March 5

3 Types of Damages Caused by Residual Smoke and Soot

By Kevin Finn

March 5, 2021


No matter how small or big a house fire is, there are always precautions to take before returning home.  The main source of danger during fire outbreaks is smoke. Smoke particles easily spread to other parts of the house, and they linger on long after the fire is put out. Staying in the house thereby exposes you to soot and smoke, which are dangerous elements that result in health risks.

smoke and soot damage

What Is Soot?

The unclean combustion of a fire is what leads to the production of smoke and soot. Soot is a black powdery or flaky substance that forms through incomplete combustion. There are two types of soot: dry and oily. Fine soot particles can cling to surfaces such as walls and ceilings exposing you and your home to hazardous materials.

Dangers of Smoke and Soot

Soot and smoke damage is quite common after a fire.  Smoke pollution and damage are just as bad as fire damage, and it starts the moment the fire is extinguished.

Smoke damage left untreated can cause damage to surfaces and furnishings, and negatively impact the health of your family. The amount of damage that fire smoke and soot causes are dependent on the total amount of particles that need to be cleaned and removed.

The following are some factors that affect the extent of smoke damage you will experience after a fire.

  • Size of Fire.  Larger fires produce more smoke. The size of the fire will determine the intensity and extent of smoke damage.
  • Length of Exposure. The longer the property has been exposed to smoke, the deeper the absorption of the smoke and chemical particles in the home and furnishings.
  • Materials Consumed by Fire. When different materials undergo combustion, they all produce different chemicals and odors. Some smoke odors are caustic, toxic, or harder to remove than others.

Damages that result from residual smoke and soot include the following.

1. Long-Lasting Harm to Your Home

Even the smallest fire that has been put out quickly can cause smoke and soot damage to your possessions. It can even affect the very structure of your home. That is why cleaning up smoke and soot quickly after a fire is so important.

During a common house fire, both natural and synthetic materials burn. The resulting smoke and soot particles can contain acids, chemicals, debris, and other hazardous materials that can cause corrosion.

Smoke can damage metal, marble, and glass in your house. It can cause permanent discoloration in your floors, fabrics, counters, and other porous materials. It can also cause unpleasant odors that can be harmful to your health.

2. Health Hazards

The chemicals from smoke and soot can enter your body through your nose, eyes, and even your mouth when you speak. The smoke and soot will penetrate your blood resulting in an array of illnesses and diseases.

Tiny particles of soot can be inhaled deep into the lungs. These toxic particles can cause breathing issues, including aggravated asthma, bronchitis, and severe respiratory illnesses. People inhaling smoke may experience:

  • Coughing
  • Scratchy throat
  • Runny nose
  • Wheezing
  • Chest pain
  • Headaches
  • Asthma attack
  • Stinging eyes
  • Fast heartbeat

The acidic content of smoke residue can also cause severe irritation to your skin. Smoke and soot particles can embed themselves in clothing and bedding, continuing to cause harm well after the fire is extinguished.

3. Environmental Risks

Smoke and soot damage present hazards in homes, apartment complexes, commercial buildings, and industrial parks. But the damage extends even further into the atmosphere.

The chemical compounds of soot are released into the environment and affect multiple aspects of our ecosystem. Soot contamination in your home acts similarly, impacting indoor air quality, in addition to leaving foul odors and stains behind.

Trusted Fire Restoration Professionals

When your property has been affected by smoke or soot, you must have the air studied and checked for toxicity that can lead to health consequences. Soot samples should be collected from random areas of the property to help determine the potential hazards.

While you can attempt to remove soot from your walls and ceilings on your own, you should always follow strict safety precautions. To ensure your safety and avoid permanent damage to your home and belongings, we recommend leaving soot cleanup to the professionals.

If your house has experienced fire damage, call St. Louis Cleaning and Restoration. Our certified cleaning technicians will provide thorough smoke and soot removal services.

Fire restoration can help you recover and repair your property. Our experts will help you get your life back to normal and your home in a healthy living condition. Contact us immediately for any fire damage restoration needs.

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