Black Soot Coming From Heating Vents? Check For Puffbacks
It's the time of year in New Jersey when temperatures are falling and we turn on our home heating systems. But, suddenly you're finding black soot in your house, coming from the heating vents. What's the source of this mysteriously appearing soot deposition? Your answer may lay in the heating system of your Hunterdon County home: A puff back.
What's A Puff Back?
A puff back occurs when your furnace, boiler, or water heater is not working properly and causes incomplete combustion. This then causes unburned fuel to accumulate in the combustion chamber. When this excess fuel finally ignites, it causes a misfire, or explosion in your furnace, boiler, or water heater which produces smoke and black soot particles. This smoke and soot then makes its way around your home through the heating vent system, leaving black stains across your home.
Puff backs can cause black soot to come from your heating vents and spread to nearby walls and ceilings. When unaddressed, your soot problems can even damage your furniture, curtains, bedding, cabinets, countertops, food, and more.
Signs of Puff backs
Once you notice black soot in your house, you should investigate further to determine exactly where it is coming from. When you specifically notice black soot coming from heating vents, it's most likely a sign that your home heating system is experiencing puff backs. Other signs of puff backs include:
- Visible soot or debris on top of your boiler, furnace, or water heater.
- Oil leaks around the oil supply line
- Hearing bangs or 'puffs' when your heating system starts
- Noises from heating system even after it has turned off
- Noticing strong, strange odors in your home after the heater turns on
- Black soot or black spots on walls, floors, or ceilings
Are Puff Backs Dangerous?
Puff backs do pose a considerable risk to you and your home, but most of the time aren't extremely dangerous. It is highly important to address puff backs once you identify them to prevent them from becoming dangerous. You should call your HVAC company to inspect your heating system immediately after identifying any of the above signs.
Puff backs carry the risk of starting a fire in your home, cause carbon monoxide leaks, and spread soot particles around your home that you shouldn't be constantly breathing in.
Are There Any Other Causes of Black Soot in Your House?
If you inspect your home heating system and find that puff backs aren't to blame for your black soot problem, there are other possible culprits. The largest culprit would be soot from candles burning in your New Jersey home.
Candles produce soot when they don't cleanly burn or completely combust. If your candles are constantly giving off smoke, are near a draft, or aren't high-quality, they can cause soot to collect on the walls, ceilings, and other surfaces of your home.