Besides the physical damage that a house fire can cause, there is something else that homeowners need to be concerned about – smoke damage.
The truth is smoke damage can often be the most serious consequence of a house fire. That is because smoke damage can be very harmful to both human and pet health.
You see, smoke damage in a fire-damaged house doesn’t just include bad odors it also contains particles that are harmful to your health when breathed in.
That is why it is so important to remove smoke damage from a fire-damaged house.
That is also why it is recommended that if you have had an extensive house fire that you use a professional fire damage restoration company. Yes, these companies can be expensive but it is worth it for the safety and good health of your family.
The Affects of Smoke Damage in a Fire-Damaged House
Yes, smoke damage can cause visible discoloration in walls and furniture but there may also be smoke damage that is not visible. So if you have had a large house fire, there could be damage that you don’t immediately recognize such as in the air ducts or behind the walls.
A professional restoration company will be able to identify this damage and remove it to help ensure your family’s good health.
The reason it is important to get rid of ALL smoke damage is because of how dangerous it can be.
Smoke damage consists of tar and carbon and if these substances are inhaled over time they can damage our lungs.
Another issue with smoke damage is that it produces carbon dioxide which is a harmful gas that when inhaled actually expels oxygen from the blood. That means breathing in carbon dioxide can keep necessary oxygen from valuable organs like the brain and heart.
No matter what size fire you have, you should have an expert come in and check the carbon monoxide levels in your home!
Just to drive home the point of how dangerous smoke damage in a fire-damaged house can be, here are other health issues related to breathing in smoke pollution:
- Respiratory Issues – Remember, smoke pollution isn’t always visible. You won’t necessarily see gray clouds of smoke floating around your home. Dangerous smoke particles can be in the carpet, in the drapes, in the furniture and more. When you breathe in those particles they can damage your lungs and your sinuses and make breathing difficult.
- Skin Damage – Having dangerous smoke particles in your home won’t just potentially damage your lungs; it can also cause skin irritation that can’t be alleviated with skin lotion. You will want to thoroughly clean everything in your fire-damaged house!
- Eye Irritation – Another common effect of smoke damage in a fire-damaged house is red, watery, itchy eyes. This can cause a lot of discomfort and also cause your vision to become blurry.
Getting Rid of Smoke Damage on Your Own
Again, it is highly recommended that you hire highly trained and properly equipped professionals to remove smoke damage from a fire-damaged house.
But if you have suffered a minor house fire you may decide to try to remove the smoke damage yourself.
If you do decide to attempt that you will need all of the following:
- Hot water
- Regular Sponge
- Chemical sponge
- Clean rags
- Rubbing alcohol or paint thinner
- Degreaser or commercial spot remover
- Shop-vac with upholstery attachment (or a really good vacuum)
Now Here’s What to Do:
First, protect yourself. You should wear a respirator along with long pants and sleeves, gloves and eye protection. You should also lay down floor protection and remove furniture and other objects that are not damaged.
Next, you will want to ventilate the area extremely well – that means opening any nearby windows and also turning on as many fans as you can to promote airflow. Do NOT run your HVAC system as this could spread the smoke and soot that is in your home.
After ventilating the area, you should use your vacuum, ideally a shop-vac, to vacuum up as much of the loose smoke particles as you can. You should use the vacuum’s brush attachment and lightly brush it around the area. Be careful, pressing the attachment forcibly against the particles can cause stains.
Once You Have Thoroughly Vacuumed the Area …
It is time to use the chemical sponge to lift stains from the walls. Remember to always use the chemical sponge before using soot cleaner or water. If you use the latter first you could spread the smoke particles or soot and make it much harder to remove with the sponge. Again wipe gently, if you press too hard you will drive the soot deeper into the surface and make it harder to get rid of.
The next step after using the chemical sponge is to begin using your liquid cleaners, which can include vinegar, rubbing alcohol, paint thinner and commercial soot and smoke removers. Soak a clean rag in your cleaner of choice and begin wiping the damaged wall or furniture or flooring.
You should plan to wipe all surfaces – even those that do not appear to be damaged. After you have wiped the entire room and everything in it, go back over everything with a clean rag and fresh water.
Now it is time to dry the room and everything in it with a clean rag. You could also use fans during this step to help the drying process go faster.
When You Are Finished …
If you still smell smoke, look around the room and identify anything that could absorb odor and remove it.
Don’t use scents to cover up the smell but that don’t remove the problem!
You may also want to have carpets professionally steam cleaned to help remove the smoke odors. Another option would be to use an ozone generator in the room, which could also help remove the smoke odor.
Other Options to Cleaning Up Smoke Damage
Yes, cleaning up smoke damage from a minor fire involves a lot of tedious, time consuming, hard work and when you are finished there is no promise that the smoke odor and particles will be gone.
Cleaning smoke damage from a larger house fire is even more difficult and hiring professional fire restoration companies can be expensive.
All of this is why many homeowners decide to sell their fire-damaged house and start over in a new home. If you have a fire-damaged house and are interested in selling, fill out the short form below.
We Buy Fire Damaged Houses is a leading buyer of houses damaged by fire.
The company has built a strong reputation for offering owners of fire-damaged homes a great price and industry leading customer service.
Fill out the form below to learn more.