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Top 3 Ways Smoke Can Damage Your Home

Top 3 Ways Smoke Can Damage Your Home

Top 3 Ways Smoke Can Damage Your Home"

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So What Can Smoke Damage Really Do to Your home?

Fires destroy residential/ commercial property and cause irreversible damage. It can leave lifelong injury to the people we care about, and move from item to item burning everything to a crisp. Smoke damage left unaddressed can devastate your home and its contents, and the actual fire does not necessarily have to occur in the same room. 

This is why cleaning up smoke and soot quickly after a fire is so important. Smoke can act like an acid, and will eat away at different materials if left too long.

Here are some types of smoke that you may encounter:

Dry Smoke

Dry smoke is created by fast-burning, high-temperature fires that are typically fueled by paper or wood. Its powdery texture means it doesn’t smear when being wiped up, which makes it relatively easy to clean compared to more dense smoke and soot residue.

The catch with dry smoke is that it can easily fall into cracks or porous materials in your home or business. This means that it’s possible for the surfaces of your space to appear clean even while a smoky odor persists — talk about frustrating! Thankfully, dry smoke doesn’t smell as strongly as the other types of residues, and it’s not difficult for a professional company to eliminate the odor.

Protein Residue

Protein residue is created when organic material evaporates during a low-heat fire. This is common when a cooking mishap causes a blaze in the kitchen. This type of smoke damage is essentially invisible with no noticeable soot or streaking, but it can permanently discolor painted, varnished, or other finished surfaces. An untrained eye often underestimates the restoration needs of this protein residue damage because it’s difficult to spot, but it’s not hard to smell: the intense unpleasant odor can permeate your entire home or business if left untreated.

Fuel/Oil Residue

Fuel/oil residue, also called petroleum residue, thankfully isn’t seen too often in home and business fires unless petroleum products were being stored in the space. However, it’s not uncommon for a building’s furnace to have a “puffback” where it doesn’t ignite properly and ultimately releases smoke and soot into the surrounding space in the form of a small leak or even minor explosion. This means you can be dealing with fuel residue smoke damage even when there hasn’t been a fire. Petroleum residue is sticky, dense, and especially difficult to clean. Its odor is strong and offensive, easily ruining upholstered pieces of furniture when not cleaned promptly.

Wet Smoke

Wet smoke damage comes from low-heat, smoldering fires. Both plastic and rubber produce this waste when they are burned. These especially smelly blazes usually have fewer flames but much more thick, black smoke than their dry counterparts. Because wet smoke residue is sticky and dense, it has no problem completely covering your home or business’s surfaces and often smears during the cleaning process. This makes it difficult to remove without special equipment.

These are a few areas of your home that can be affected by smoke and end up damaging what you hold close:

  1. Curtains & Upholstery

Vacuuming curtains and upholstery with an upright vacuum’s standard brushes or beaters can force soot deeper, worsening cleaning difficulties. The right filter, hose attachment and technique are crucial. Smoke can harm your curtains in your home leaving them unusable in the future.

  1. Clothes & Bedding

Unburned chemicals, invisible to naked eye, must be completely removed to rid odor. This takes special washing regimens and chemicals. Residue that is left alone will ruin your clothing and bed. 

  1. Furniture & Carpet

How do you clean smoke damaged wood furniture? You can inadvertently damage carpet when cleaning smoke damaged furniture. Wooden furniture can stain carpet with dyes.  Metal furniture can rust and stain the carpet. Protective barriers (foam blocks, etc.) are essential in keeping surfaces separate until dry.   

It’s important to be aware of any damages smoke may cause on your home. When it’s time to start the clean-up for smoke damage, if you plan to do it yourself, you should keep in mind the importance of protecting yourself. At all times wear gloves, eye protection, a face mask and a respirator to keep from inhaling smoke particles and to prevent the smoke residue from getting on your skin. There are multiple types of smoke and residue so keep in mind the ways listed to keep yourself safe.


 

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About The Author: Raymond A. Altieri, Jr.
Raymond A. Altieri, Jr. - Chairman & CEO

As a property insurance claims professional since 1980, Mr. Altieri leads the firm at Altieri Insurance Consultants in all matters of property claim adjusting and community outreach. His decades of property claim adjusting experience assure the firm’s clients they are well represented, whether they have suffered a multi-million-dollar commercial loss or have lost their home.

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