Fire might be dangerous, but most people never consider how much more so smoke can be. It is single-handedly the leading cause of death during a fire. The thing is, though, that even after the fire has been put out, smoke lingers in the building, and the smell can be nothing short of unpleasant.
You see, after the fire, volatile organic compounds or VOCs, and minuscule particles of incomplete combustion or PICs, are left behind, causing the unpleasant smoke odor. This means that you not only need fire and water restoration, but you also need to think about smoke odor removal.
The Dangers of Smoke Damage and Smoke Smell After a Fire
The large PIC and VOC particles form soot, but the smaller ones can infiltrate all parts of the building. This means that the smoke odor-causing particles infiltrate underneath floors and behind wall cavities.
If you fail to get professional treatment, the changes in barometric pressure and humidity tend to liberate those particles. This causes the smell days, weeks, or months following the fire.
The dangerous particles left behind after a fire highly depends on what was burnt during the fire. For instance, wood from house framing causes a similar smell to a campfire. The gases included are carbon monoxide, benzene, formic acid, nitrogen oxides, heavy metals, sulfur dioxide, among others.
If there was burning meat or animal fat, the grease causes protein odors, and they are some of the hardest to remove. Even worse, burnt plastics and fabrics leave worse chemicals behind, all of which can be dangerous to your health.
Why Smoke Odor Is So Hard to Remove?
One of the major reasons why you need to hire a fire and water restoration company is because the smoke odor can be quite hard to remove. There are several things that must be put into consideration, such as the size of the fire. The larger the fire was, the more items were burnt, which means you have more soot and numerous PIC particles left behind.
You also have to consider the length of exposure. The longer the smoke, ash, and soot remain in the building, the more the smoke odor embeds itself in porous materials.
The third consideration is the size of the affected area. Smaller rooms will have more concentrated smoke compared to larger ones. The last consideration is the type of material that was burnt, which influences the type of products used in the smoke smell removal process.
How to Get Rid of Smoke Smell
A smoke odor removal process is a lengthy procedure that can be quite time-consuming. Hiring a professional fire restoration company is the best course of action. If, for instance, your residential properties suffered a fire, there are certain odor removal steps that you can take.
These include airing out you’re home, removing all drapes, curtains, upholstery, and furniture. However, this is barely enough to get rid of all the lingering smoke smell.
Hiring a fire and water restoration company is still the best option. Here is the best smoke smell removal procedure.
Removing the Source
The most important step of smoke smell removal is simply removing the source of the smell. This entails removing all the burnt or charred items like drywall, furniture, cabinets, and other non-salvageable items. All salvageable items should be clean thoroughly with appropriate cleaning materials.
Cleaning the Air Ducts
If you are yet to consider your air ducts, there is bound to be tons of ash and soot in there, and they need a thorough cleaning as well. Cleaning the HVAC system is usually one of the first smoke restoration processes. It prevents re-contamination of clean areas.
Removing the Airborne Odor
It’s a given that the smoke particles will remain airborne, making it imperative to remove the odor from the air. A professional fire and water restoration company will use specialized equipment and techniques to accomplish this task.
Common Smoke Smell Removal Methods
When you hire a professional fire and water restoration company, they will use a variety of methods to get their jobs done and make sure that the smoke smell is completely gone. They will use techniques such as thermal fogging, hydroxyl generation, vapor modification, ozone generation, and HEPA air scrubbing.
One of the most significant advantages of thermal fogging is the fact that it infiltrates all affected areas. It’s a petroleum-based deodorizer.
The fire and water restoration company will use the thermal fogging unit to fill the affected area and push away all the soot from the wall and floor cavities. Thermal fogging is a technique used to counteract odor through permanent odor neutralization.
Hydroxyl is usually referred to as a detergent because it destroys various pollutants and can eliminate greenhouse gases like ozone and methane. One of the major reasons why professional fire and water restoration companies use hydroxyl for smoke odor removal is the fact that it is safe for occupied buildings.
Some of the first equipment fire and water restoration companies install during fire and smoke restoration are hydroxyl generator.
Vapor fortification is a process that uses aromatic compounds that are dispersed into the air with a blower on a fan. The process uses mineral oils to deodorize affected content such as drapes and upholstery.
Vapor modification is also a fragrance modification process that is considered a permanent neutralization method for smoke odor.
Ozone generation is a process professionals use to get rid of airborne smoke molecules using an ozone generator. Ozone oxidizes different types of odors by releasing oxygen into the air. However, it is not an air purification method and can only be used when humans, pets, and plants are not in the area.
HEPA Air Scrubbing
HEPA stands for High-Efficiency Particle Arrestor, and professional fire and water restoration companies use the equipment throughout the whole restoration process. This equipment removes almost 100% of the particles from the air and helps get rid of the smoke odor.
Fire and Water Restoration: Finding the Best Company for Smoke Smell Removal
Smoke smell can be dangerous and downright unpleasant, so it’s imperative that you hire the best fire and water restoration company to get rid of it completely. If you’re currently experiencing smoke damage and smoke odor after a fire in your building, please contact CTR today! Our professionals will work closely with you to ensure that your property is restored properly.