Most of us have never heard of a puff back. A puff back occurs when an oil burner backfires, sending soot throughout your home or business. It can happen all at once (like a balloon popping) or more gradually (as if someone was holding the end of a balloon and letting the air seep out slowly). It is usually easy to tell when a puff back has occurred. Soot covers all areas of the home or business and may range from light to very heavy. Sometimes the disbursement of soot is so light and fine it appears to be ordinary dust. This “dust” however reappears hours after being cleaned. There is often a strong odor of oil accompanying a puff back.
How can I clean a puffback?
If you try to wash the film of soot off of your furniture & walls with ordinary soap & water, it actually smears the soot around without removing it, leaving you (and your walls) rubbed the wrong way. Home restoration companies have to use special chemicals to remove the soot; a washcloth and some warm water is not going to be effective. But as they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of soot not on your walls: having your oil furnace checked and cleaned annually be a service technician will prevent even the grimiest furnaces from spewing into your home. Best done before winter! Gas furnaces burn cleaner and do not pose this type of peril.
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