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What is a Puffback ?

"Puffback" is one of the most mis-used words in the insurance restoration field. An incident that causes a Smokey or sooty condition within a building is often called a " puffback " by misinformed home-owners. Animals nesting in a chimney, the deterioration and subsequent collapse of a chimney's interior masonry, clogged or loose flue pipes, downdrafts and low voltage all can cause puffback - like conditions. A true PUFFBACK occurs when a malfunction causes a large quantity of oil to collect in the chamber and a sudden ignition causes a minor explosion.

Puffback Cleanup Services Provided By Flag

PUFFBACKS, like many insurance related property losses, respond best to prompt professional cleaning. The opportunity for total cleaning restoration versus painting and replacement is increased when a  knowledgeable professional can diagnose the degree of severity, the oiliness of the deposit, the scope of the loss and, finally the receptiveness to restoration of the varied surfaces and contents of the home or office. 

Experience cannot be overemphasized when evaluating a professional cleaning company. It takes years of on-the-job training and endless seminars, as well as years of successes and some failures to qualify as an insurance restoration specialist. Unfortunately, homeowners are quick to demonstrate that a little knowledge is a dangerous tool, as they try to clean soot from walls and ceilings, only to cause permanent smearing of the paint, necessitating complete repainting, increasing the loss payment.

Homeowners look upon oily soot and smoke as dirt and proceed from there to ruin their homes, because they don't realize that the sooty layer is actually unburned fuel or a carbon deposit. Loose dirt must be removed first, using dry-chemical sponges, so that it does not emulsify and redeposit into the porous paint. The professional then removes the remaining smoke film with specialized chemicals.

Agency personnel and insurance adjusters can play a large role in reducing a loss by advising the insured not to touch walls and fabrics and to wait for the adjuster or a qualified cleaning professional. This simple act can save THOUSANDS of dollars, as the insured is forewarned against their well-intentioned but to often disastrous cleaning attempts. There are, of course, many subtle factors that a professional with years of experience evaluates as he observes and tests the various surfaces and contents of a loss: Is the paint job of recent vintage? Is it latex or oil-based? If not, streaks, skips and uneven application of an amateurish paint job can become the future headache of the cleaning contractor and adjuster.

Expert knowledge of the cleaning characteristics of a wide range of fabrics, woods, carpets and assorted decorative items are essential to protect the best interests of all parties involved in a loss. Insured homeowners or business owners always develop a much keener eye for flaws when dealing with an insurance claim. If overlooked during the initial inspection, fabric furniture and draperies that were worn, frayed, laded etc. often wind up in the famous phrase, "It wasn't that way before the loss" The initial inspection and discussion of prior conditions is, perhaps the most critical part of the surveying and estimating procedure.

Done properly, homeowners and business owners will appreciate an honest appraisal of their home or business. The discussion as to the results a cleaning company can provide will always prevent subsequent anguish and extra loss dollars.

Puffback damage requires more service & expertise than an ordinary contractor or house cleaner can provide to restore property. Flag will remove soot from furniture, carpets, draperies, walls, ceilings and most of the contents in your home or office. 

      Remember Flag is not a janitorial cleaning company. A light coating of soot might be removed easily using the correct cleaning technique, however soot can be permanently embedded by improper cleaning. Flag has decades of experience in the cleaning & restoration industry and most of our work comes from referrals.

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