If your home has had a recent fire, you may feel overwhelmed by the loss and damage of your belongings. Once the fire is out, your first move is to call your insurance company. Your adjuster will inspect the damage done to your home and begin processing your claim. Depending on the extent of damage, you may need to move into temporary housing--either a hotel or a rental. Then the work of removing and repairing the fire damage begins.
Determining what can be salvaged
Normally, your adjuster along with the help of a professional restoration specialist will determine which of your belongings can be saved. Time is critical as the longer ash remains on items, the greater damage will occur. Indeed, beyond the initial damage done by the fire, additional damage can occur from the ash, the smoke, and the water or chemicals used to extinguish the fire. Therefore, you should not attempt to clean your belongings yourself.
As the team of restoration specialists thoroughly cleans your belongings, they will advise you which items can be restored and which must be considered a loss.
Types of Smoke Damage
As items burn, the smoke they create varies based on what substances they are comprised of. The methods of cleaning these different smoke residues are specific to each type. Therefore, you may not be able to adequately clean them yourself.
Natural: Natural substances include wood and paper. When natural substances burn, they leave behind a black or grey residue. Using a vacuum and dry sponge, most natural smoke residue can be cleaned. However, the burned particles are nearly microscopic and enter every nook and cranny of your home. Therefore, a thorough cleaning (often with peroxide cleaners) is necessary to remove smoke odors which will remain behind with an unprofessional cleaning.
Protein: Protein substances include beef, pork, chicken, and other forms of meat. When protein substances burn, an oily black residue is the result. The smoke from burned protein has a rancid odor and leaves an invisible film behind which must be removed with enzyme cleaners. Special care and knowledge are required to remove this greasy residue as well as lingering odors caused by the smoke.
Synthetic: Synthetic substances include plastics and other manmade materials, including fabrics like nylon, polyester, polypropylene, and polyethylene. Your home is filled with synthetic substances--flooring, furniture, toys, etc. When synthetics burn, they melt and can become waxy or hard. The odors from synthetic smoke are similar to paraffin wax, sealing wax, or burning asphalt. Smoke from nylon may even have a fish-like odor. Professional restoration specialists have the tools and knowledge to remove lingering effects of synthetic smoke damage.
Oil Burner Malfunction residue: If your oil burner misfires, it may shoot the oily residue through the ducting of your heating system blasting it through the entire house. Cleaning the ducting, air ducts, and return grills with air compressors, large rotary brushes, and large vacuums may be necessary. In addition, cleaning agents may be used to remove the burn residue and remove odors.
Restoration is possible
Professional restoration specialists will thoroughly clean all of your belongings which can be saved and remove items too damaged to be restored. By doing so, they will neutralize smoke odors rather than just mask the odors with perfumes. The process can take from days to months, but the effects of your fire will soon be a distant, smoky memory. Talk to experts like CTR Cleanup & Total Restoration for more information.Share