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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Dealing With Soot And Smoke Residues After A Fire In Your Nashville Home

7/13/2017 (Permalink)

Smoke And Soot

The lion’s share of restoration and replacement costs after a fire are from smoke and soot. These residues settle on and sometimes leave a coating on every surface close enough to the source of the heat and flames.

To do our best in restoring the effects of fire damage in a Nashville home, SERVPRO instructs our technicians on how burning material forms smoke and soot residues. Understanding what happens with combustion (turning a solid into a gas with heat) determines the type of plan used in returning a home to its original state. Combustion requires three items: Fuel, oxygen, and heat. If these articles are all in the right amounts, the fire burns clean, and there are no residues. Since this happens only in theory, we must deal with smoke and soot residues on both the structure and personal property.

Smoke is composed of gases, aerosols, and solid particles. Gases are sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides produced by burning organic materials (wood flooring or paneling for example). They are invisible unless amounts of the other two components are present as well. Since the by-products of gases are carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide, it is hazardous for anyone to be around an active fire without a mask or breathing apparatus.

Aerosols are tiny liquid particles within the gases generated by a fire. Solid particles are minute amounts of carbon from the unburned material. Suspended aerosol and solid particles make the smoke visible. When it settles on a surface, smoke then becomes soot residue. Aerosols and solids also absorb odors, which is what makes soot smell.

Depending on the material that combusted, soot residues contain different types of acids. They form from the moisture in the air and the chloride and sulfide particles released from the burned material. The longer soot remains on a surface, the more likely it discolors or corrodes it.

Knowing what burned in your home, how long it burned, and how much oxygen was present helps us restore it to a clean and livable condition. The more we know before getting started increases our capability to get it right. If you need our help here at SERVPRO of Madison / Goodlettsville, call us today at (615) 868-5324.

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