Smoke damage is considered any contamination that has taken place as a result of the smoke from a fire.
The smoke itself can be dangerous to you and your family, but it can also make changes in your home environment by changing the air quality within the walls or structures of your house.
Smoke damage isn’t just confined to your house, it’s actually possible for smoke damage to spread from a fire that occurred next door also!!
Don’t worry though we will go into this and everything else you need to know about smoke damage in your house below.
How Do You Know If You Have Smoke Damage
You know you have smoke damage when the air quality in your home has been compromised and you see signs of black or brown stains, soot or even a smell.
The odours from the smoke can make it hard to breathe and leave an awful stench throughout your house for several days after the fire itself is extinguished.
So, you may ask then, what does smoke damage look like?
The visible signs that you have had smoke damage are black or brown stains that can show up on your walls, ceilings and floors.
These dark patches are the result of soot being deposited throughout your property after fires.
It is important to note that they aren’t always visible straight away as they may take some time to appear once the fire has been put out.
How Can Smoke Damage Affect My Home
Smoke has many negative effects on different materials.
The type and temperature of the fire will result in differing degrees of smoke damage to your property.
Permanent discoloration in porous materials regularly used throughout houses is not uncommon at all.
Materials such as plastics, synthetic carpet, various textiles and marble countertops are a known to be some of the main materials affected
Fire, most noticeably, can have an effect on the metal in your home.
This can range from outright corrosion to simply tarnishing depending on the type of metal and smoke.
From doorknobs and kitchen fittings to structural parts and even pipelines, smoke poses a threat to everything in your home.
Corroded pipes are prone to leaking and, on top of that, inflicting water damage.
One of the deadliest ways it can inflict damage is by slipping into small gaps and crevices.
Because smoke particles are so minute. They can go undiscovered for months, producing a lingering odor of smoke.
The only approach to get rid of the odor in your home is to clean your home’s building components with odor-removing products or to get rid of or clean affected things.
What Can Be Saved From Smoke Damage?
Your items may not be recoverable, depending on the extent of the damage and the materials affected.
Cost should be accounted for, as salvaging some objects will cost substantially more than replacing them.
A smoke damage expert can help you figure out what has to be replaced, discarded or cleaned.
Smoke Damage Health Risks
Living in a smoke-damaged home poses a number of health risks.
Smoke produces byproducts such as carbon and tar, which can harm your lungs if inhaled for an extended length of time.
A major concern to note is inhalation of carbon monoxide. Doing so displaces oxygen in the bloodstream, preventing oxygen from reaching the heart, brain, and other vital organs.
An expert can come in and evaluate the carbon monoxide levels in your home after it has been through a fire.
1. Respiratory Issues
The dangers of inhaling carbon monoxide and other particles can make breathing difficult and cause sinus and lung problems if smoke pollution is left ignored.
Lack of smoke alone does not mean that your house is safe to live in again.
Small particles could be embedded in your furniture, carpet and other personal objects, which could be subsequently inhaled. That’s why it’s critical to clean up the smoke as well as any other smoke pollution after a fire.
So, how do you tell if you have smoke in your lungs?
There are a number of indications and symptoms that you have smoke in your lungs.
Coughing, shortness of breath, hoarseness, headache, and abrupt mental state changes are all possible symptoms.
2. Skin Damage
Particles left embedded in your clothing, furniture and carpets can lead to mild all the way up to severe skin irritation that is very difficult to treat, even with lotion.
Reaffirming how important it is to thoroughly clean the damage from smoke.
3. Eye Irritation
A common problem lingering smoke particles may cause is watery, itchy and irritated eyes.
Not only will your itchy eyes continue to be irritated if the problem isn’t fixed but you may cause further harm if not dealt with.
So is it safe to stay in a house with smoke damage?
The simple answer, no. It is not safe for habitants to stay in a place with smoke damage due to the adverse health effects it can have on health.
Types of Smoke Damage
The four most prevalent forms of smoke damage are protein residue, fuel/oil residue, dry smoke and wet smoke. Each one is caused by various factors such as the fueling materials, location and the fire’s temperature.
1. Dry Smoke
The major downside of this smoke damage is its ability to easily fall into crevices or porous objects in your home or company. This means although you may think you’ve cleaned everything by visual inspection, a smokey stench can still be present – talk about inconvenience! Thankfully, dry smoke does not have as strong an odor as the other types of smoke and it is not difficult for a reliable professional to remove it.
2. Protein Residue
This type of fire is more often than not in the kitchen and caused by a cooking error. Low temperature fires evaporate organic material possibly leaving protein residue.
