As the days start getting shorter and the weather starts getting colder, many homeowners will be turning on their heating systems.
It is very common to have heating problems this time of year because they have gone unused for so many months. Besides your heater just not working at all, a very common and potentially dangerous problem are “puffbacks.”
A puffback occurs when a boiler or furnace misfires and causes smoke and soot to release. This misfire is usually caused by improper lighting and allows gas or oil to build up. When it finally ignites properly, this causes a puffback. The damage can be anywhere from smoke or even a small explosion.
A puffback can occur in both gas or oil furnaces. However, they are more common in oil-fired furnaces. It is very important to conduct yearly maintenance on your furnace to prevent puffbacks.
If not attended to quickly, smoke/soot can spread throughout the entire home. This can occur suddenly or gradually and are not always immediately detectable. In more serious cases, soot can cover a majority of your home, business and its contents. The soot can range from light to very heavy and may appear as regular dust. However, this “dust” will reappear hours after being cleaned and may have a gray tint. You may notice “soot webs” that look a lot like cobwebs, but are darker in color and smell like oil. The longer a puffback is left is left unattended the worse the damage.