Recent Fire Damage Posts

Ozone VS Hydroxyl

3/5/2020 (Permalink)

Ozone machine on one-half of picture, Hydroxyl on other half Ozone or Hydroxyl, Which is Your Choice

A common theme between ozone and hydroxyl is "ozone is more effective and efficient, and hydroxyl is effective but takes longer."  The advantages of hydroxyls are: 1) No strong odor, 2) works in high humidity, and 3) the unit can be run while people are still in the building.  Because "time is money" and ozone equipment will do the job more quickly, we find the majority of odor issues are most often done with ozone machines.

The difference may lie in the fact that ozone does "reach out and touch" every part of the room.  The 20-minute lifespan of ozone allows it to stay in place and oxidize odors and contaminants for a longer period, whereas, hydroxyls do not last that long.  The goal of the hydroxyl unit is to use massive air flow to treat as much air as possible with the expectation that the constant introduction of hydroxyls will match ozone's reach.  The inconvenience of ozone is the need to vacate the treated areas and a lingering ozone smell that dissipates in about 24 hours, although you should always air-out the room after the treatment allowing the ability of people to return to the building.

Whether you choose ozone or hydroxyl you will notice a difference in your home, but to what degree and for how long depends on each person, as odor sensitivity is subjective to each person.

If you experience fire/smoke damage, call SERVPRO of Greeley/Windsor, 970-353-1388.

Highly Trained Restoration Specialists

Our SERVPRO Professionals are highly trained in property restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO's Corporate Training Facility to regular IICRC industry certifications, our Professionals are equipped with the knowledge to restore your property. The SERVPRO training program includes, but not limited to, the following:

  • IICRC Training
  • Employee Certification Training
  • Initial Franchise Training
  • e-Learnings
  • Continuing Education Classes

Extension Cord, Safety Tips

2/4/2020 (Permalink)

Extension cord plugged into the wall outlet with several individual items plugged into the extension cord Reaching to Safety: Use Extension Cords Properly

Extension cords are one of the most commonly misused items in a home and at the office.  To ensure safety use these following tips when using extension cords to avoid fire damage:

  • Determine the correct wattage required to power the device and be sure to select the correct size of the extension cord.  If connecting two or more devices, add together the wattage rating for all devices to prevent overload.
  • Select the appropriate extension cord for using devices indoors or outdoors.
  • Do not use extension cords that are cut or damaged. Touching the exposed strand of wire can give someone electric shock or burn.
  • Be sure to unplug extension cords when finished using due to the cord will still conduct electricity until it is unplugged.
  • Running a cord under carpet or across a doorway is unsafe.

SERVPRO of Greeley/Windsor specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff are highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

If you have experience fire damage call SERVPRO of Greeley/Windsor, 970-353-1388.


Preventative Furnace Cleaning

2/3/2020 (Permalink)

A technician inspecting a furnace Preventative furnace cleaning helps avoid a fire.

Preventative cleaning on your home furnace is important to ensure it functions correctly and doesn’t cause fire damage. While many people suggest hiring a maintenance professional to inspect annually, there are some things you can do yourself as well to ensure you system runs efficiently.

Replace Filters Regularly

Dirt can be a big problem for heating and cooling systems, by lowering efficiency and burning extra fuel. Keep the system clean by vacuuming around the unit regularly and changing the filter monthly or whatever time frame is recommended by the manufacturer. Leaving old filters to sit for too long will add stress to the compressor and can eventually result in mechanical failures. Not only that, the dirt and debris will get recirculated through your home which can cause allergies and disease. It’s also important to do additional fire cleaning on heaters, radiators, and warm-air registers, while also ensuring they’re not blocked.

Maintenance Before Cold Weather

Many homeowners call a professional to do a yearly inspection and cleaning on their furnace before the heating season to confirm the system is clean and performing in the most efficient way possible. Here are a few steps you can take yourself to keep your bills low while staying warm:

  • Calibrate the thermostat. The correct calibration can be lost from excess dirt or being moved around. A furnace maintenance professional can check this annually, or you can replace it with a computerized one.
  • Clean and adjust the burners to improve efficiency, and check for any rust accumulation. Reverse ceiling fans to a clockwise rotation to help push warm air down, especially if you have tall ceilings.
  • Seal any air leaks and all air ducts, especially in the attic or crawl spaces. Metal tape and insulation can temporarily save an aging duct system.

It’s good to get into the habit of allowing a professional to service your furnace once per year. Waiting until the end of the heating season (the off-season) may give you faster service at a slight discount.

