repair company to clean the system and repair the cause of the puffback. Do not turn on the furnace before taking this step! You could cause more damage and put yourself in jeopardy of an even bigger fire.
6. Make sure you throw away all food or drink that has been exposed to the soot from the puffback. Because the oily soot contains carcinogens, you don’t want to put yourself or your employees at risk.
Because the oily soot from a puff back contains carcinogens, and because it will cover every surface, and fill all the cracks and crevices in your home or office, don’t try to clean it yourself. Instead, call our experienced property damage restoration company that specializes in fire clean and smoke damage mitigation.
While a puff back isn’t as dramatic as a fire, it poses some of the same health risks to animals, people, and properties.
Textiles like clothing, carpets and curtains need to be professionally cleaned. Our company is experienced with fire and smoke damage restoration because simply laundering them won’t remove the oily mess.
Walls and floors will need to be cleaned with special care so that the soot and the smell doesn’t get embedded permanently. You can’t just paint over it. The greasy soot will prevent the paint from sticking.
Metal and glass need to have the oily residue removed fast so that windows and fixtures aren’t permanently corroded or etched.
In short, after a puff back, everything needs a detailed, systematic cleaning by a property damage restoration company like PuroClean Certified Restoration. We have the know how and experience to do the job right.