Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Understanding Smoke Damage

What is smoke?

To understand smoke damage, you first need to understand what smoke is. In short, fire burns fuel to create heat and light. When the fire is able to burn only part of a fuel source, the tiny particles that comprise the remainder of that fuel source get carried into the air as smoke. For example, high quality candles are "smokeless" whereas low-quality candles are made with wax containing material that cannot be completely combusted by the flame, thus resulting in smoke.

The smoke is carried until one of two things happens: either it encounters a vertical surface (such as a wall) where heat and air currents push it onto the surface, or the smoke cools and falls onto a horizontal surface, such as the floor or furniture.

Of course, ventilation systems can also pull smoke into the air ducts that connect to every room of your house. The smoke from the air being pushed and pulled through the system forces the smoke onto the ducts' surfaces, thus trapping part of it in your ventilation system.

The damage from smoke

The damage most associated with smoke is odor. Even in relatively minor fires, it is common for smoke to get drawn into a home's ventilation system where some it will remain trapped and provide a constant source of odor throughout the house. For this reason, it is almost always essential to hire a restoration company to clean it.

However, smoke damage goes far beyond an unpleasant odor. In most fires, many materials besides wood are burned, including plastics, fabrics, and potentially toxic household chemicals. Because of this, the ash from fires has varying levels of acidity. This can cause damage in the form of corrosion or discoloration. While certain materials are more susceptible to damage in a short period of time, even metals will suffer with prolonged exposure.

Cleaning the damage

A significant house fire will release hazardous chemicals and create an unsafe environment that only a trained professional equipped with proper safety gear should spend time in. Damage to all surfaces will need to be cleaned to restore the home to a safe state, including the walls, floors, attic and crawl spaces.

As for the items in in the house, many can be cleaned by hand using soap and water (or other material-appropriate cleaners). Precious items, such as art, may need to be taken to an appropriate restoration company to prevent additional damage caused by improperly cleaning them.

Written by the owner of  http://www.lonestarrestoration.com/  This article can be reproduced in whole or in part, providing this byline is included along with a followable link to  http://www.lonestarrestoration.com/.
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