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Smoke Damage Testing FAQs

After airing out my house, the smoke odor remains. Why?

While visible smoke may be long gone, particles of soot, ash, and other residues are left behind. These particles can be embedded in your walls, insulation, carpets, soft furnishings, air ducts, and other building materials.

Why is my insurance company requiring smoke testing?

Insurance policies require policyholders to prove their losses, and smoke damage is difficult to prove without testing from an accredited lab.

Should I clean up the visible remnants of smoke myself?

We do not recommend this. Smoke damage cleanup requires smoke testing and specific cleaning and abatement strategies based on the test results.

Should I find alternative living arrangements while my home undergoes smoke damage testing?

The actual assessment and testing procedures do not require that you vacate your home. However, there are other factors to consider as far as remaining in a smoke damaged home goes. For example, you may be concerned about the odor or breathing in particles of carbonized material. After testing, extensive repairs may be necessary which might prompt you to find temporary housing while your home is remediated.

Can I turn on my heating and air conditioning system?

If your home has smoke damage, we generally recommend not using your heating and air conditioning system until your home has been assessed for smoke damage and your air ducts inspected. After assessing your home and air ducts, we'll be in a better position to make a recommendation.

How is it possible for smoke residue to be inside my house's walls?

Smoke residue particles are extremely small - .004 microns. Not only can these particles infiltrate walls, they can embed themselves in wall insulation. Left untreated, these particles emit smoke odor.

My insurance adjuster said I should throw out my food after smoke infiltrated my home. Is this necessary?

It's smart. If your home was also exposed to the heat of the fire, bagged, boxed, and canned items likely expanded and contracted. With smoke particles being microscopic, they can get inside cabinets and food. Before you throw out the food, make sure that your insurance adjuster has a detailed inventory and has inspected the damaged items so that you can claim your inedible food as a loss.