If you have endured some home damage due to a furnace issue, smoke cleaning and remediation services are available that can usually clean up the mess to almost as good as new, call SERVPRO of Greeley/Windsor, 970-353-1388. We answer our phones 24/7/365.

Six Things to Do Immediately After A Fire

1/28/2020 (Permalink)

Two technicians boarding up a residential window after a fire loss. Boarding up damaged windows after a fire damage in Greeley, CO.

House fires don’t only happen to Greeley, CO homeowners. If you find yourself dealing with a residential fire, you probably want to start fire restoration as soon as possible.

Six Things You Should Do Immediately After a House Fire

  1. Find a Place to Stay Staying safe after a fire must be your primary concern. If your house has sustained fire damage, look for a long-term solution. Remember, you must find housing that accommodates you, your family and your pets.
  2. Board-Up Damaged Windows and Doors Your post-fire home may not be weather tight. It may also attract criminals. To protect your home until you can begin fire restoration, board up damaged windows and doors.
  3. Contact Your Insurance Company Your insurance adjuster will probably want to inspect fire damage as soon as possible. Once you and your family members are safe, contact a representative of your insurance company.
  4. Work with Law Enforcement Police investigators and/or firefighters will likely prepare an incident report. This report identifies the cause of your house fire. It is also essential for collecting insurance payments.
  5. Prepare a Damage List For both insurance and remediation purposes, you need a list of damaged property. Hopefully, before a fire, you created a list of your personal belongings that
  6. Contact a Restoration Service Even if your house fire is minor, you may have extensive smoke damage. By working with a reputable restoration service for smoke cleaning and fire/water mitigation, you are putting specialized skill and equipment to work for you.

House fires can be devastating. Fortunately, you don’t have to leave your home’s recovery to chance. By taking a few critical steps in the days following a fire, you increase your odds of having a successful fire restoration.

How To Use Fire Extinguishers

10/29/2019 (Permalink)

If you experience a fire a, remember the PASS acronym. If you are not in danger and feel that you can safely attempt to extinguish the fire, remember the acronym PASS to help you activate the extinguisher.

SERVPRO of Greeley/Windsor would like to provide you with some valuable knowledge in the event of a small fire.  If you are not in danger and feel that you can safely attempt to extinguish the fire, remember the acronym PASS to help you activate the extinguisher successfully.  

  • Pull the pin at the top of the extinguisher that prevents the handle from being pressed.
  • Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire.
  • Squeeze the handle to release the extinguishing agent.  
  • Sweep foam from side to side at the base of the fire.

Watch for re-ignition and repeat the steps if necessary.  

It is a good idea to have fire extinguishers conveniently located on each floor of your home or business, as well as areas a fire may break out. Kitchens, Laundry rooms and mechanical rooms are common locations. As always remember safety first and if a fire is too large it is always best to leave the area and call 911 immediately.

Locally Owned Company with National Resources

As a locally owned and operated business, SERVPRO of Greeley/Windsor is strategically located to respond quickly to your fire and water emergency event. When fire damage occurs in Greeley, Windsor, Eaton, Johnstown, Milliken, LaSalle or Evans, we have the resources and personnel to help. Call us today, 970-353-1388.

DO You Have Fire/Smoke Alarms In Your Home?

5/3/2019 (Permalink)

Smoke Alarms Saves Lives

The quantity of smoke/fire alarms required in a home depends on the size and layout of your home. You can ask your friends and neighbors for an opinion, but the answers will all be different; however, the National Fire Protective Association recommends fire alarm placement:

  • In every bedroom
  • Outside the sleeping areas on all bedroom levels
  • On all levels of the home including the basement
  • At the bottom of stairways, including the basement stairs

Ionization smoke alarms are best at detecting hot, fast-moving fires. Photoelectric smoke alarms are best at detecting slow-burning smoky fires. If both are available, get some of each and take advantage of both technologies. If a fire alarm with both sensors is available in your area install those throughout your home.

Should My Smoke Detectors Be Connected? Connecting smoke detectors is always a good idea. If there is a fire in your home, you want to know about it right away. Early notification of a fire minimizes fire and smoke damage. You don’t want to wait until a closer detector senses the problem and sounds an alarm.

How Long Does a Smoke Alarm Last? Every smoke alarm has the manufacture date stamped on the back. When ten years from that date has passed, you should replace that unit. If the manufacturer suggests a shorter replacement interval, follow those instructions.

