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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Furnace Puffbacks: Sometimes Silent, Always Dangerous

7/11/2021 (Permalink)

We’d like to share a story about a very dangerous situation that we ran into recently.

A wonderful woman (let’s call her Jean) lived alone in her home, with her adult children living nearby. 

Every time her children came over, they would express surprise that their mother (who had always kept a spotless home) was allowing her house to become so overrun with dust.

“I can’t keep up,” she told them. “I dust every day - it just comes back.”

Nobody thought much of it until one day, her son walked in to find his mother passed out on the floor. He rushed her to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with severe respiratory issues and barely made it out of the ICU.

After some investigation, the son found out that the dust they’d been commenting on was not dust at all - it was soot. His mother’s newly installed furnace had been improperly set up, and for over a year, it had been venting noxious fumes and toxic soot into her house every time she turned it on.

The problem was soon rectified, and appropriate actions were sought against the installer. The next step was to call SERVPRO of West Seneca/Lancaster to clean up the mess - a cleanup that turned out to be fully covered by his mother’s homeowners insurance.

Today, Jean is in excellent health and back in her home. But let her story be a lesson to you - if you have any reason to suspect that soot is building up in your home, or that your furnace is puffing back, do not wait to seek professional guidance. Your health may depend on it.

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