Puffbacks can cause soot and smoke to cover every surface of your home in a thin film. This residue can appear black, oily, sticky, and cause a smoke odor throughout your home. Before trying to clean after a puffback yourself, you should take these things into consideration.

What is A Puffback? 

A puffback is when built up, unburned fuel finally ignites in the combustion chamber of your furnace, water heater, or boiler. This causes an explosion or misfire, which produces smoke and soot. These particles are then sent through your home's heating system, covering walls, floors, ceilings, upholstery, cabinets, and more.  furnace puffback soot on ceiling

Puffbacks can cause damage to your home in many ways. A few major damages include: 

  • Film of soot and smoke residue covering your entire home
  • Soot particles ruining upholstery, such as curtains, couches, or bedding
  • Damage to components of your heating system from misfires
  • Risk of fire
  • Risk of carbon monoxide poisoning

Can You Clean Puffbacks Yourself?

While you technically can clean up by yourself after a furnace puffback, it's not a good idea. The soot cleaning from a puffback should always be performed by a soot cleaning service to ensure all particles and residues are completely removed. When you try and clean up after a puffback yourself, a few things can happen:

  • Soot and smoke particles can become further embedded into walls when scrubbed
  • Using the wrong types of cleaning chemicals can make it harder to clean the soot later
  • Without the proper equipment and cleaning protocols, smoke and soot smells will linger in the home
  • You may throw away items that have smoke or soot on them that could've been restored by professionals

What Should You Do After A Puffback? 

After a puffback, there are a few easy steps you can take to relieve an overwhelming situation: 

  1. Turn off your heating system to prevent further damages or more puff backs.
  2. Contact your HVAC repairman to have your heating system serviced before turning it on again. If its winter time, utilize space heaters in the meantime. 
  3. Call your homeowners insurance company and file a claim for the soot and smoke cleanup.
  4. Contact a puffback cleaning service local to your area. To find a good fit, you can Google "Puffback cleanup near me" to find a local company. 
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