Soot & Smoke Testing
Soot and Smoke Testing in New Jersey
A growing concern in the insurance industry is soot and smoke damage claims due to property fires. Soot nd smoke can cause respiratory and other health problems. Additionally, smoke, soot, and char can cause physical damage ranging from settled ash to property damage.
Depending on the amount of soot and the type of soot, remediation can be as simple as basic cleaning to professional cleaning and or lead to the replacement of soft goods (fabrics and carpeting) and electronic appliances.
Fire victims would be wise to Not allow shady and dishonorable contractors cash in on your catastrophe. It is adviisable to obtain pre-and-post-remediation air quality testing to ensure the safety of you and your family before reentering the home on a permanent basis. This will also help ensure the effectiveness of your restoration project.
What is Soot?
Smoke is a complex mixture of toxic gases and particles, which are generated from the various materials that burn during a fire. A typical structure fire may generate literally tens of thousands of toxic chemicals and gasses as a variety of materials and products are burned. Soot is the carbonaceous deposits remaining after incomplete combustion. Soot is typically black or gray, whereas ash is typically white or light gray. Soot can contain traces of the fuel that caused it, allowing the identification of the source. Soot and the combustion byproducts associated with it can be harmful.
Why Test for Soot?
Following a structural fire, there are many contaminants that may be present on the remaining building materials and in the indoor air that can cause cancer or stubborn, lingering odors in your home. Dependent upon what types of materials have been burned, several different types of combustion by-products may be present in the soot in your livable space. Soot can also cause discoloration of various materials as well as paints, due to the acidic properties. Without properly locating and identify the location of soot, its heavy elements can settle in porous construction products resulting in smoke-like odors that can last years if not properly removed.
Soot surface sampling is currently regarded as the standard following fire restoration activities but unfortunately, are often overlooked by overly eager homeowners and restoration contractors who just want to get the project “over and done with”. Just as in mold remediation, soot testing is a tool used to assess the effectiveness of remediation performed by the contractor. Any reputable contractor would recommend that post remediation sampling occur to ensure the home is returned to pre-loss conditions.
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