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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Responding to Puffback in Commercial Buildings

12/30/2019 (Permalink)

Soot webs on ceiling. Puffback damage Puffback damage in Ellijay, NC

Responding to Puffback in Commercial Buildings

A furnace puffback is a messy and potentially dangerous situation that happens when your furnace doesn't ignite properly the first time. As unburned gas builds up in the combustions chamber, a lot of pressure also builds. When the system finally does ignite, gas, oil, and soot "puffs" out of the furnace. The resulting puffback damage could be limited to the area right around the furnace, or it could extend throughout your entire heating and cooling system.

How You Should Respond

There are a few things you need to know before you face this situation:

  • Puffbacks are more likely to happen in an oil furnace that a gas system.
  • Proper maintenance is the best way to avoid puffback damage.
  • The soot and other substances affecting your business can be difficult to remove.


As the building owner or manager, your first steps should include reporting damages to your insurance company, contacting a trained fire and smoke damage cleanup company for repairs, and calling a qualified heating and cooling technician to repair the malfunctioning furnace.

Cleanup Services Provided by Professionals

The professionals from a restoration company have participated in targeted trainings, so they know what types of risks to expect when working with soot and oil residue. These technicians have the tools and equipment to aggressively tackle the cleanup and restoration necessary to bring your building back into its pre-damage condition. If the puffback spread through the building's ventilation system, it's especially important to have professionals doing the cleanup.

Why Hire Professionals?

The mess and confusion caused by a furnace puffback can be upsetting. Your first response may be to start cleaning up right away. The best response, however, is to wait for trained technicians to do this work. It's possible that you could do more damage by attempting to clean up without the proper equipment and training. When your Ellijay, NC, building is affected by puffback damage, contact professionals to be sure the job is done right.

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