For homeowners, their biggest asset catching fire can be a devastating situation. In most cases, household appliances, structural integrity, and valuable possessions don’t stand a chance against the flames. It’s a stressful situation for homeowners who have to deal with the aftermath of fire incidents. Depending on where they live and the chosen contractor, they’ll require fire damage restoration in Utah.
House fires can destroy everything in their way and put a severe financial burden on homeowners. Even when the fire cools down, they have to deal with smoke damage. A fire can lead to permanent soot buildup, smoke odor, and air pollution inside the burnt property.
A fire can cause smoke levels to skyrocket, making the place inhospitable. As a result, nearby houses and residential structures could suffer. Smoke odor can remain for weeks or even months, while soot buildup and air quality deterioration can become severe health hazards for residents.
Getting rid of fire smoke isn’t easy unless you’re dealing with the right Utah smoke damage restoration company. Trusting the right professionals can help restore your property’s comfort and air quality after it experiences terrible smoke damage following a fire incident.
We believe cleaning products and scented candles can help. Nothing beats the quality of a professional makeover following smoke damage in Salt Lake City, UT. Let’s take a better look at how you can handle a house fire incident and its aftermath in Utah.
Types of Smoke Damage in Utah Home
After rescue personnel put out the fire, smoke damage might still have long-lasting effects on your home. Soot buildup and different types of smoke can become health hazards. According to a US Environmental Protection Agency study, prolonged exposure to after-fire smoke can cause aggravated health issues.
These include lung disease, respiratory illness, coughing, and running nose. Let’s discuss the most important types of fires that are an absolute nightmare for Utah fire restoration companies below:
Low-heat and smoldering fires are signs to identify wet smoke. It results from material burning at low heat, producing smeary and thick black soot. The smeary soot forms because some material remains unburned. Note that unburned material doesn’t necessarily indicate that it is safe. It can release thick, black soot, which is a health hazard.
It can create stubborn black stains that aren’t easy to remove. The trickiest part of dealing with wet smoke is identifying the source of smell and damage. Since it’s difficult to notice, it makes home smoke damage cleanup time-consuming.
Dry smoke occurs as a result of fast-burning material or structural material. It’s a product of burning cellulitis and natural materials, like cotton fabric, wood, and paper. So, if a house has many natural material decorations, it can lead to dry smoke in the event of a fire.
It leaves behind powdery residue, which is easy to clean compared to the smeary soot buildup from wet and oily smoke. However, that doesn’t make it any less dangerous. You still need the best fire damage restoration in Salt Lake City or any region in Utah.
The powdery after-fire residue can fall into cracks and other hard-to-reach surfaces, leading to prolonged damage. Furthermore, it can stain and discolor non-porous surfaces, like marble and glass.
Oil Smoke (Petroleum)
When a fire starts because of a fuel source such as petroleum, it leads to oily smoke or what experts call “petroleum residue”. The most common victims of oily smoke damage include printing companies, garages, auto repair shops, and similar services. Has your business been suffered from oil smoke? Opt for the best fire restoration in Draper, Utah. Oil smoke sometimes comes from daily operations, such as improperly igniting furnaces. Exposure to petroleum residue while working at a business is dangerous. Oily smoke produces a foul smell and sticky residue.
Protein Smoke Damage
When organic matter burns in furnaces improperly or becomes fuel for blazing fires, oily smoke turns into protein smoke. The protein-based material becomes fine mist that’s tricky to identify and even harder to clean.
Since the mist from protein-based materials burning comprises fine particles, it can penetrate most porous surfaces. It can cause long-lasting foul odors and discoloration. It’s a destructive smoke that mainly erupts from home fires and needs Utah fire restoration services.
Factors Affecting Smoke Odor Removal in Utah Home
Removing foul odors after a fire in residential or commercial spaces is arduous. It can become harder depending on several factors, such as type of soot, affected area, and burned materials.
You can search “fire restoration companies near me” on Google to learn about the best professionals ready to help you with smoke damage cleanup. For professionals, it’s a straightforward task. But the time needed for clean-up can vary depending on the abovementioned factors.