When Should I Replace the Batteries? It’s always good to replace batteries on a regular schedule. A good timeframe is when the time changes in our area, like Daylight Savings Time. However, if you are the type of person that only responds to the low-battery beep, change all of your alarms in your home immediately.

A fire alarm is an essential safety device in your home. It has a long service life, requires little attention and saves lives. It can keep your family safe and minimizes fire damage in your home. Take comfort in the fact that, if you do have a fire, SERVPRO of Greeley/Windsor is the fire remediation experts in our area. We have been trained to bring your lives and your home back to normal quickly.

Practice Safety While Grilling

5/3/2019 (Permalink)

Don't let this happen to your house this grilling season

Three out of five households own a gas grill, which translates to a lot of tasty meals. But it also means there’s an increased risk of home fires.

Each year an average of 8,800 home fires are caused by grilling, and close to half of all injuries involving grills are due to thermal burns. While nearly half of the people who grill do it year-round, July is the peak month for grill fires followed by May, June and August.

  • Grill fires on residential properties result in an estimated 10 deaths, 100 injuries, and $37 million in property loss each year
  • Almost half (49%) of grill fires on residential properties occur from 5:00 to 8:00 PM
  • Over half (47%) of grill fires on residential properties occur in the four moths of May, June, July, and August.
  • Heat from powered equipment is the leading heat source category for grill fires on residential properties (47%). Spark, ember, or flame from operating equipment accounts for 28% of all grill fires on residential properties.
  • Leaks or breaks were the factor in 11% of grill structure fires and 23% of outside and unclassified grill fires
  • Gas grills contribute to a higher number of home fires overall than their charcoal counterparts

Electric Space Heater Safety Tips

11/20/2018 (Permalink)

It’s winter, we are all turning to heaters to stay warm. They are the ultimate winter must have to keep your house/office nice and toasty. If you are using a space heater do not plug it into an extension cord power strip! Why? Doing so can result in a terrible fire hazard!

According to fire experts, extension cords and power strips are not equippedto handle the extra current flow needed to power a space heater and can overheat, eventually catching on fire. Firefighters state heating elements in a space heater can get up to more than 500 Fahrenheit to 600 Fahrenheit.

If you wish to use a space heater you should only plug it in directly it to the wall and keep an eye on it when it’s in use, meaning, unplug it before you leave the house/office. From 2009 to 2013, heating equipment involved an estimated 56,000 reported U.S. home fires which accounted for 156 percent to the total.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, out of those fires, 470 people died, 1,490 were injured and over $1 million in property damage was reported.

Safety tips for running an electric space heater during cold winter months include:

  • Place the heater in a dry location, moisture can potentially damage its components.
  • Do not plug other devices into the same outlet as the heater since they tend to draw a lot of power.
  • Never run an electric cord underneath a rug or carpet, they could catch on fire and keep at least three feet away from anything that can burn.
  • Unplug the heater after turning it off.
  • When running your heater, don’t leave the room for a long period of time without turning it off.
  • Plug space heaters directly into a wall outlet and place them on a flat surface. Do not use an extension cord or power strip.

SERVPRO hopes that you never have to handle a electrical fire but if you do call SERVPRO of Greeley/Windsor, 970-353-1388, to get a speedy cleanup and get your house looking “Like it never even happened.”


11/19/2018 (Permalink)

As Thanksgiving approaches many of us are getting ready to cook up some of our favorite family recipes. Be sure to take some precautions to make sure that your kitchen doesn't end up in flames!

According to the National Fire Protection Agency Thanksgiving is the top day for home cooking fires (almost 3 times the daily average). 

SERVPRO Greeley/Windsor wants to share some tips to help prevent a fire from ruining your Thanksgiving dinner!

  • Be Present- Fires are often started when items cooking are left unattended. If you need to leave the kitchen for a period of time, turn off the oven or stove!
  • Dress Accordingly- Avoid wearing lose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking. Lose clothing can easily catch fire if it comes into contact with a gas flame or electric burner.
  • Keep Kids Out- Enforce a "kid free zone" of three feet around the perimeter of the stove.  If kids are present in the kitchen, use the stove's back burners whenever possible and turn pot handles inward to reduce the risk that pots with hot contents will be knocked over.
  • Clean, Clean, Clean- Be sure your stove top and oven are free of grease, which can easily catch fire. Additionally, keep all combustible cooking accessories, such as pot holders, oven mitts and wooden utensils, away from the stove top.A fire extinguisher should always be at hand to quickly extinguish any fires that may occur on the top of the stove. Of course, in the event of an emergency, never hesitate to call 911.
  • The best defense against a fire is to prevent them from ever happening! If a fire should ignite in kitchen turn off the oven, unplug the appliance and remove any dish towels that may be hanging on the front of the oven door.

