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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Why Professionals Should Clean Smoke Damage

1/15/2016 (Permalink)

While the principles behind fire restoration are fairly simple, it requires a lot of experience and manpower to perform adequately, and this means that it shouldn’t be attempted by a homeowner on his or her own.  Of course fire is always the immediate danger, but once it is gone, what it leaves behind will continue to affect the house. Ash and smoke, if left unhindered, will cause extensive corrosion, etching and discoloration, not to mention lingering powerful odors. Professionals that clean fire and smoke damage can stop this before it becomes a major problem, assuming they are contacted soon enough.

Who is qualified to do this type of work?

There are many companies that advertise their ability to restore areas affected by fire, but only those with proper training and certification should be considered. The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is the main oversight agency in this industry. The IICRC requires its registrants to take extensive coursework before earning their certification. The IICRC is the most respected certification organization in the remediation industry, and its certified technicians are held to a strict code of ethics designed to protect the consumer. 

IICRC technicians stake their reputation on every job, so they excel at both the technical and service demands of the job. These professionals can clean smoke damage and restore items affected by a fire, but they must be brought to the site as soon as possible to halt the ongoing issues that ash residue can cause. The first thing that ash does to the home is discolor most surfaces.

  • Anything that is made of plastic, or was close to the fire will start discoloring within minutes.
  • Within several hours, fiberglass and finishes on appliances will begin to yellow.

  • After a few days pass, the ash will cause walls to discolor permanently, along with clothing and upholstery. 

  • Wood and vinyl will need to be refinished or replaced, and metal will start corroding.

    If a professional isn’t hired to clean smoke and fire damage, the costs for restoration will skyrocket after a few weeks.

  • Carpet will permanently discolor
  • Glass may be severely etched, which will necessitate replacement
  • Odors caused by the disaster may still be present and intense enough to be distracting
  • Ash is acidic.  The longer it takes to hire experts, the more destruction it will cause.

 Call in the Professionals

The first thing a trained, certified, professional company will do when on site is to identify all affected materials and the source of any odors.   The experts will identify what can and cannot be salvaged, and will remove any built-up ash residue that is coating surfaces.

  • A thorough cleanup is the only way to completely rid the building of ash and debris, so the work is labor intensive. 
  • Technicians will first inspect the property to gauge where cleanup is needed the most and start there, working over every surface that may have been affected by the disaster. 

  •  Professionals use special agents that are designed to neutralize ash and smoke, and apply them to walls, ceilings, counter tops, furniture, and anything else that may be under siege by damaging ash and soot.

     Smoke odors are another issue that needs to be dealt with as it can seep through walls and deposit on inaccessible areas. Tearing down walls and ripping up floors to remove odor is not a preferred option, so technicians need something that can emulate the movements of smoke and soot. That’s where thermal foggers come in. 

  • Thermal foggers produces a concentration of odor neutralizing particles that are similar in size to soot and smoke particles

  • A thermal fogger can disperse a blanket of these particles nearly everywhere in the home, including behind walls and inside the ceiling. The process ensures proper removal of lingering odors from fire damage.  
  • It takes a lot of technical skill to effectively clean up the damage left behind by a disaster, and the best way for a technician to acquire this skill is by attaining certification. There is little time to waste when looking for a professional to clean up the damage, and certification can provide an effective shorthand method in tracking one down.  Choose a company for fire and water restoration with the appropriate licenses and proof that they have the proper insurance. Their safety and health certifications should be up to date, as well as their specialized training. Look for technicians that have been trained formally in schools approved by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification.   

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