Type of Soot
Fire and smoke damage clean-up can be difficult based on the type of soot from the fire incident. You already know that wet smoke produces black, thick, and smeary soot. It’s one of the most difficult types of soot to remove. It can enter porous materials and surfaces if not removed quickly, leading to long-lasting odor. Professionals classify soot into two distinct categories: dry and oily. On the one hand, oily soot is hazardous to health and requires special techniques and modern equipment to remove.
On the other hand, dry soot is relatively easier to clean than oily soot. In fact, professionals only use a suitable sponge and detergent with low alkalinity.
Size of the Fire
Smoke odor removal is significantly influenced by fire size. As soon as you call experts for smoke restoration and cleaning, they will assess the size of the fire and its impact range. Small fires don’t cause much damage in terms of residue and smoke levels. Therefore, experts don’t have to invest much time and equipment in removing foul odors. Conversely, large fires can have devastating effects on the structural integrity of a property. It can lead to long-lasting and difficult-to-remove odors. In fact, a large fire requires more pros than a small fire.
Large fires mean that more material was burned, which leads to more smoke, and residue, including soot. Hence, it will require additional pros to remove the smoke odor successfully.
Size of the Affected Area
What type of properties faces fire incidents? Was it a small condominium or a large residential building with dozens of apartments? The magnitude of the fire damage and total impacted area plays a big part in odor removal. If the fire spreads to extensive parts of the home, professionals will have to put in more work to get the stench out.
Fire smoke damage cleanup can also become costly if the incident completely disintegrates the property. In a single-bedroom apartment, it’s easier to remove smoke odor. Conversely, removing odor from multiple rooms in a building takes time.
Delay After Fire
Always remember that the sooner you call for fire and smoke damage clean-up services, the easier it is to recover from smoke odor. In other terms, the foul stench sets deeper into porous and non-porous surfaces equally as time passes.
Experts recommend calling in professionals as soon as possible to restore your home or office building after a fire incident, regardless of fire size. Even the most minor fires can sometimes become the toughest to deal with if you leave them unattended.
Types of Material Burned
Lastly, the material burnt in the fire tells what type of odor and soot pros are dealing with. If the fire burned a lot of protein-rich material, you may face an oily protein smoke, which is not easy to clean. On the other hand, you’ll have to deal with dry smoke if organic material burns.
Dry smoke produces a fine mist that infiltrates porous surfaces and leaves behind a terrible stench. Different materials produce different kinds of smoke and odor. However, professionals are aware of the right cleaning equipment and agents for every type of smoke.
Tips To Remove Smoke Smell From the House After Fire in Utah Home
The complete cleanup process can take anywhere between a couple of days to several months. Even if you’re paying professionals to take care of after-fire clean-up and get rid of smoke odor, it will take time. It’s best if you remain prepared and look for a temporary residence or commercial space to avoid disrupting your family’s life or business operations.
Professionals resort to the most effective practices to remove smoke odor from homes in Salt Lake City or Draper in Utah. Initial steps of the smoke remediation process include assessing the total damage, deep cleaning, and airing out the house.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) confirms that during 2015-2019, nearly 346,000 house fire incidents occurred in the US. Despite heavy structural damage and injuries, the properties remained prone to smoke odor for extended periods until professionals helped. Here’s what a typical after-fire clean-up looks like:
Assess the Damage
To remove smoke damage, including foul odors, you should take an extensive look around the burnt structure and ask a few questions. These questions will help you assess the damage and effectively plan the odor removal process. In rare cases, minor fire incidents can lead to a small grease fire, which becomes a bigger problem when met with inadequate remediation and removal techniques. The smallest bit of grease can seep into porous material and create a terrible odor, creating an inhospitable environment.
The questions you could ask include:
• What was the size of the fire?
• Did the fire last longer?
• How many minutes or hours did it last?
• How many rooms or spaces were affected due to the prolonged fire?
• What type of materials most likely burned in the fire?
Tackling smoke odor removal issues is easier when you’ve got a good understanding of the existing condition of the fire-impacted structure.
Air Out the House
Airing out the house is an important part of cleaning up after a house fire. Depending on outside weather, letting in some fresh air can eliminate odor and reduce fine mist or powdery residue near windows/doors. However, this is not a safe option when the house is still on fire.
Make sure professionals clear you before entering your home and open up all doors and windows to remove the odor. You can turn on the central HVAC system to fully air out the house if it’s still functional and clean.
