7 Important Ways Smoke and Soot From a Fire Can Affect Your Home

7 Important Ways Smoke and Soot From a Fire Can Affect Your Home

Smoke and soot from a fire can affect your home – and it isn’t just by the smell. Here are 7 important ways your home can be impacted and how to make repairs.

In 2016 there were more than 350,000 home structure fires reported in the US. Even with modern safety equipment, the risk of fire in the home is still a significant one. It is something that can happen to any of us.

Thankfully, smoke alarms and other safety equipment have helped to reduce the risk of physical harm from house fires. But the damage to your home can be devastating. And it’s not only fire damage; smoke damage can have a serious effect on your home too.

Read on as we look at seven ways that the smoke and soot from a fire can impact your home.

1. Soot Inhalation

If you have had a fire in your home then there’s going to be a lot of soot. Soot is a black, powdery substance produced when a fire does not completely burn its fuel source. During a fire, the soot often becomes ionized, which attracts it to certain surfaces and cause it to adhere. It can also make its way into your HVAC system, pumping back into circulation when you turn the system on.

Soot particles in your home can be a major health risk. Inhaling soot can irritate your lungs and airways. It can also lead to more serious complications further down the line, so it is advisable to get your home treated by a professional as soon as possible.

2. Wet Smoke

If you have had a smoldering fire that has burned at a low heat, you may find that you have wet smoke residue. Unlike the dry, powdery soot that is more often found after a fast-burning fire, wet smoke residue is sticky and clammy. It makes it an absolute nightmare to clean because most attempts to remove it usually lead to the residue being smeared everywhere.

If you have wet smoke residue it is advisable to call a professional service. Trying to clean up wet smoke residue by yourself will only spread the residue even further, causing more damage to your property.

3. Smell

Smoke damage may not be easily visible on items such as fabrics and furniture but the smell is hard to miss. The tiny particles that cause the smoky smell are trapped in clothing, carpets, and drapes. If not properly treated, the smell can linger for long periods of time. Cleaning the soot particles from these surfaces will help, but if the odor has penetrated the fabric it is far more difficult to remove.

You will need a professional smoke damage restoration service to successfully deodorize the offending items to remove the smell.

4. Staining

After a fire, a lot of the smoke damage will be immediately visible, but some surfaces will not show their discoloration until some days later. You may find that over the course of a few days, more and more of your walls and floors begin to turn yellow. Porous stone such as marble or granite countertops and exposed wood can become permanently discolored by soot if not treated promptly.

Metal surfaces can also become tarnished by the effects of smoke and soot. The sooner that you can get your home treated for the effects of soot damage, the less likely that you will have permanent staining to your home.

5. Skin Irritation

Soot can cause severe irritation to your skin. In some cases, it can be severe enough to need medical treatment, so it is important to ensure that all soot residue is removed from your home.

If soot has penetrated your clothing, some soot particles may remain embedded in them even after washing. Wearing these clothes can then lead to further skin irritation, even when the smoke and soot has been removed from the rest of your property. If you are concerned about your skin irritation you should always seek medical advice.

6. Corrosion

Soot residue is usually highly acidic. The acidic soot can corrode metal within your home. Metal doorknobs, pipes, and kitchen fittings can all be affected by this corrosion, as well as anything with exposed metal components.

As a quick fix, try wiping cooking oil on any visible metal surfaces. This will help to protect them in the short term before you can get them treated properly.

The visible damage to surfaces is obvious, but soot particles are also likely to be drawn into your HVAC system. The acidic soot will then begin to corrode the metal components inside, which could lead to your system failing or even becoming a fire risk in itself. You should always have your HVAC system checked out by smoke damage specialists.

7. Eye Irritation

Soot particles are small enough that you cannot see them with the naked eye, but their presence can still be felt by your eyes. Soot particles in the air can irritate your eyes, causing them to become red and itchy. This risk of this is particularly high when you are trying to clean up soot damage, as some soot will inevitably be released into the air.

If you are trying to clean up soot yourself, we recommend wearing some kind of eye protection. If the symptoms of your eye irritation become too severe, you should seek medical help. 

Do You Need to Clean up Soot from a Fire?

If smoke and soot from a fire have damaged your home then we’re here to help.

Blackmon Mooring & BMS CAT offer residential fire and smoke damage restoration services to help you get your home back how you want it. We use our expert techniques to restore any damaged belongings, as well as your walls, carpets, and floors. We will also address your heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems to remove any and all smoke and soot.

We also offer commercial smoke damage restoration if you have had a fire at your place of business. If you would like to know more about the services that we offer, or have smoke damage that you would like us to treat, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.