Reynolds Restoration President, Anthony Worrall, was featured on the Central Penn Business Journal Insights blog. This weeks post, “A Dirty Disaster – The Furnace Puff Back” went live on December 11, 2015.


Every year Reynolds Restoration sees a significant uptick in emergency restoration calls between the months spanning November to March. There are many property hazards during the heating season – heating equipment is recognized as a leading cause of all fire-related incidents. Statistically, almost half of home heating equipment fires occur during the months of December, January, and February. However, did you know that fire is not the only threat your heating equipment presents?

A common equipment malfunction known as a furnace ‘puff back’ poses a significant threat to the contents of your home or business. A puff back is a misfire that occurs when the burner mechanism fails to ignite, allowing gas to build up before the next attempt at ignition, resulting in an explosion or backfire. A puff back is capable of sending soot, ashy residue, and noxious odors throughout your property via the furnace/boiler exhaust system and heating ducts. Puff backs present themselves in two ways: a chronic occurrence that slowly accumulates on vents, ceilings, and baseboards, or as an abrupt occurrence that accumulates massive amounts of residue quickly throughout the property.

In the event that a sudden puff back does occur, you should first assess the situation and determine the extent of the damage. Furnace residues often present themselves as an oily and sticky film that can pose a serious headache to clean up and eliminate. If this soot has stained your furniture, walls, coverings, or bedding you will need to contact a professional contents restoration or cleaning service to determine the appropriate cleaning method to extract both odors and stains. Further, the heating system will also need to be professionally serviced and cleaned before attempting to restart the system for future use.

In order to prevent this dirty disaster from forcing you out of your home or business, make sure that you inspect and service your heating equipment annually. Manufacturer recommended maintenance and cleaning can also help to prevent these sudden and devastating occurrences.


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