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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

SERVPRO provides emergency response service and effective remediation for furnace puffbacks this fall and winter on Long Island

10/14/2021 (Permalink)

soot residue SERVPRO Emergency Response Service for puffback cleanup and restoration aids with fast smoke and soot removal to avoid additional damages.

Fall is officially here, furnaces across the Northeast are getting turned on for the first time as the colder weather descends. When an oil or gas furnace is operating properly, there is little to no soot generated as the fuel is burned to create the heat you need to warm your home or business. Unfortunately, it only takes one leaky or clogged burner to create a dangerous situation leading to an explosion known as a puff back. SERVPRO of Medford has helped countless home and business owner’s cleanup, remediate and restore smoke and soot property damage caused from an oil or gas furnace puffback or fireplace puffback.

A residential or commercial furnace malfunction causes a puffback, when an oil or gas burner backfires, sending black, sticky soot and debris through the furnace or boiler's exhaust system, and throughout your home or business you’ve experienced a puffback. There are two types of puff backs, one type happens all at once, like a balloon popping, emitting soot, smoke and debris throughout your property. A puffback can also happen more gradually, as if someone was holding the end of a balloon and letting the air seep out slowly. If you have a forced air system, the problem can worsen as your heating ducts can spread the soot into every corner of your home, with the same efficiency that they spread heat. Although there is no guaranteed way to prevent a puffback, annual inspection and maintenance of your oil burner or furnace can greatly reduce your risk.

Once a Puff back occurs soot spreads throughout your home, covering your furniture, drapery, wall, ceilings, and other property and possessions. The soot coverage may range from a light dusting to a more concentrated ash. Soot is black and sticky and brings some major cleaning and deodorizing challenges and concerns. Though it may look like a DIY project, it’s best left to professionals to handle soot removal and cleaning because it has the potential to spread easily and become an even bigger concern. Soot is not only extremely messy and pungent, it may be carcinogenic, and needs to be cleaned and deodorized properly to avoid secondary damages to your property and your family.

Long Island chooses SERVPRO for professional disaster restoration services after a furnace puffback

Our restoration process begins with a thorough inspection of your Long Island home, assessing the damage and determining which equipment and services are necessary. Our Emergency response crews are available right away to begin the most effective techniques for cleaning and restoring your property and possessions, including soot, smoke and stain removal, odor removal and deodorizing. Our restoration professionals are here to help with all the recovery solutions you need to restore your property just like before.


  • Immediate placement of HEPA air scrubbers and hydroxyls to begin soot and odor mitigation
  • Contact insurance carrier/adjuster to give them the size and scope of the project
  • Clean the ash and soot residue that builds up on surfaces, including walls, cabinets and furniture
  • Coordinate the cleaning of soft goods, such as clothing, bedding, draperies, furniture, etc.

Quick action is necessary to minimize property damages after a fire or furnace puff back, smoke and soot are easily absorbed by many materials within your property and can have a lasting effect. Smoke and soot can be absorbed by almost all your possessions including, furniture and building materials, especially porous materials and surfaces. Soot’s chemical composition is a major challenge for post puffback repair, secondary damages can start to occur immediately. Puff back cleanup experts will assist you during your puff back event, providing you services and solutions every step of the cleanup and restoration process. Puff back cleaning services can include; odor removal from your structure and contents, structural soot cleanup and smoke damage cleanup, pack-out and claim assistance, contents cleanup and smoke damage mitigation.

After your home suffers a puff back, the spread of soot can cause wide-spread damages throughout your home and can feel especially overwhelming and discouraging. SERVPRO restoration professionals have extensive training and experience to clean and remediate the damages your property is facing.

If your home or business experiences a puffback, you should:

  • Notify your insurance agent immediately
  • Throw away all exposed food
  • Call a repairman to fix the malfunctioning oil furnace
  • Call SERVPRO to begin cleaning and deodorizing all affected areas immediately

Our team will perform a complete smoke and soot damage cleanup, loss documentation, oil smoke odor removal, property recovery and disposal of non-recoverable items, and a tailored solution to return your building and contents to preloss condition and reverse the signs of your oil burner property damage event. Calling SERVPRO after a home or business puffback provides an advanced cleanup and restoration solution complete with advanced equipment, expert knowledge and experience that you can trust to restore your home and possessions, “Like it never even happened.”

How to change seasons with your heating and ventilation system

Now that the seasons are changing, it’s almost time to make the switch from cooling to heating your home. By transitioning seasons wisely, you can have your home and HVAC system primed for maximum comfort and efficiency throughout the fall and coming winter. Here are four ways to make the transition go smoothly:


Closed or obstructed registers can upset pressure balance within the HVAC system and cause a loss of efficiency or even an unexpected equipment shutdown due to overheating. To prevent these issues, make sure that your registers are open and not blocked by furniture, area rugs, long curtains or similar items. SERVPRO has professional air duct cleaning services to keep your HVAC/air duct system working smoothly, scheduling proper cleaning and maintenance can improve your indoor air quality and energy efficiency lowering your operational costs over time.


Transitioning seasons is also the perfect time to check the air filter and replace it if it shows any visible dirt accumulation. Having a fresh filter in place ensures that air can flow freely through the HVAC system, which helps avert the problems caused by restricted airflow.


A thorough furnace checkup by a certified technician can verify that key components are working safely and reliably, so your home or business stays comfortable and there’s less risk of exposure to deadly carbon monoxide gas.

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