After a disastrous house fire and the smoke (literally and figuratively) has already been cleared, many people would think the worst is over. Sadly, it’s not, especially if your home hasn’t been through a thorough fire damage restoration done by a professional. That’s because smoke damage can still ravage your home and the people living in it.
Smoke damage refers to any structural or physical harm caused by smoke, not necessarily because of fire. Often described as a mixture of smoke and soot, smoke damage doesn’t ignite a fire that can destroy rooms, objects, or homes but can still cause severe damage. Items coated with smoke produce a persistent odor, eventually affecting the air quality of your home and leading to various health complications.
Types of Smoke Damage
Smoke damage is often a result of fire, but the severity of its effects can depend on the type of blaze involved. The origin of the fire will also influence how smoke and soot are produced. Based on this, the following types of fire smoke damage can take place:
1. Wet Smoke Damage
This refers to the damage caused by fumes from low-heat, smoldering flames. The smell of smoke they emit is similar to that of burnt plastic and is often thick and black. These fumes can cause severe damage to your property as they can lead to corrosion of metal objects. The type of rust they produce is tough to clean because it’s extremely greasy.
2. Protein Smoke Damage
This type of smoke damage is caused by fumes that are produced by burning organic matter. It is often the result of haphazard or careless cooking. It’s difficult to deal with damage from protein smoke because it’s almost invisible. Black stains or greasy smears will not readily appear on your walls, whether painted or unpainted. The only signs of damage are paint discoloration and a pungent smell.
3. Fuel Smoke Damage
As the name implies, fuel smoke damage is caused by smoke emitted by burning oil or petroleum products. Fuel smoke does not lead to a smoke-damaged home or office, as this is usually seen in warehouses, garages, and other places where petroleum can be stored.
Fuel smoke can be foul-smelling, though, and is difficult to remove. It is likely to cause irreparable damage to any fabric it comes into contact with. The sticky residue, once settled, can also stick to almost any surface.
4. Dry Smoke Damage
High-temperature fires can quickly spread dry smoke and are often associated with home fires, so it is generally easier to remove since the residue is powdery and not sticky. However, the powdery texture of dry smoke residue can also be a serious problem because the residue can squeeze itself even in the smallest spaces. The accompanying smell of smoke can eventually lead to structural damage and even affect your home’s wiring, resulting in long-term electrical problems.
Smoke Damage and Your Home
Smoke damage can vary depending on the type and fire temperature involved. Since smoke particles are usually fine, the real danger is when these creep into small cracks and crevices. The effects can go unnoticed for long periods, leaving a persistent smoke odor that can linger for months. Often, smoke damage can manifest itself in the following items:
A regular vacuum used at home is not recommended as a smoke damage restoration equipment for your upholstery. Using this could cause even more damage, as the vacuum would only push smoke particles and soot deeper into the material. Special tools and techniques are needed to remove smoke particles from upholstery items, and professional cleaners typically have them.
Even if your clothes are inside a closed drawer, it’s still possible for them to come into contact with smoke. Washing the clothes may require several commercial smoke odor removal and cleaning detergents, depending on the severity of the smell.
If you have wooden furniture, getting rid of the fire smoke stuck to them can be difficult. The varnish could be significantly damaged if you use the wrong cleaning agent. Some cleaning materials can also cause metal frames to rust. A restoration specialist with experience in smoke damage restoration work should be considered for cleaning your smoke-damaged furniture.
Hardwood floors are generally porous, allowing smoke particles to settle in them easily. If the smoke damage is severe, it might be necessary to refinish or replace the entire floor.
Smoke Damage and Your Health
The risks of smoke damage go well beyond your home and its structural integrity. In fact, you could be putting yourself and your family at risk if you leave smoke damage alone. The most serious smoke damage health risks include the following:
1. Lung Problems
This is especially true for people with asthma and other lung-related conditions. Breathing can become complicated, especially when smoke is inhaled. Nausea, coughing, and sleepiness can also be experienced in severe cases.
2. Skin Disorders
It is not uncommon to suffer from itching or rashes when you re-enter your smoke-damaged home immediately. While the condition can be temporary, it can worsen if left untreated.
3. Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide is among the dangerous components of smoke. Inhalation of the gas can cause headaches and dizziness but can also result in death if excessive carbon monoxide reaches the lungs. It happens because the gas prevents oxygen circulation in the body.
The damage that fire smoke can cause may not be felt right away, but this does not mean that nothing wrong is happening. The effects are usually long-term, even as immediate results can readily be seen in smoke-filled clothes and furniture.
In any case, smoke damage should not be taken lightly. After a home fire, precautions should be taken if you need to enter your property for a quick inspection. Ideally, however, you should allow professionals to do their work first and get their clearance before accessing your smoke-damaged home.
Get top-notch fire damage restoration services from Deep Water Emergency Services and Restoration.
If there’s fire, there’s bound to be fire damage. Often, the damage can be extensive, but you don’t have to deal with it alone. After a fire has been extinguished, your immediate goal is to rebuild all that has been destroyed. Let Deep Water Emergency Services and Restoration help you. Our team of experts that handle fire damage restoration in Denver, CO, can help you take the first and all-important step. Call us now, and we’ll be with you on your recovery journey.