A puff back occurs when an oil burner backfires, sending soot throughout your home or business. Puff Backs can happen all at once or more gradually.
Soot covers all areas of the home and may range from light to very heavy. Sometimes the disbursement of soot is so light and fine it appears to be ordinary dust. This "dust" however reappears hours after being cleaned. There is often a strong odor of oil accompanying a puff back.
There is no way to say for sure that you won’t have a puff back but the best way to limit puff backs from occurring is to keep your oil burner in good shape and have it serviced annually. This will help to reduce the risk of a puff back.
In general, cleaning should begin within 48 hours of the incident.