Seeing your property get hit by a fire is devastating, but there’s always a measure of relief when firefighters manage to save most of it. At least you won’t have to do a complete rebuild.
Still, you have to deal with smoke damage, which always goes hand-in-hand with a fire. Parts of your property may not have been affected by the flames, but you can be sure that they sustained smoke damage, too. Aside from the offensive smell, smoke damage can also cause health problems such as bronchitis and aggravate conditions like asthma.
When you’re getting fire damage cleanup done, don’t forget to do something about smoke damage as well.
Here are some practical tips that will help you deal with smoke damage after a fire.
Gear Up Before Entering Your Property
If you’re going to enter your property for any reason, make sure you’re wearing protective gear. There will be lots of smoke and soot in the air, not to mention burnt wreckage that could injure you. A helmet, safety mask, eye goggles, safety boots, and protective goggles should do the trick.
Assess the Damage
Even if you do have home insurance, it would still be best to take an active role in assessing the damage caused by the fire. Determine the extent of the damage to the walls, ceiling, roof, and other parts and take pictures to show to your insurance company. Take stock of your possessions and see which ones can be saved and which ones need to be discarded.
Ventilate Your Property
You may have already contacted fire damage restoration professionals, but it may take some time before they can get to your home. The earlier you deal with smoke damage, the better it would be. So, start by ventilating your property.
Throw all the doors and windows open for starters. If you have access to industrial fans, then bring them all in, place them in strategic spots, and turn them on at full blast.
A portable ozone generator can also help remove that smoky smell, so if you have one, run it from time to time. They can be expensive, though, so you can opt for much cheaper alternatives like activated charcoal, which is quite good at absorbing odors. Leave bowls filled with activated charcoal all over your property. You can also do the same thing with baking soda, another natural odor-absorber.
Replace Air Filters
A fire can easily mess up the air filters in your home. Check the filters on your AC unit, furnace, vents, and fans. Chances are, they’re covered in soot, so replace them if you find them in such a condition.
Vacuum All The Soot
Soot will be all over your house after a fire. Your walls, floors, window and door frames, furniture, drapes, and carpets will be covered in soot. Soot will likely settle within the gaps, crevices, and corners of your home, too.
Rent an industrial vacuum cleaner, which is powerful enough to get rid of all traces of soot from your home. Since soot can stain a surface permanently, make sure you don’t push the nozzle down when vacuuming. Just aim the nozzle an inch or so above the loose soot, and the vacuum cleaner will do the job.
Do Some Deep Cleaning
After vacuuming, you will have to wipe down all the surfaces that gathered soot. Start wiping down the tables, furniture, walls, and all the other surfaces with a dry sponge. Follow it up with a wipe-down using a regular sponge soaked in a solution of mild soap or detergent mixed with warm water. Use clean, warm water to rinse those surfaces and dry them completely.
Keep in mind that the tips above are simply preliminary steps you can take to deal with smoke damage.
The professionals you hired will take more thorough and effective measures to get rid of all traces of smoke damage in your property completely. They will have the right equipment as well as the expertise and experience needed to get the job done.
By the time they restore your property to the way it was before the fire, your home will also be without that smoky smell, permanently.
About the Author: Rachel Anderson is the Content Marketing Strategist of Arizona Fire & Water Restoration, Inc., a Phoenix-based company that provides water, fire and smoke damage restoration as well as mold remediation and removal services. When not writing, she plays bowling and goes on trail hikes with her friends.
Photo by Amber Kipp on Unsplash
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