Call SERVPRO of Greeley/Windsor for your emergency mitigation needs at 970-353-1388. We make it “Like it never even happened.”

Highly Trained Restoration Specialists

Our SERVPRO Professionals are highly trained in property restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO's Corporate Training Facility to regular IICRC industry certifications, our Professionals are equipped with the knowledge to restore your property. The SERVPRO training program includes, but not limited to, the following:

  • IICRC Training
  • Employee Certification Training
  • Initial Franchise Training
  • e-Learnings
  • Continuing Education Classes

Fire Evacuation Plan, Do You Have One?

3/29/2018 (Permalink)

Do you have your Fire Evacuation Plan?

Smoke detectors are VERY important in a home/business safety plan, but do not forget a fire evacuation plan.

When was the last time you and your family or co-workers practiced an evacuation drill?  Maybe, it has been awhile. It’s easy to forget about your overall evacuation plan, so it’s a good idea to schedule a drill quarterly to go over a complete Fire Evacuation Plan with your family/co-workers.

  • A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire. Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home.
  • Everyone in the household must understand the escape plan. When you walk through your plan, check to make sure the escape routes are clear and doors and windows can be opened easily.
  • Choose an outside meeting place (i.e. neighbor's house, a light post, mailbox, or stop sign) a safe distance in front of your home or business where everyone can meet after they've escaped. Make sure to mark the location of the meeting place on your escape plan.
  • Go outside to see if your street number is clearly visible from the road. If not, paint it on the curb or install house numbers to ensure that responding emergency personnel can find your home.
  • Have everyone memorize the emergency phone number of the fire department. That way any member of the household can call from a neighbor's home or a cellular phone once safely outside.
  • If there are infants, older adults, or family members with mobility limitations, make sure that someone is assigned to assist them in the fire drill and in the event of an emergency. Assign a backup person too, in case the designee is not home during the emergency.

If you experience fire damage, call the professionals at SERVPRO of Greeley/Windsor, 970-353-1388.

Have You Checked Your Smoke Alarms?

3/26/2018 (Permalink)

March marks the beginning of daylight saving time and serves as a good reminder for everyone to test their smoke alarms. Our local Fire Department is urging residents to test their smoke alarms before automatically changing the batteries. Smoke alarm technology has advanced and many now come with 10-year batteries and some are tamper-resistant. Ionization-only smoke alarms that are solely battery powered to come equipped with a hush feature and a 10-year battery are highly recommended. Because of this technology, the national slogan "Change your clock, Change your battery" may not apply to property owners who have these ionization-only smoke alarms. Other types of alarms are also being sold with either a 10-year battery or a standard-life battery.  So be sure to know what type of smoke alarm you have. Ensuring you have working smoke alarms in your home is the single most important step you can take to increase your family's safety from a home fire. As a reminder it is best to replace any smoke alarm that is 10 years old or older To test your alarm properly we recommend you:

  • Push the test button to be sure the battery is working.
  • When replacing batteries, follow the manufacturer's instructions for the correct battery type to use.
  • Always retest alarms after installing new batteries.
  • Replace any alarm that fails to operate after installing a new battery.
  • Inspect your alarms to determine if they are 10 years old or older, and replace any smoke alarm 10 years old or older. Look for a date on the back of the alarm. If there is no date, your alarm is more than 10 years old and should be replaced.
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions for regularly cleaning your alarms of dust and cobwebs.

Working smoke alarms provide a critical early warning to a fire, allowing you vital minutes to escape, which increase your chances of survival. Additional safety tips:

    • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, in each bedroom, and outside each sleeping area (hallway).
    • Never disconnect or remove batteries from smoke alarms for other uses.
    • Use the smoke alarm's hush feature to silence nuisance alarms.
    • Make a home fire escape plan and practice it with family members.
    • Practice you home fire escape plan at least two times a year at different times of the day/night.
    • Children, older adults, and people with disabilities may need assistance to wake up and get out. Ensure that someone will help them. 

