Breathe Easy After a Fire

Fire damage includes more than burn marks and destroyed structures. Some of the most persistent effects of fire may be invisible to the naked eye, but that doesn’t mean they escape notice.

Smoke causes foul odors that hang around like unwanted house guests after a party. These smells will be there long after the fire department has come and gone, and the longer they remain in residence, the harder they are to evict. Even worse, some research indicates that prolonged exposure to the fine particles released by smoke may cause negative health effects. Here are some of the ways smart property owners deal with smoke damage so that they can enjoy their spaces as usual.

Eliminating Odor Emitters

You might notice that different parts of your home seem to have been hit harder than others. The intensity of leftover smoky smells depends on numerous factors, including the type of material affected, room size, fire size and what kinds of material actually burned up to release the smoke.

Items that are porous, like upholstery and clothing, tend to capture more of the particles we associate with odors. When furniture like couches becomes thoroughly inundated with dust and smoke byproducts, it can perpetuate odors much longer than some solid-surfaced materials might. Getting rid of these secondary stink sources is an important step in clearing the air after a fire, and some may need to be replaced or reupholstered.

Building materials like wood and tile are also porous. These items, however, can usually be cleaned with special polishes and agents specifically designed to eliminate smoke. In some cases, remediation involves the prolonged use of ozone machines, which emit ozone gas to permanently destroy odor molecules.

Cleaning HVAC Systems

What humans perceive as odors are actually tiny particles, like gases. Because this matter is so fine, it can easily get trapped up in HVAC ducts, fans and other habitability components. For instance, AC filters, which are even more porous than those pesky couch cushions, are prime candidates for lingering odor sources.

Effective post-blaze odor mitigation includes thorough duct cleaning, filter replacement and general HVAC maintenance. Trying to make the rest of your building odor-free without also cleaning the vent systems that connect your rooms to each other is a waste of time, as the stink will return as soon as you turn the fans back on.

Dealing with smoky odors is just as big of a job as quenching the flames that release them. To learn more about restoring your property following a fire, check out the rest of the Paul Davis blog, or contact us online today.