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Faulty Heating Systems Can Mean Expensive Soot Problems for Homeowners


A simple test can help detect faulty heating units from causing soot contamination and damaging the contents of homes with help from EMSL Analytical.

With cold weather now hammering most of the country, people are breaking out the sweaters and many homes and buildings have their furnaces working overtime to keep occupants warm and comfortable. One thing property owners should be on the lookout for during this time of year is any buildup or appearance of soot from faulty furnaces.

Few homeowners have likely heard of the term “puffback” although it is something they should be aware of. A puffback occurs when a furnace is incorrectly operating creating soot that can slowly or quickly fill a property causing extensive damage and costly remediation. Soot may also be an indicator of other types of furnace problems and faulty combustion. It may even be an indicator of potentially deadly levels of carbon monoxide.

Soot, carbon black and other combustion byproducts deposited on surfaces can lead to permanent discoloration and “ghosting” effects. Sampling for soot and carbon black on surfaces is a simple procedure that property owners, HVAC technicians or environmental professionals can easily perform. All it takes is to wipe as much area as necessary to darken a special sample collection pad for analysis.

“It is important for customers needing soot analysis to be sure their samples are being properly analyzed,” reported Paul Cochrane, Marketing Director at EMSL Analytical, a leading soot and carbon black testing laboratory. “Since insurance claims are often involved in these types of cases be sure to deal with only a laboratory that is experienced in this type of testing,” Cochrane went on to report.

EMSL Analytical performs soot, carbon black and combustion byproducts testing using a combination of techniques in culmination with Electron Microscopy. For more information on soot testing services contact EMSL Analytical at (800)220-3675 or

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a leading, national provider of environmental and materials testing services and products to professionals and the general public. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.



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