Highly Trained Restoration Specialists

Our SERVPRO Professionals are highly trained in property restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO's Corporate Training Facility to regular IICRC industry certifications, our Professionals are equipped with the knowledge to restore your property. Our SERVPRO training program includes, but not limited to, the following:

  • IICRC Training
  • Employee Certification Training
  • e-Learnings
  • Continuing Education Classes
  • For your fire mitigation needs, call SERVPRO of Greeley/Windsor, 970-353-1388, we make it “Like it never even happened.”

Fire Damaged Caused By Space Heaters

3/12/2018 (Permalink)

Precautions are necessary when using space heaters in your home.

To stay warm indoors, many homes invest in space heaters. But did you know that space heaters, if not properly used, are the leading cause of residential and commercial fires?

Space heater caused  fires can occur without the proper safety precautions. The devastating results of fire damage can make a family homeless and close down a commercial establishment. However, when used correctly, space heaters can be safe to use. SERVPRO of Greeley/Windsor safety features and tips to stay safe in using electric space heaters are:

 Space heater should be placed on a flat, solid exterior

  • Always plug the space heater directly into a wall socket
  • Use a heater with an automatic shut-off feature.
  • Use a three-foot space zone around space heaters.
  • Supervise children and pets around space heaters that are on.
  • Never leave a space heater on when absent or asleep.

 Space heaters help to give warmth during cold, chilly days. Make sure you practice safety and keep an eye on your space heater, don't leave it attended. As comfortable as they are to use in the winter, they can easily destroy a home or an office building.

 SERVPRO of Greeley / Windsor is a trusted leader in the restoration industry, and our highly trained technicians provide 24-hour emergency service. We’re dedicated to responding faster to any size disaster with the training, equipment, and experience to respond to your restoration or cleaning needs.

Respecting Your Outlets Can Prevent Fire Damage to Your Home

12/7/2017 (Permalink)

Overloading outlets can result in a fire in your home.

Fires happen all the time. When you are the one the fire is happening to, you want to figure out its cause and how to get back to the way things were before. Understanding some of the most common causes of small house fires is an excellent start to keeping yourself safer throughout the year. Overloaded power outlets provide a perfect storm for sparks or electrical arcs to catch nearby materials on fire. Stressed outlets are a primary cause of many household fires.

When your home is damaged from a fire, you need to find out why it happened. Our SERVPRO team can help you to clean up the mess and restore the damage, but also has the experience to help you determine where the fire originated from based on the severity of the damages. As common as overloaded electrical boxes are, it remains one of the leading causes of accidental house fires. You need to know how to operate your power outlets within safe parameters. This information can potentially save your house from damages, but more importantly, save your life.

People ask too much of their power outlets all the time, but this gets even worse around the holidays. When you combine indoor and outdoor lights, the tree, and other decorations in with already stressed power sources, you are brewing a recipe for disaster. To make matters worse, the spark of a fire can occur from this overloaded outlet at any time.

The sooner you respond to restoring your home after fire damages the better. Our experienced SERVPRO professionals can clean up the damages and bring the structure and contents of the room back to preloss conditions. The longer that you wait, the more likely that soot and smoke damages seat themselves into your furniture, flooring, and walls. This spells a higher insurance claim to cover the repair costs, or worse yet, more out-of-pocket expenses if you are underinsured.

If you or someone you know experiences a fire, call as soon as you can. Our professionals at SERVPRO of Greeley/Windsor rapidly respond 24/7, and you can reach us at (970) 353-1388.

Behavior of Smoke

12/6/2017 (Permalink)

The damage to your property following a fire can often be complicated due to the unique behavior of SMOKE.

There are two different types of smoke:
As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire.

Wet Smoke (Plastic and Rubber)

  • Low heat
  • Smoldering
  • Pungent odor
  • Sticky
  • Smeary

NOTE:   Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.

Dry Smoke (Paper and Wood)

  • Fast-burning
  • High temperatures
  • Heat rises, therefore smoke rises.

Protein Fire Residue (Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire)

  • Virtually invisible
  • Discolors paints and varnishes
  • Extreme pungent odor.

Fuel Oil Soot (Furnace Puff Backs)

  • While “puff backs” can create havoc for homeowners, SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals can, in most cases, restore the contents and structure quickly.

Other Types (Tear gas, fingerprint powder, and fire extinguisher residue)

  • These special loss situations require special care.

Additional facts you may not know about smoke:

  • Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure; and
  • Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor

The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.

SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals are trained to handle even the toughest losses. If your home or business suffers fire or smoke damage, contact SERVPRO® of Greeley/Windsor to make it “Like it never even happened.”

