Odors can prompt recall of memories in a very powerful way. This is great for most things. The scent of perfume or cologne of a loved one or the smell of grandma’s homemade cinnamon rolls can bring back pleasant memories. The odor of wood smoke can bring back fond memories of family camping trips or horrible memories of surviving a fire. Fire damage repair involves more than new floors, walls and furniture. It is also removing the permeating and lingering odor of smoke.
Do Not Attempt DIY Cleaning After a Fire
Small fires can cause plenty of hidden damage. Amateurs attempting to clean up after a fire often cause more damage that requires further fire damage repair and restoration procedures than if they had originally left the work to professionals. Experts in fire and smoke restoration have specific methods and protocols to restore surfaces and textiles. Untrained attempts at cleaning can drive soot and odors deeper into surfaces and textiles, making them more difficult to remove.
Destroying Lingering Smoke Odors
Every surface and material requires a different approach to smoke odor removal. Some hard surfaces can be cleaned with solvents that remove soot and deodorize. Clothing, drapes and other textiles may be cleaned and then treated with ozone to destroy smoke odors. Thermal fogging of the interior can reach all of the nooks and crannies that the smoke permeated during the fire. Forced-air ducts need special cleaning attention and may need to have some of the unreachable areas treated to permanently seal them, which prevents any lingering odors from smoke.
Drying Out After a Fire
Unless the fire was small and only needed a dry chemical fire extinguisher to put it out, there is a high likelihood the local fire department used water. You would not enter your home and spray water all over the place because you know it would soak into and ruin everything. However, when fire breaks out, water is one of the best tools the fire department has for protecting your property from total loss. You should call your insurance agent and fire restoration before the fire department packs up their big venting fans and leaves the scene. The quicker professional equipment, such as commercial fans, dehumidifiers and water extractors can be brought in, the less likely your home will experience further damage from mold and rot.
You probably could quickly clean up visible damage from a small fire. Maybe you could even redo any damaged wall, ceiling or floor surfaces yourself. However, what you do not see will linger long after the fire unless you have it corrected by professional fire and smoke damage experts. A tiny kitchen fire can have copious amounts of smoke spreading out and creating long lasting odors on every floor of your home. A warm summer day or turning the furnace on can release the odor-causing compounds weeks or months later. Your insurance provider may even insist on professional restoration to prevent a more expensive cleanup later on.