Removing smoke odor after a fire in a home is a difficult task. To achieve complete smoke smell removal, the remediation process must include specialized equipment and techniques that only a professional disaster restoration company can provide. Thus, we don’t advise homeowners to tackle this task themselves. Check out the steps involved in smoke damage restoration below.
The types of smoke odor
Smoke results from incomplete combustion and consists of persistent particles (soot), oils, and gases. The pungent smoke odor comes from volatile molecules that materials release when burning.
Smoke odor can result from burning protein (meat), natural materials (wood, cotton, etc.), synthetic materials (e.g., plastic, nylon) and more. With so many substances that can burn, the restoration process requires technical knowledge and complex procedures.
How to remove smoke smell from properties
Removing the source of the problem
The first and most important step in smoke odor removal is to remove the source of the odor(s). This involves removing burnt items, such as cabinets, furniture, drywall, and non-salvageable contents. The items can be either discarded or restored, depending on their condition.
Cleaning the salvageable contents
Technicians clean the salvageable items with appropriate products. They pressure wash, scrub, and disinfect exterior surfaces like walls, windows, and decks. Interior walls and hard surfaces can be cleaned with mild soap and then rinsed thoroughly. Professionals will also clean inside cabinets, drawers, and closets, and wash household items, too. Carpets, furniture, and upholstery are usually cleaned off-site. Check out how to clean fabrics after a home fire.
Smoke, soot, and odors from a fire will penetrate the duct system and any dust or other particles inside of that system. Thus, cleaning the ducts early in the smoke smell removal process is essential to preventing the HVAC system from re-contaminating areas that have been cleaned. Of course, only professionals should clean the ductwork as it involves specialized equipment and procedures.
Removing the smoke smell
The final stage is removing the lingering airborne odor. To accomplish this task, a variety of techniques that can be utilized, but they all share a common goal — complete smoke odor removal. Here are some examples of proven systems:
- AIR SCRUBBING. A technician will use a high-efficiency particulate arrestor (HEPA) air scrubber which can remove 99.97% of particulates from the air. Removing these airborne particulates removes additional source materials for odors.
- THERMAL FOGGING. Fogging uses a petroleum-based deodorizer emitted via a thermal fogging unit. It fills the affected area with a mist-like deodorizer. Fogging counteracts odorous molecules by using fragrance modification for permanent odor neutralization. Prior to fogging, technicians put out all flames. Everyone in the treatment area must wear respiratory protection equipment or leave the area.
- VAPOR MODIFICATION. This method uses an aromatic compound vaporized from a sealed plastic container then dispensed into the air by a fan or blower. The mineral oils used in this process are non-toxic, non-oily, non-flammable, and non-explosive. Therefore, customers can choose to remain in or near an area during the smoke smell removal process. The deodorizer also penetrates affected porous contents like upholstery and drapery.
- OZONE GENERATION. This is one of the most popular and familiar processes for removing airborne smoke odor molecules, including hard-to-neutralize protein smoke. Ozone is a powerful oxidizer that neutralizes odorous molecules by releasing additional oxygen into the air. Ozone, while an effective odor remover, is not an “air purifier.” Customers should not be present when an ozone generator is in operation. Personnel should enter the treatment area only briefly to turn the ozone generator on or off. Ozone works best in a controlled environment, such as an ozone chamber. In there, odorous contents can be subjected to 24 to 48 hours of ozone gas.
For smoke smell removal in your property, call PuroClean!
The process of smoke smell removal is a complex one that must be done efficiently to be successful. Call your local PuroClean office for professional smoke damage restoration. We have the necessary training, equipment, and experience to rescue and restore your home after smoke damage.