Deep Cleaning Services Based In Northampton

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Smoke and fire damage



Effects of Fire and Smoke Damage

Behavior of Smoke
The complexity of property loss or destruction due to fire damage is due to the unique behavior of smoke. A trained fire damage professional should survey the loss site to determine the extent to which fire, smoke, heat, and moisture impacted building materials and contents. Experienced fire restoration professionals know that areas seemingly unaffected by fire damage are still a danger to homeowners. Smoke can penetrate within cavities of the structure, causing hidden damage and odor. The knowledge fire restoration professionals have of building systems helps them investigate how far fire and smoke damage may have spread


Some things you may not know about smoke

Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.

Smoke flows around plumbing systems, using holes around pipes to go from floor to floor.

The type of smoke may greatly affect the fire damage restoration process.

Types of Smoke Damage
Once at a fire scene, an HCS Professional will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. Cleaning procedures will be based on the information identified during fire damage pretesting.
Types of soot include:

Wet Smoke Residues - Result from smoldering fires with low heat. Residues are sticky, smeary and with pungent odors. Smoke webs can be difficult to clean.
Dry Smoke Residues - Result from fast burning fires at high temperatures. Residues are often dry, powdery, small, non-smeary smoke particles.
Protein Residues - Virtually invisible residues that discolor paints and varnishes. Extreme pungent odor.
Fuel Oil Soot - Furnace puff backs distribute fuel oil soot.

Other Types of Residues - Tear gas, fingerprint powder, and fire extinguisher residues also need cleanup.


Inspection and Pretesting

The HCS surveyor pre-tests while inspecting the property to determine the extent of fire damage and the scope of needed cleaning, restoration, and repairs. The full extent of the smoke and fire damage. How many materials are affected by smoke or fire? What is the proper method for cleaning? Will your personal belongings need to be relocated while your house is restored? These are just a few of the decisions that must be made. Unaffected areas - It can be vital to protect areas that were not affected by soot and odor before the damage spreads to these areas. It will save you money! What materials can be restored and what materials must be replaced. Are the smoke residues cleanable? Who is completing the inventory of items that are damaged beyond repair? Fire damage pretesting is vital. A complete inventory is invaluable! How long will the cleanup take? We'll let you know what to expect. The most effective cleaning methods. What work procedures will restore the damaged materials?

Emergency Response
After the fire is out, corrosive residues continue to deteriorate your remaining structure and contents.  Extinguishing the fire will frequently cause water damage that extends beyond the areas affected by the fire, soot, and smoke. HCS Deep Clean Services provides quick emergency response to remove excess water, secure the building and begin immediate drying to save the remaining structure and contents. From smoke infiltration to water logged carpets no detail is left untouched.

Soot and smoke traveling through the structure deposit corrosive particles which need to be dealt with quickly.  HCS Deep Cleaning Services uses a wide range of cleaning methods to effectively clean the surfaces in a fire damaged building.

Lingering odors after a fire are a primary complaint.  We use ULV fogging to effectively remove the last evidence of the fire.



What is Smoke?

Smoke is basically fuel that didn't burn, made visible by the presence of small particles of carbon and other material. Complete combustion gives off light, heat, the gas carbon dioxide, and water vapor. Smoke contains these gases and the tiny particles known as PM10. PM10 stands for "Particulate Matter less than 10 microns in diameter". They include small droplets of wood tars (if originating from a wood fire), gases, soot, and ash. In fact, most smoke particles are less than one micron in diameter.

Wood smoke has been found to contain carbon monoxide, methane, VOCs, formaldehyde, benzene, acetic acid, formic acid, toluene, oxides of nitrogen, sulphur dioxide, organic carbon, and even traces of heavy metals. This may help you understand why smoke is so dangerous to people.

Of course, in most situations smoke comes not just from burning wood, but a whole host of other materials — plastics, fabrics, foods, and other construction materials. These produce a range of toxic off-gases, as well as complex odors.

Synthetic odors are generated by burning plastics and synthetic textiles. This form of residue is typically black in colour and smudges easily. Burnt wood, cotton, or paper products produce natural odours and the residues are typically gray to black and usually powdery. Protein odours result from burning meat, flesh, or grease and the residue is greasy and yellowish to brown in colour.

Smoke may seem to dissipate quickly after a fire, but the rapid cooling of the particles of incomplete combustion leave a film and odour that penetrates throughout buildings. The acidic nature of the film causes discolouration, corrosion, and overall damage.

Smoke can be classified as either driven or free floating. Driven smoke is energised and pressurised — it has force behind it. Vertical surfaces are the most common places where driven smoke will be found. For example, walls catch driven smoke as it is being pushed through the building. In contrast, free floating smoke, which originated as driven smoke, has lost its energy and is typically found on horizontal surfaces where it has settled.

Fires may also be classified as having either low or high oxygen content and each produces different types of damage. For example, a low oxygen fire is a smoldering type and it will leave a wet, smoky residue. A high oxygen fire produces a dry residue that is often easier to remove.

You should also understand a little about the nature of fire. Fires produce intense dry heat. As the flames are extinguished, a hot, humid, smoldering fire is created. It is not uncommon to see relative humidities range from as low as 2% in a fire to upwards of 100% as water is applied. This high relative humidity can cause extensive problems, especially among wood objects. Their pores open and the wood absorbs various odours which are often very difficult to remove.

As mentioned earlier, smoke is corrosive and can easily damage a wide range of items. This damage is usually exacerbated if you touch the item with your bare hands — the combination of finger oils and the acidic by-products can etch into finishes and metals. As a result, it is critical that you always wear gloves during fire restoration efforts. Often the most suitable will be nitrile gloves.



Don't despair we can get it cleaned