There’s More to Smoke Damage Than What Meets the Eye

It probably goes without saying that smoke damage can be disastrous for your property, let alone your health. Regardless of the severity of the fire, smoke can still devastate your home, business, and/or personal belongings. Furthermore, as experts who work with these chemicals on a daily basis, we at The Fire Restoration Team felt it necessary to write an article explaining its impact, the types you can encounter from any fire disaster, & what you or a contractor can do to protect yourself while reversing the destruction like it never even happened.

Types of Smoke Damage

This can occur in various ways, depending on the fire and burned materials during the incident. However, it can primarily be categorized as wet or dry smoke damage. The first type is challenging to clean due to its sticky condition. On the other hand, dry smoke damage is powdery, making it easier to clean. 

That is nothing but a severe case for concern. Not only does it damage your health and property, but many factors can cause a plethora of issues if you or others are exposed to such substances without proper protective equipment.

Let’s look at a few types of smoke damage and how each can affect your property.

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Wet Smoke Damage

A slow-burning fire producing a viscous residue can damage wet smoke. It’s impossible to remove without specialized equipment & agents.

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Dry Smoke Damage

Resulting from a fast-burning fire that produces a fine, powdery substance, it is particularly damaging to electronics. It is not as severe as wet smoke damage, but it can still be a headache to clean.

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Protein Smoke Damage

This type of smoke comes from burning organic matter like burned food, which can be carcinogenic and cause other health problems, such as respiratory problems.

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Smoke Odor Damage

Odor can be invisible yet deadly. Pungent odors can last a long time after a fire. They are incredibly challenging to remove without often expensive equipment like HEPA-filtered vacuums.

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Effects of Smoke Damage

Health Risks of Smoke Exposure

There is no doubt that smoke damage can have long-term consequences. It can have a range of harmful effects on your health, both short and long-term. Much of it spews toxins and other airborne particles that linger in the air or on surfaces. Some of them are volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Most of it can enter your respiratory system.

Furthermore, you can develop coughs, wheezes, and shortness of breath. Whether you or anyone was exposed to smoke briefly or for prolonged periods, smoking can lead to chronic respiratory conditions such as asthma and bronchitis. Physical side effects such as eye irritation or skin rashes can also develop. The lesson here is to avoid any exposure to it.

However, if you must, minimize the exposure because subtle increases in exposure time can exponentially exacerbate your health problems in the long run. Seek medical attention in all cases.

Any amount of smoke can increase your risk of developing lung cancer and other severe health conditions.

Damage Risks to Your Property

Aside from health risks, smoke damage can also significantly damage your property. Smoke can leave behind a thick layer of soot on surfaces, leading to discoloration, staining, and even corrosion. It can permeate all kind of surfaces such as ceilings, floors, walls, and furniture. Smoke can also leave behind a foul odor and discoloration.

That is especially the case for porous materials such as carpets, clothing, & upholstery. And if its pungent odor wasn’t enough, smoke can, in the long term, cause structural decay on a building’s foundation that can tople down if unaware of its often hidden after effects.

Steps to Mitigate

If you have experienced smoke damage, take action immediately. Contact a professional restoration company to assess the damage and develop a restoration plan. Always ventilate your property by opening windows and doors.

Use air purifiers to remove smoke particles. When faced with this challenge, follow a systematic approach to assess the extent of the damage before purging it.

Remember that smoke can permeate hidden areas. Therefore, conduct a thorough inspection of the affected area. Check every surface for signs of discoloration, soot, stains, or other visible damage. Look in your cabinets, in your furniture, or within HVAC systems like your ductwork.

When it comes to evaluating the structural integrity of the building, reach out to a certified technician because it can be a hazardous task. All these steps are vital in understanding the scope to make the right decisions moving forward.

Prevention Tips to Avoid Smoke Damage in The First Place

Not only can smoke damage be costly to repair the property, but it is especially problematic to pinpoint how smoke originates in the first place if you don’t want the disaster to repeat itself. Here are a few ways you can go about preventing future occurrences.

Making sure your home or property has working smoke detectors is paramount. Smoke detectors (hard-wired or battery) are a must to alert you to potential fires and smoke damage. Install them in every room and test them frequently.

Another step is not to smoke inside. That includes vape cigarettes, cigars, or any drug requiring igniting a lighter. Not only is it harmful to your health, but smoke can develop on surfaces over time. Additionally, avoid using candles or other open flames inside your home.

Keeping your stove and oven clean can help if you regularly cook inside your home. Grease and other food particles can contribute to the problem. Clean your stove and oven to ensure they are free from grime.

Have a fire extinguisher readily available on your property, no matter what. It should be the first thing you check for when you move into a property.

Have your home or property inspected by a licensed contractor to identify risks relating to smoke damage.

In summary, take proactive measures to instill a safer and smoke-damage-free home or business. This includes many steps we did not cover.

The Importance of Odor Removal After Smoke Damage

When dealing with a fire’s aftermath, you might wonder why addressing odor removal is necessary. It is because smoke can linger long after the flames have been extinguished. Hence, that leaves a pungent odor that can be difficult to remove, as we discussed in the smoke odor damage bullet point.

It is notoriously difficult to remove. As mentioned, it can penetrate deep into fabrics such as clothing, carpets, and others susceptible to absorbing such smells. Without professional help, you may find that the odor lingers for weeks or even months after a fire.

Professional Help Is Key

While DIY solutions for odor removal exist, they may not be effective in all cases. Professional fire restoration services have the expertise and equipment to effectively remove smoke damage and odor so you can return to your normal life faster.

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