Residential Fire Damage - Don't Wait

11/3/2017 (Permalink)

Apart from causing physical harm, fire accidents also lead to damage to your property. Smoke and soot are the major culprits when it comes to property damage. So, what happens when you experience fire damage in your home - do you buy a new home, or do you move out? Well, all these are costly alternatives, but unnecessary. All you need is to have fire damage restoration to make your home as good as new.

What Happens After a Fire Accident?

During fire, a lot of smoke and soot is produced. This is due to the items in your house that burn up. As smoke and soot linger in the air it is deposited on various surfaces in the home. Walls, carpets, appliances, and ceilings begin yellowing, which spoils them. The fire also leaves odor on these items. With prolonged exposure to these elements, it becomes harder to remove them.

Handling the aftermath of fire damage might seem a simple task to you, but it is involving and needs you to hire a professional for quick and efficient restoration.

What Does Fire Damage Restoration Involve?

The focus of the expert is to take your home back to its original state before the fire incident. The specialist undertakes the restoration in a series of steps guaranteed to leave your home free from any smoke damage or soot. Here are the steps:

Post-damage Inspection

The specialist inspects the structure to determine the extent of damage. Your premises are checked for smoke damage and any structural damage. The aim of inspection is to understand the extent of the damage and determine the proper cleaning method.

Protecting Unaffected Areas

Not all items in your home are affected by the fire. There are those that were not touched by the fire or were partially damaged and have to be secured. Before the procedure, the specialist separates the items that can be salvaged and covers them to prevent further losses. Protecting the items prevents any unnecessary expenses.

The Restoration Process

It is up to the specialist to determine the type of restoration to use in your home. The specialist then removes any damaged materials and debris that resulted from the fire. After removal, extensively damaged structural elements are replaced.

During the fire incident, firefighters use a lot of water to put out the fire. The specialist performs water extraction to remove any excess moisture that resulted from putting out the fire. After this, the specialist removes soot, deodorization, and ash. The process culminates in a new paint job.

Final Words

The longer you wait after fire damage, the more costly it becomes for you. You need to use professionals for the process so that you get the best results.

Call the fire mitigations specialists at SERVPRO of Greeley/Windsor, 970-353-1388.

Fire and Smoke Damage

5/20/2016 (Permalink)

Water damage

You will need to dry wet items as soon as possible. Your professional will bring large industrial fans and dehumidifiers to dry your carpets and window treatments. If not thoroughly dried, carpets and floors underneath may be quickly damaged beyond repair by mold and mildew. This is an important step. Otherwise they may have to be replaced. If walls and ceilings have water damage, they will need to be repaired or fully replaced. Soot will need to be removed to inspect damage as well.

Soot removal

Soot is oily and easily stains carpets, draperies and other items in your home. For this reason you must remove the soot before you attempt to clean or deodorize items. Your professional will remove window coverings and furniture and work on removing soot with a heavy-duty vacuum. In some cases, your textiles may just be ruined and need to be replaced, so ask if they are worth cleaning before you spend the money to do so. Based on the type of paint and finish you have on your walls and ceiling, your professional will have to use a mixture of chemicals to remove the soot damage.

Furniture and textile deodorizing

Smoke odor may remain in clothing, upholstered furniture, carpets, and draperies unless they are properly deodorized before cleaning. Consult professional fire restorers or dry cleaners about using a counteractant, a chemical or additive that breaks up smoke molecules to eliminate odors. The type used will vary with the type of material burned in the fire. Restorers also may provide them for laundering clothes for an additional fee. Fire restorers and dry cleaners sometimes use an ozone treatment to break up smoke molecules and eliminate odors. If the process is done in the home, items are put under a tent while an ozone generator is operating. Keep in mind that most household deodorizing sprays and disinfectants provide only temporary relief. In addition, deodorizing sprays may interact with smoke odor and create an additional odor.

Walls, surfaces and ducts

During a fire, smoke can permeate walls and drift through household ducts, where it becomes trapped. If not properly removed, smoke odor will rise up again from time to time, especially during warm or damp weather. Consult professional restorers about a process known as thermal fogging. This warm chemical fog penetrates your home and walls just as the fire did, neutralizing the smoke odor as it goes. Also consult restorers about removing smoke from your ducts. They may use a chemical sealer to secure smoke permanently to the sides of your ducts since these areas, with their joints and crevices, may be difficult to clean with conventional vacuum-and-brush methods. You might also consider replacing the insulation in your attic, since insulation retains smoke during a fire and can cause the smell to move through your home during warm weather.