A smoke or "puffback" loss can be extremely costly. A "puffback" is the term utilized when a heating system malfunctions and resulting in smoke and soot being spread throughout a building. The smoke and soot residue can affect every surface, and each surface requires a proper and thorough cleaning. This includes surfaces which are hidden from view, such as ductwork and HVAC equipment.
Porous surfaces may not be able to be cleaned effectively and safely, so as to remove the harmful contaminants from the smoke. If items cannot be cleaned effectively, they can be claimed as a total loss. Each exposed surface in the area of exposure should be cleaned, along with clothing. Individuals with respiratory ailments and children should be particularly careful about ensuring a proper cleaning.
For reasons associated with air quality, puffback claims can often result in the home being inhabitable. In such cases, an alternative residence can be obtained at the expense of the insurance company for the time that it should take to complete the cleaning and restore a healthy environment.
Confirming a puffback and arranging for proper cleaning and indemnification form an insurance company can become a very complicated task. Puffback should be handled carefully and the assistance of claims professional, such as an insurance lawyer or public adjuster is recommended.
Our office can assist immediately, 24/7 and help with claim submission, obtaining estimates, emergency remediation, alternative living, and piece of mind.
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