Cleaning Up After Smoke Damage

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Fire is one of the greatest fears of homeowners. The damage left in the wake of a fire can leave an emotional scar long after the home is cleaned and the property restored. Once a fire emergency has passed, call on a reputable restoration company to assist you with the safety and aesthetic aspects involved in the clean up of a fire.

While it may be tempting to jump in and begin clean up procedures following a fire, there are a lot of things to remember. Most fires are not small and people realize they can't do it. People should give the authorities a chance to see if it's arson, and insurance company will want to know if the situation was an accident. It is important to allow the authorities to do a thorough inspection of the property. Not only will your homeowner's insurance company require a report, it will give you piece of mind to understand the cause of the fire. Once the premises have been inspected, you will want to contact a professional cleaning and restoration service. Even if it seems possible for you to handle the clean up, there may be hidden dangers only a professional can recognize.

Following a fire, do not wipe or attempt to remove residue from the walls or absorbent surfaces. Do not use any food that was exposed to the fire or smoke. Avoid walking on carpeting and do not use upholstered furniture that was impacted by heavy smoke. Finally, do not turn on any appliances, computers, or other electronic equipment until they have been cleaned and checked for safety.

Effects of Smoke

It is important to realize a fire can create smoke damage that may not be seen by the untrained eye. Smoke can get into the duct system, jeopardizing the air quality throughout the entire home. It may also have seeped into the plumbing system or into the other areas of the home, like the attic or crawl space. Smoke also comes in a variety of types, creating different types of damage and risk.

A trained professional can test the smoke type and determine how much risk is associated with it. Once he has identified the smoke type, he can create a treatment plan that will best combat the effects of the damage. He will understand what has the potential to be restored, what will need to be replaced, and what cleaning method will be most effective. Eliminating the odor of smoke damage is one of your main concerns, but keep in mind, it may not be the only issue.

Extent of Damage

While a homeowner may have the ability to surface clean a smoke and fire damaged home, there may be a number of issues associated with the damage they are not able to see. Aside from smoke damage, there may be structural issues. In order to feel confident your home is structurally sound following a fire, you need to have a thorough inspection performed by professionals. There is no reason to invite additional problems following a fire. Many companies will provide you with the services of professionals who can assess the safety of your home and recommend needed repairs during the restoration process.

What You Can Do

You, no doubt, will feel helpless following the tragedy of a fire. Following the inspection by authorities, a few things can be done to ease your anxiety while awaiting professional recommendations. Wipe the chrome on faucets and fixtures by washing them down with detergent, and protect them by applying a coat of petroleum jelly. Blow off or vacuum loose smoke particles from upholstery, carpeting, and draperies. Create as much ventilation as possible by opening windows. If electricity and heat have been shut off during the winter, pour antifreeze into toilet bowls, tanks, sinks, and tub drains in order to prevent freezing. You will ultimately want to contact a plumber to blow out the water lines until everything is repaired. Take some clothing to the dry cleaners so you will have an idea of what can be cleaned successfully and what will need to be replaced.

Following a fire, you will face a variety of issues. While the emotional trauma of a fire can not be alleviated, a professional emergency company will work to ease the burden of clean up and restoration. It may be impossible to save all of your belongings, but you will have peace of mind knowing professional services have been provided, allowing you to return to a safe, clean home.

Gary Trevano is a writer for Yodle, a business directory and online advertising company. Find Your Guide to Dealing With Home Emergencies or more Home Care articles at the Yodle Consumer Guide, The Yodler. Also check out Cleaning Up After Smoke Damage

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