Deep Clean Home
Professionals turn to deep cleaning techniques using special equipment to remove smoke odor from the source. Although DIY cleaning methods can help remove smoke damage, they won’t be as effective. Here’s what you can do:
Carpeting and Upholstery
Carpets and upholstery are made of porous material and can easily hold on to after-fire residue. Make sure to deep clean the carpets to remove lodged soot. Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter because they’re more effective at removing powdery and sticky residue from the upholstery.
Send them to a dry cleaner to remove smoke damage from fabric materials, including blankets, cushions, and rugs. However, it’s best to get rid of daily use fabric items if they’ve sustained too much fire damage. For slightly burned fabrics, you can try regular detergent and distilled white vinegar solutions to get rid of stains.
Create a lukewarm water solution containing dish soap and distilled white vinegar to remove stubborn soot and black stains along the property’s solid surfaces. The solution works effectively for countertops, glass, window screens, and walls.
You can’t air out the house as effectively with an impaired HVAC system. Change all the filters if possible and rewire the system with new components (removing the burnt components). Note that you might have to inspect your HVAC system immediately after a fire incident to ensure timely repairs and replacement.
Repaint the Walls
Finally, repainting the walls can slightly seal the porous surfaces on walls and ceilings. Glycol and ammonia-based paints/cleaning products can help remove the walls’ greasy, sticky, and thick black stains. Moreover, some paints come with an odor-repelling/sealing property which is highly beneficial for houses and commercial buildings that face a fire incident.
Claim Your Smoke Damage Insurance in Utah
When your house or office building meets a fire accident resulting in extensive smoke damage, check if there’s insurance plan coverage for those damages. Several homeowner insurances pay for fire damage restoration and smoke cleanup in Utah.
However, it’s best to check your insurance policy and call the firm to discuss the coverage for fire incident damages. A Bankrate article suggests that many home fire incidents were covered by insurance in the US. It’s clear that a home insurance policy covers smoke damage from fire incidents.
Make sure your chosen smoke damage restoration company accepts insurance. Here are a few tips to claim insurance for smoke damage in Salt Lake City, UT:
Call Your Insurance Company or Agent Immediately
Normally, homeowners and office building owners can’t react rationally after hearing about a fire incident in their properties. It’s serious news for office employees, residents, and property owners, whether residential or commercial.
In short, there’s no good way to break the news to an individual or group. We advise that you react proactively and immediately seek your insurance company to file a claim. If you wait unnecessarily, it would delay the process and might reduce your chances of recovering from the damage expenses.
Delaying the process could also result in reduced coverage. On another note, your house will remain as is until the insurance company provides coverage, i.e., without repair.
Review Insurance Policy
In the past, home/building owners lost important insurance documents in the fire. In such cases, filing an insurance claim can be difficult. The best recommendation is to make a solid copy of your insurance policy, keep the original safe, and store it digitally.
Correspond with your insurance company and get a copy of your insurance file. View the declarations page and learn about the following by contacting your insurance agent:
- Filing Deadlines
Knowing your home insurance policy can serve you effectively in case of a fire incident. With that knowledge, you can find a suitable smoke restoration company that accepts insurance payments.
Take Photos or Video of the Damage
Don’t forget to document fire and smoke damages in your house before, during (if possible), and after the incident. It’s recommended that you don’t cause further damage to the structure when taking videos and photos. They can serve as evidence when filing a claim at your insurance company. Moreover, take videos and photos extensively. Leaving out this highly recommended activity can cost you thousands of dollars in repair and restoration.
Call Local Smoke Damage Restoration Service
Call a local commercial fire damage restoration company to help you. If possible, keep colleagues, friends, and/or family members away from the fire and smoke. Wait for local smoke damage restoration service providers to arrive at the scene. Professionals will guide you about the restoration process and, hopefully, provide a reasonable estimate for the whole smoke remediation process.
Gather All the Necessary Documents for Claim
Necessary documents include property ownership files, title documents, deeds, and existing occupants’ information. Here’s a breakdown of the list of things that classify as “necessary documents” after a fire and smoke incident:
- Damage type
- Fire size
- Valuation of damages (monetary)
- Total value lost (in terms of possession, structural material, and more)
- Property owners’ credentials
- Date of loss
- Repair/restoration/clean up services’ receipts