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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Puff backs, What You Need to Know. 516-620-4579

1/30/2023 (Permalink)

What is a puff back?

A puff back is a malfunction inside the burner chamber of the furnace or boiler caused by an imbalanced mix of fuel and oxygen.

The damage:

Puff backs will send soot and smoke throughout the house causing quite a mess that can vary from a very light to very dense coating.


While there are many causes, puff backs are most commonly traced back to lack of maintenance or care. Many times there is a failure to make needed repairs to the furnace or boiler. Nozzle clogs or malfunctions may also cause puff backs to occur.

The Aftermath:

Cleaning up the mess caused by a puff back is not for amateurs. Professionals, such as our crew of technician’s at SERVPRO of Garden City/Hempstead are trained to properly clean and disinfect the affected areas. Attempting to clean a puff back with soap and water will most likely result in just smearing the soot around and not removing it.


There are warning signs to look out for before a puff back will occur. Soot and debris on top of your boiler, furnace, or water heater, or black soot stains on ceilings or walls in the boiler or furnace room could be signs of a heating system needing attention. Your heating system may also make a muffled rumbling sound or strange noises when starting up or shutting down. If you notice any of these signs you should have a professional take a look at the system as soon as possible!

If such an issue occurs in your home or the home of a friend or family member please know that SERVPRO of Garden City/Hempstead is here to help 24/7!!!

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