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Faulty Oil Furnaces Can Mean Expensive Soot Problems for Property Owners


EMSL Analytical provides a simple test that can help detect faulty heating units from causing additional soot contamination and damaging the contents of properties.

Westmont, NJ, September 17th, 2009

With summer quickly coming to an end cold weather is just around the corner in many parts of the country. Soon many homes and commercial buildings will be turning on their furnaces for the first time this season. One thing property owners should be on the lookout for as they begin to use their furnaces is any buildup or appearance of soot from faulty oil furnaces.

A ‘puffback’ can occur when an oil furnace is not operating properly. This often creates soot that can slowly (or quickly) spread through 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, provided free from EMSL Analytical, for analysis.

“Soot damage from incorrectly operating furnaces can lead to expensive repairs,” reported Joe Frasca, Executive Vice President at EMSL Analytical, a leading materials testing laboratory. “Insurance claims are often involved in these types of cases so it’s important that people utilize only laboratories that are experienced in this type of testing,” Frasca continued.

EMSL Analytical performs soot, carbon black and combustion byproducts testing using a combination of techniques in culmination with Electron Microscopy. To learn more about this or other testing services contact EMSL Analytical at (800) 220-3675, email or visit

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a leading, national provider of environmental, consumer products 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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