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Surprising Ways That Smoke Damage Can Harm Your Home

A house fire is always devastating and it is one of those things no homeowner ever wants to have to experience. However, a professional fire clean up services can make the situation a lot better with an immediate visit and treatment of smoek damage throughout your entire home.

It is important to know how and where exactly your fire damage has impacted your house before the process of cleaning up begins. This will quicken the process of uncovering the most damaged spots, many of which won’t be visible to the eye.

Here’s a guide that will help you identify and assess fire damage before your fire clean up service arrives.

Discolorization

Let’s start with the most obvious. Shortly after the fire occurs, the immediate effects of the smoke damage will be visible on surfaces, walls and ceilings. Damage will appear as discoloration stains. Within the next few days, the walls and flooring may start to turn yellow, although this yellowing effect won’t show right away. Plastic appliances and surfaces and wood can also start to become warped and discolored. Several hours after the fire, hardware made of metal can start showing signs of corrosion and rust.

If you have countertops, tile or other porous stone surfaces like granite, marble or travertine, they will usually permanently become discolored due to the acidic residue found in soot. This residue can permanently tarnish metal.

Odor

The surfaces in your home, specifically items made of fabric, may not just show the visible signs of damage from fire but they may have a smokey odor. Smoke will produce small particles of carbon in the air that becomes soot. Removing soot is the first step towards getting rid of the smell of the fire.

Smoke is comprised of several components. These lead to the lingering smell during fire damage:

  • Vapors – fog-like, misty droplets that can be poisonous when inhaled or absorbed.
  • Particles- partially or completely burned substances that at times are toxic and can penetrate fabrics and surfaces.
  • Toxic Gases – although odorless, carbon monoxide (CO) is the most common toxic gas produced by a fire. Phosgene is created when household items like plastics, vinyl and other solvents and chemicals that contain chlorine materials are burned. The chemical Hydrogen cyanide is a by product that is the result of combustion and burning carpet, clothing, synthetic materials, insulation and plastics like PVC pipes.

The smell of smoke becomes trapped in carpets, clothing, drapes and upholstery. If these items are not cleaned and deodorized with the help of a cleaning service, they might retain that smell of smoke for a long time. The source of this odor can often be very difficult to pinpoint. It could be the result of soot on surfaces. This can saturate into the pores of wood or finishes of your furniture.

Interior Damage

While damage from smoke is visible on ceilings and walls, it is also able to permeate these surfaces and create damage to the structure and framing of a home. This includes the wall studs, insulation and the air ducts of the ventilation system. If the soot and smoke particles get stuck in the HVAC system, the odor of smoke can reappear from time to time and possibly cause respiratory issues.

Electrical Damage

If any parts of the home with wiring has damage from fire, it usually will mean that the electrical system has been compromised as well. Depending on the source of the fire, any number of the following electrical components may have damage including:

  • Cords
  • Outlets
  • Wiring
  • Switches
  • Fuses
  • Breaker boxes.

Any appliances that have been affected by fire damage could show signs of corrosion, short circuit at times, malfunction or fail completely.

Unexpected Issues from Smoke and Fire Damage

After a fire subsides, it is usually fairly evident what damage from smoke looks like in the home. The most visible signs are charred items, ash and soot on the floor, and discolored walls. But smellsand other side effects that are less noticable can be harmful to surfaces as well as your health.

It is also very important to note that some signs of damage from smoke will occur immediately, while others may take several hours or even days after the fire to become noticeable. Refer back to this guide over time. You might need another inspection!

Ben Suiskind

Chief Executive Officer at All Dry USA
With Ben’s knowledge, and visionary leadership, All Dry USA has expanded into a national, full-service property damage restoration company with multiple locations across the United States. Ben holds numerous specialty licenses and certifications in restoration and construction.
Ben Suiskind
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