A small fire in the home may not seem like a big concern, especially after the initial, visible damage is cleaned up and repaired. Yet, smoke odors may persist for months, or even years, thanks to hidden damage that wasn't obvious at first. Even worse, smoke odors could indicate that there are still small soot particles in the air, which can cause respiratory problems in some people. The following can help you track down the source of those smoke odors so you can fix the damage.
1. Duct Systems
The most likely location for hidden soot in your home will be inside the vents and ducts for your HVAC system. Small airborne particles of soot can easily infiltrate the entire house through the ducts in your home, especially if the system was running during the fire. Fortunately, there is a remedy. A smoke damage restoration service is able to fully clean your ducts and ventilation system to remove all traces of soot. You will also need to have the filters changed in your HVAC system, as well as have the filter housing cleaned thoroughly. Depending on your AC and furnace type, the restoration service may also recommend having the actual unit cleaned out and serviced to ensure there is no soot inside the blower or fan assembly.
2. Inside the Walls
Smoke and soot residue doesn't always make its way into the walls, but it is a possibility -- especially if the fire breached a wall or ceiling. If the area affected is small, then your restoration service can simply remove the affected drywall, clean the studs and framing, and then install new drywall. Of course, this may not be a realistic repair if the smoke permeated a large area. In this case, sealing up the damage may be the better option. The service will fully clean the exterior of the walls to remove any soot or smoke residue, and then they will use a sealant on the walls so no smoke odors leach out from inside. The sealer can be painted over in the color of your choice, just like any other wall material.
3. Textiles and Carpets
Often, lingering smoke odors are the result of residue that has permeated deeply into textiles and carpet. Smoke can travel throughout your home, even if the fire was small. It's a wise idea to wash all curtains and rugs throughout the home to remove any soot. Even clothing that was stored in closets and drawers may require laundering to remove residue. Furniture upholstery and carpets are more difficult to clean, but a restoration service has the equipment necessary to shampoo these items and remove most smoke residue.
To learn more about smoke damage restoration, contact professionals in your area.