Although an initial fire is much more dangerous than the soot and ash it leaves behind, these residues can cause quite a bit of damage in their own right. Additionally, because soot and ash can spread beyond the boundaries of a fire, they may cause harm to property that was not directly damaged by the flames. Below are the top three ways that soot and ash may cause damage to you and your belongings.
Soot and ash residue comes in three categories: dry, wet, and oily. Some of these types of residue may be more dangerous than others, but all of them can cause significant damage to surfaces, including floors, walls, ceilings, and the outside of your belongings.
Dry residue usually causes the least damage, as it does not smear. However, it may still build up on countertops and sink into clothing and carpets. Wet residue is much stickier than dry residue and is known for smearing, making it both more likely to cause stains and considerably more difficult to clean up. Finally, oily residue smears incredibly easily and may be resistant to certain types of cleaning solutions.
Regardless of type, ash and soot can stain and discolor surfaces, especially if the residues are smeared or allowed to linger for a long time. Additionally, soot and ash typically bring a smoky odor with them, and this odor may be transmitted to your belongings if the residues are not properly cleared away. Therefore, if your home has been exposed to soot or ash, you should attempt to clean all affected surfaces as soon as it is safe to do so.
In addition to damaging your walls and belongings, soot and ash may also cause harm to your home’s HVAC system. When a fire takes place, your home’s HVAC system naturally tries to clear away the soot, ash, and smoke that enters the building, as it does with all pollutants. Unfortunately, the soot and ash may be too much for the system to handle, which means that residue deposits may build up within the HVAC.
Even if this does not take place, the residue may clog your HVAC’s filter, preventing the system from operating at full capacity. Furthermore, if soot and ash become stuck in your HVAC, the system may redistribute them throughout your home, which can cause a wide variety of problems.
If your property has recently been exposed to soot and ash, you will likely need to replace your HVAC’s filter, and you may need to contact a professional to have the entire system cleaned.
Damage to Personal Health
Perhaps most importantly, soot and ash can cause considerable damage to the wellbeing of you and your loved ones. Exposure to these residues has been known to cause multiple health problems, including bronchitis, lung disorders, worsened asthma or COPD, and even heart attacks. As such, it is vital to always wear appropriate protective gear when cleaning up soot or ash.
If your home has suffered from soot or ash damage and you don’t have the resources to safely clean it on your own, contact a professional to take care of the job properly for you.