Understanding Soot Damage

Soot Damage

We all know the dangers of fire and the need for smoke damage cleanup in Philadelphia, PA. But what most people may not realize is that there is a related danger in the form of soot. Soot damage to your home can be costly to repair and exposure could lead to several health issues over time.

Soot damage is common in house fires in particular. Soot can also become prevalent with excessive use of candles or improperly ventilated fireplaces. Frequent cleanings, using proper safety equipment, are recommended to prevent soot buildup. In the event of a fire, a professional restoration service will be needed.

What is Soot Made of?

Soot is made up of carbon particles. These particles are quite small and created through a process of incomplete combustion of certain fossil fuels like oil, coal, wood, etc. The particles within soot contain a lot of things. Among them are soils, metals, chemicals, dust, and even some forms of acid.

Because of its composition, soot can leave a nasty smell as well as unsightly, black marks wherever they should fall. Soot is created during a fire (the combustion process). We generally think of situations like a house fire, but soot can be created wherever combustion takes place.

When a fire occurs, it attaches to any surface that it touches. And because of its composition, soot can do damage to not only your home at large but the indoor air quality within. The soot should be removed immediately.

What is Soot and is it Dangerous?

As mentioned above, soot is composed largely of particles from fossil fuels. These particles come from the incomplete combustion process, meaning that the materials in question did not burn up and dissipate.

Soot has metals, dust, chemicals, soils, and different forms of acid within, making them dangerous to both people and property.

Exposure to those particles leads to more than 20,000 deaths in the United States alone every year. The main cause is diseases that are soot-related. Soot exposure also leads to more than 300,000 asthma attacks as well as more than 2 million lost workdays relating to respiratory issues.

Generally speaking, soot enters the body through ingestion or inhalation, though it can also get into your eyes and on your skin. The particles are toxic, which leads to a variety of respiratory issues like asthma and bronchitis, as well as things like coronary heart disease, and even some forms of cancer.

Those who have pre-existing conditions, as well as infants and the elderly, are most affected by soot. To avoid any potential health exposure, make sure that any areas impacted by soot are properly sanitized and cleaned.

Soot Damage Cleaning

If you experience damage from soot, either from a house fire or a buildup, the cleanup process is crucial. There is one important thing to note, however. The average home contains a wide array of chemicals and things like foams, wood products, carpets, plastics, and certain synthetic fabrics.

Soot coming from any of those materials can lead to a plethora of health issues. Fire restoration is a dangerous thing when left in the hands of unprepared amateurs. Even in the event of a small fire, the soot particles can potentially spread throughout the home thanks to the HVAC system.

When it comes to cleaning soot damage, a professional restoration service is always recommended. Should you decide to clean on your own, then it is imperative to wear proper safety equipment. Ensure that your eye, skin, and lungs are all protected to reduce the potential risk of soot exposure.

There are also specialized techniques that help in cleaning up soot. Thermal fogging and air scrubbing will also be needed to restore the indoor air quality to a reasonable level in the event of a fire.

Filing a Soot Damage Insurance Claim

Damage in the wake of a fire can create some difficulties when it comes to filing an insurance claim. That is because there are two kinds of damage done to the home/a property: fire damage and smoke (soot) damage.

Most homeowners are so concerned with the fire damage that they don’t consider the damage that soot and smoke can do to a home. This is why having effective coverage for smoke damage is essential as well.

Each insurance policy is different, but the standard homeowners’ insurance policy will cover exterior and interior smoke damage. Just make sure to review your policy. If you have any questions, talking to your insurance agent can help to provide clarification.

Most homeowners insurance also includes something called Additional Living Expense (ALE). This will pay for regular expenses as well as any further expenses incurred if you can’t stay in your home because of the damage caused.

Contact An Expert

Soot can be extremely harmful if not properly cleaned up. That is why it is important to seek the help of professionals like Restoration 360. No matter the damage, we pride ourselves on home restoration services in Philadelphia. Contact us today.

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