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Subject: Pollutants created by oil furnace failure

Pollutants created by oil furnace failure

From: Barbara Appelbaum <aandh>
Date: Monday, February 22, 1999
Ann Baldwin <baldwin [at] netaxis__com> writes

>I recently received a call from an individual whose furnace failed,
>producing what is known in the home heating industry as a "puff
>back".  The residence houses a collection of works of art on paper,
>a flag, several wooden sculptures, metal objects, and audio

We have helped clean up at least three of these.  Several things
seem to be recurring issues.  The distribution of soot obviously
depends on the circulation of air, but it is difficult to tell
without testing where the soot has gone because things do not *look*
dirty. This is because the soot is so finely divided.  Because the
things do not look dirty or damaged, and because everything within
range of the soot including walls, floors and ceilings still needs
complete cleaning, it may be difficult to get insurance to pay the
full cost.  While many things can be cleaned with dusting cloths
like "Preserve-it," which is very soft but does not catch on rough
surfaces, textiles and other porous things may have to be washed to
get the soot off.  Like any soot, there are oily components that
cross-link and get more difficult to remove with time. Even though,
unlike fires, puff-backs do not *damage* collections, they are
extremely traumatic for the institution, and will likely take at
least a year to work through.  And like any other disaster, they
will be much more difficult to deal with if the institution does not
have good record-keeping and organization of collections.

                  Conservation DistList Instance 12:69
                Distributed: Tuesday, February 23, 1999
                       Message Id: cdl-12-69-001
Received on Monday, 22 February, 1999

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