How Smoke Damages Your Home’s Contents

A housefire is a shocking and potentially devastating event for any family. Even when the fire has been successfully contained and extinguished, the effects of smoke damage on your home contents can be very real. When the fire is out and all are safe, here's what you need to know about smoke damage.

Smoke can have disastrous consequences for your health and your home. Michigan State University found that smoke inhalation is the number one cause of death from fire-related hazards. Smoke and soot can spread long after the fire is out and can be surprisingly hard to shift. Inhaling smoke and soot, even at this level, can be hazardous to you and your family’s health. Removing every last trace should be a top priority after the blaze.

Smoke vs soot

Both smoke and soot can cause havoc in your home, but they are very separate substances. Soot is a powder-like substance made up of carbon molecules. It is very light and, as such, can easily be moved around your home. It covers surfaces or floats in the air.

Inhalation of soot can be extremely damaging to your health and carries many long-term, serious health risks from prolonged exposure. Short-term exposure can trigger asthma attacks, cause breathing difficulties, or irritate your eyes or skin.

Smoke is gaseous; its contents depend on what caused the fire. It usually contains carbon and sulphur acids, which can seep into your home and its belongings.

Potential targets for smoke damage

As previously mentioned, smoke permeates objects very easily. It can embed deeply in your belongings or the home itself. Here are some of the top items that could be smoke damaged:

  • Soft furnishings, clothing and other fabrics – anything made of fibre is an easy target for smoke. Everything from curtains to clothing inside wardrobes can be affected. A regular low-temperature wash should do the trick, but it may take several attempts.
  • Countertops, floors and exposed wood – marble countertops, wooden floors and even the structural beams in your home can absorb smoke. Some surfaces experience discolouration; others take on a deeply embedded smell.
  • Metal items – you may think metal would be immune to the effects of smoke, but smoke can cause a surprising amount of damage to everything from door handles to water pipes. Smoke is corrosive to most metals used in households. Minimal exposure could tarnish things, but if the issue isn’t resolved or the smoke is dramatic, it could deteriorate your pipes! If you have a house fire, make sure to get a professional to check your pipes or an untimely flood could be around the corner.

Timing is everything

Smoke damage affects items differently depending on the composition of the smoke and the affected item. Some items discolour within minutes; others may fare much better. The same can be said for metals – some of your metal items might withstand smoke without significant issues, but others may jump straight to eroding within hours.

The best advice we can give is to get a professional restoration team on the job as soon as possible. This will help with your insurance claim (phone us first for best results!) and also maximize the chance of us restoring your treasured items.

If you have experienced a fire, please call our expert team today. We will remove smoke particles, repair and restore your home, and ensure it is as structurally sound as it was before.

ServiceMaster Restore Moncton – Restoring Peace of Mind® since 1972.