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How Does Smoke Damage Affect Your Home and Health?

When a fire affects your home, you will have lasting damage even if the flames are extinguished. A shocking amount of fire damage isn’t caused by things burning but rather from smoke residue. That smoke and soot damage can linger long after you put out the fire, and it can affect areas that the fire didn’t even touch.

Not only does smoke damage affect your home’s structure and your personal belongings, but also your health. When you have this issue, it’s important to address it quickly and appropriately. 

How Smoke Damage Affects Your Home

Smoke is harmful to your home due to the high temperatures from the flames and the acidic content of the material. Smoke contains different acids, which can vary depending on the makeup of the fire. No matter the origin of your fire, you can generally assume sulfur and carbon are present.

One significant effect of smoke on your home is its impact on metal. Depending on the type of smoke involved, you can experience anything from tarnished metal to complete corrosion of things like pipes, kitchen fittings, and fixtures.

Porous materials will also experience permanent discoloration due to smoke. These include items like tile, countertops, hardwood floors, and plastics. Other everyday items in your home that may be damaged by smoke include the following.

  • Carpets — Anything made of synthetics, like carpet and rugs, could be stained permanently in a matter of days. If addressed quickly, these items can often be saved. 
  • Upholstery and curtains — Similar to carpet, upholstery and curtains are vulnerable to smoke. Cleaning them improperly can sometimes spread the damage. 
  • Furniture — It’s easy to damage the stain, varnish, or paint on furniture when trying to clean smoke damage. The right cleaning agent is essential for remediation. 
  • Appliances — Smoke has corrosive effects that will damage the inside and outside of your home’s appliances and their electrical systems. 
  • Porcelain — If not cleaned immediately, porcelain, like bathroom sinks, can become instantly stained. Washing the items with soap can save them before the professionals can get to the scene. 
  • Clothing — Soot can get trapped in clothing, requiring cleaning with special processes and solutions to prevent permanent staining and damage. 

Smoke Damage and Your Health

Where smoke exists, there is generally soot as well. Soot is a greasy or powder-like substance made primarily from carbon that is a byproduct of fires. Unfortunately, this substance creates a lot of health hazards in your home, including the following.

  • Lung problems — Particles from a fire that remain on surfaces can get into and irritate the lungs, creating various issues. 
  • Skin issues — A smoke-damaged home can cause skin issues such as itchiness and rashes. 
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning — Gases from soot and smoke particles can cause dizziness, headaches, and poisoning.

Prolonged exposure to soot can even increase the risk of certain types of cancer. According to the EPA, some people are more at risk to smoke damage, such as older adults, children, people with existing heart or lung issues, and pregnant women. It should go without saying that you don’t want this substance in your home. 

Common Types of Smoke Damage

Everyone knows that fire causes smoke damage but did you know that the type of fire you have can impact the results you experience? The most common causes of fires in homes include cooking, smoking, electrical faults, and other accidents, but the smoke damage itself can be divided into several categories.

Wet Smoke

This type of smoke refers to fumes from smoldering flames and low heat. You’ll often experience this when there are burnt plastic products or rubber, which gives off a distinct smell. When this type of smoke damage is ignored for too long, it can create extensive damage to your property. It can even cause metal items to corrode and rust. 

Dry Smoke

High-temperature fires that spread quickly through a residence will likely produce dry smoke. This type of smoke often results from the burning of wood or paper, which is plentiful in homes. The smoke residue is generally powdery, meaning it can get everywhere, even into your home’s wiring. Luckily, the odor isn’t as strong as some other types of smoke damage

Fuel Smoke

When a fire involves burnt oil, petroleum, or something similar, you’re likely to get fuel smoke. This type of damage is more common in a home’s garage. It is distinctive because of its strong smell and its stickiness and thickness, which can attach itself to just about any surface.

Protein Smoke

When organic matter burns, such as items in your kitchen, this produces protein smoke. The type of smoke is primarily invisible, making it hard to address, but it can create a strong smell and lead to paint discoloration.

Response Time is Vital When Addressing Smoke Damage

It’s natural to hope that smoke damage will dissipate with time. Sadly, the opposite is more likely to be the case. Weeks after a fire with no cleanup, the cost of smoke damage cleanup and restoration is likely to soar. Paint peels and carpet becomes permanently discolored. Anything with metal will start corroding, and wood quickly deteriorates.

Cleaning up smoke damage quickly is critical. The right processes can not only remove the unpleasant odors associated with smoke damage but also the visible signs of the damage to protect your property and health. 

Contact NCRI for Fire and Smoke Damage Restoration Services

Since 1972, NCRI has been serving the needs of homeowners nationwide who have been impacted by fire and smoke damage. Our highly trained and certified staff of professionals and large fleet of vehicles and equipment can respond to any size disaster restoration project quickly and efficiently.

Smoke and soot are potentially damaging to your property, but so is the water used to fight fires. We offer a comprehensive remediation and restoration solution to our clients. We begin with a thorough assessment of your home’s damage, ensuring the property’s structural integrity hasn’t been compromised. Our technicians address all issues, including smoke, soot, and water damage, before fully restoring the property.

Contact us today to learn more about NCRI’s fire and smoke damage services to restore your property to a usable condition as quickly as possible.

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