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Is It Safe To Live in A House With Smoke & Fire Damage?

After a fire, it can feel like your life has been turned upside down. Even if you were not present at the time of the accident, the situation is traumatic for a homeowner. In these stressful times, you should focus on the safety and wellbeing of your family. But how do you proceed if only part of your home was damaged? Can you continue to live in a house with smoke and fire damage?

We understand the desire to return to normalcy as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, even minor fires can make the building unsafe for occupants. Smoke is very invasive, and it may quickly settle in walls, vents, HVAC systems, and even electrical sockets. After the fire, you should always follow instructions from your local fire authorities and building inspectors. If a building inspector has placed a color-coded sign on the home, do not enter it until you get more information.

Today, we’ll review the various risks of living in a house with smoke and fire damage. We hope this information will help you make an informed decision about returning home.

Health Risks of Smoke Inhalation

After a fire, it can feel like your life has been turned upside down. Even if you were not present at the time of the accident, the situation is traumatic for a homeowner. In these stressful times, you should focus on the safety and wellbeing of your family. But how do you proceed if only part of your home was damaged? Can you continue to live in a house with smoke and fire damage?

We understand the desire to return to normalcy as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, even minor fires can make the building unsafe for occupants. Smoke is very invasive, and it may quickly settle in walls, vents, HVAC systems, and even electrical sockets. After the fire, you should always follow instructions from your local fire authorities and building inspectors. If a building inspector has placed a color-coded sign on the home, do not enter it until you get more information.

Today, we’ll review the various risks of living in a house with smoke and fire damage. We hope this information will help you make an informed decision about returning home.

Respiratory Concerns

When smoke damage is left untreated, it causes strain on your lungs and sinus system. Inhaling smoke can cause serious health complications, and it is particularly dangerous in the case of residential fires. This is due to the types of materials present in the average home. For example, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is a commonly used, lightweight plastic. It can be found in upholstery, pipe conduits, and window dressings. When it is burned or left smoldering, PVC emits highly toxic carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, hydrochloric acid, and other toxins. When these chemicals are inhaled, it makes it harder for oxygen to reach the brain, heart, and other organs.

Proper smoke removal requires specialized equipment and the aid of professional technicians. These specialists use high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) vacuums, which can also help remove soot. On the other hand, a typical household vacuum can send the soot back into the air.

Skin & Eye Irritants

Have you ever noticed how soot and the smell of smoke can stick to your furniture and other belongings? Essentially, the same thing can happen to your eyes and skin after smoke exposure. Smoke residue can cause painful skin irritation that doesn’t subside with lotion. Your eyes are especially sensitive to smoke, often becoming watery, red, and itchy. Worse still, this irritation often causes people to rub at their eyes, depositing more irritants in the process.

Structural Risks of a Fire Damaged House

When the exterior of your home is damaged, this indicates that you may have other problems lurking beneath the surface. House fires typically burn at ~600°C, which will cause many common building materials to move and expand. Even after the fire is extinguished, there could be a permanent loss of structural stability.

Heat is not the only element that can degrade the structural integrity of your home. In an effort to stop major fires, firefighters may spray your house with high-pressure water hoses. This water is critical to extinguishing the fire, but it causes secondary damage. Left untreated, water will pool in your home and soak into other materials, such as walls and flooring. After a fire, any moisture in your home should be professionally dried as soon as possible. This will help prevent mold growth, which can begin between 24-48 hours after water exposure.

Final Thoughts

We hope that this article has helped you determine whether it is safe for you to live in a house after smoke and fire damage! Property damage is a severe financial strain but returning home too soon after a fire carries significant health risks.

You should never have to choose between your health and your home. If you have recently suffered a loss, don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss your claim. Our main objective is to get you paid every dollar you are owed under your policy. We will do everything that we can to help you secure an advance against your final settlement amount.

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