In a previous blog post, we discussed what a puff back is, the two different kinds – fast and slow – and how you know you’ve had one.
We even talked about prevention – because the best way to deal with a furnace puffback is to make sure you never have one.
But, we didn’t talk about what to do if you get a furnace puffback.
So, here are the 7 steps you need to take to protect yourself if you have a 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 home or office knows where this switch is!
3. If you have carbon monoxide detectors in your home or office (and we hope you do!) the alarm will sound in the event of a puffback. Don’t wait to evacuate!
A furnace puffback can elevate Carbon Monoxide to dangerous levels in your home or 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 home or business is safe to re-enter, call your furnace repair company to clean the system and repair the cause of the puffback.
Please don’t try to 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, your family or your employees at risk.
7. 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.
Call an experienced property damage restoration company that specializes in fire 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 by a company that 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. And no, 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 furnace puffback, everything needs a detailed, systematic cleaning by a property damage restoration company with the know how and experience to do the job right.
PuroClean Emergency Recovery Services specializes in fire and smoke damage restoration. Call 877-750-7876 for immediate assistance.