No obvious soot or streaking gets left with this type of smoke damage. However, it can permanently discolor painted, varnished, or other finished surfaces. To the untrained eye protein residue damage is difficult to spot although it is quite easy to smell. If left untreated, the intense unpleasant odor can pervade your entire home.
3. Fuel/Oil Residue
Petroleum residue, also known as fuel/oil residue, isn’t seen very commonly in house fires unless petroleum items were stored in the room.
Petroleum residue has a strong and disagreeable odor that can rapidly destroy upholstered furniture if not cleaned swiftly. It’s a thick, sticky and frankly difficult substance to remove.
4. Wet Smoke
Wet smoke damage is caused by low temperature smoldering fires. When rubber and plastic are burned they produce a sticky residue.
Unlike their other smokey counterparts, these particularly pungent fires usually have less flames but considerably thicker, black smoke.
Unfortunately due to the nature of wet smoke it’s dense, sticky residue is very difficult to clean from your home.
It frequently smears during the cleaning procedure making it rather challenging to remove without the use of specialized equipment.
Smoke Damage in your Home?
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What to Do If You Have Smoke Damage
Time is certainly of the essence when dealing with smoke damage. Smoke will infiltrate into the walls, carpets, and furniture if the situation is not addressed soon.
Here are a few easy techniques to clear up smoke damage:
- To prevent smoke from spreading, turn off your air conditioner.
- Place fans near open doors and windows to remove smoke.
- Hold the nozzle directly above the soot when vacuuming ash and soot to suck it up. It’s possible that pressing down on the soot will leave stains.
- Wipe clean the counters and furniture with a rag.
- Wipe away soot from walls and ceilings with a dry sponge, then wipe away stains with a vinegary spray.
- Clean up any contaminated items, such as light bulbs.
- Any curtains should be washed or dried thoroughly.
Smoke Stain Removal
Let’s take a look at some steps involved in removing a smoke stain:
- Remove soot from the walls. Any extra soot left on the surface should be gently vacuumed up or wiped away.
- Use water to mist. Before cleaning, lightly spritz the surface.
- Use an all-purpose cleaner. Spray full strength all purpose cleaner on all impacted areas such as stone, brick, metal, or plastic.
- Scrub. Use a moist soft bristle scrub brush or non-abrasive scrubbing brush to agitate the stained area and clean painted walls.
- Rinse well with water. Spray the cleansed surface with clean, warm water or wipe it down with a moist towel.
- Dry. Fan dry with a towel or allow to dry naturally.
Is Smoke Damage Covered By Homeowners Insurance?
Most homeowner’s insurance policies cover smoke damage.
Either temporary or permanent damage that occurs to porous items such as textiles, rugs, curtains, and unpainted wood.
Some objects will require replacement, while others can be cleaned.
Cleaning smoke and ash should almost certainly be covered by your insurance company.
Unfortunately there are often disagreements about whether to replace or clean objects that have been exposed to smoke.
For example, your insurance representative may insist on cleaning your drapes, but you may not be happy with this verdict and prefer if they were replaced.
How Much Does Smoke Remediation Cost
Typically the expense of cleaning up after a fire ranges from $3,000 to $26,000.
Similarly, depending on how much furniture, clothing, and carpeting needs to be deodorized, smoke remediation services will vary from $200 to $1,000.
On top of this, you should also consider an HVAC system evaluation.
This is because smoke will almost always find its way into your heating and cooling ducts.
This service can cost anywhere from $150 to $500, with repair costs reaching $1,000 if necessary.
How To Prove Smoke Damage?
Initially, you should gather all photographic and video proof possible.
Try not to disturb the afflicted region while photographing or filming the damage.
Allow only the relevant authorities on site to avoid inflicting more damage or putting yourself in danger due to any possible structural damage to your home.
Contact a professional smoke damage removal company to examine the damage.
They will be able to guide you through the damage and determine what may be saved.
Not only this, they should be able to inform you of approximately how long the smoke damage will last.
When To Call a Professional
The most effective action you can take to lessen the impact of smoke damage is to contact a specialist as soon as possible.
They can analyze the damage, manage the situation, and turn your home back into its original state in no time at all.
Unless you are a fire damage restoration expert it is recommended to hire a contractor to handle these smoke damage assessments and repairs.
Many homeowners are unaware of the extent of smoke damage following a fire.
This can lead to oversights on critical areas in the smoke affected home needing repair. This includes exposing yourself or your loved ones to possible smoke inhalation.
Because smoke damage might contain such dangerous impactful substances that are hazardous to your health, it’s better to leave smoke repair to the pros.
Contractors who specialize in fire and smoke damage restoration are skilled at ensuring that no toxic chemicals are left behind and that no lingering smoke odors remain after the fire.
We have Smoke Damage Restoration Technicians that can help remove and Repair any Smoke & Fire Damage
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