Furnace Puff Backs – Are You Covered?

What is a Furnace Puff Back?

A furnace puff back occurs when your furnace does not ignite properly. After the failed ignition, a buildup of gas accumulates inside of the combustion chamber. You may notice a small puff of black smoke or even a small explosion. Once the furnace lights properly, this gas will burn.

Some indicators that this may have happened in your home are oily surfaces, such as a light switch or faucet. Soot may also become visible in rooms with dust or cobwebs. Puff backs can go undetected, so knowing the indicators is important in being able to understand how your furnace works.

When is a puff back covered?

A puff back can be covered by your property insurance, but you will want to read your specific policy for more details. In most cases, if the malfunction is out of the owner’s hands, it is likely covered by insurance.

Examples of this would be a leak in the fuel line to the furnace or heater, the fuel nozzle is not working properly or a malfunctioning heat exchanger, causing a lack of ventilation of the combustion gasses. These are all malfunctions of parts of the furnace or heater and are generally covered by your insurance.

When is it NOT covered?

A puff back will likely not be covered when the cause is due to lack of action on the owner’s part. For example, if your chimney is clogged and could have been cleaned, you will not be covered. A few other reasons why a puff back may not be covered would be the owner not using proper fuel, a clogged burner or purposeful overriding of the heating system.

What are you compensated for?

There are three main things you will be compensated for in the event of a puff back:

  • Loss of Personal Property: In the event that the owner’s belongings are damaged due to the puff back, this is almost always covered by insurance. Items such as furniture, appliances, as well as other belongings will be compensated for.
  • Repair of Damaged Equipment: It is common for your insurance to cover the cost of repair of the heater.
  • Temporary Living Expenses: If the damage is so severe where the dwelling needs to be evacuated while repairs are done, the costs are usually covered.

It is smart to review your insurance policy and be knowledgeable about your coverage so that you are prepared if this unfortunate incident occurs. If you are unhappy with the amount that you are offered from your insurance company, consider hiring an experienced public adjuster to help with your claim.

Have questions about your property insurance claim? Feel free to contact Stark Loss for more information about how a Public Adjuster can help.

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