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Smoke Damage Glossary

Ash – A residue from a fire that contains high carbon particulate and does not maintain its original form.

Black Carbon (Soot) – A by-product of uncontrolled combustion, randomly formed particulate carbon.

Carbon Black (Furnace, Lamp, Acetylene Black) – Similar to black carbon except Carbon black is an industrially manufactured carbon material produced for a variety of uses such as paint pigment or printer cartridges.

Carbonized Material (Char) – A solid decomposition product of natural or synthetic origin.

Charcoal – Charcoal is used to describe char that comes from organic materials such as wood, peat, or coal.

Coal – Coals is a high carbon, combustible brown or black rock consisting of compressed, decayed organic material.

Coke – A non-graphitic solid obtained from bituminous coal. Coke is high in carbon content and often contains mineral matter.

Dry Smoke – Smoke from high-temperature, fast-burning fires is called "dry smoke."

Graphite – A mineral form of elemental carbon. Graphite is hard to ignite and is typically mined for use as a pigment and lubricant.

Pressure Power Washing – A high pressure washing technique that is often used for cleaning smoke, soot, char, and ash.

Pressurized Smoke – Fires with high temperatures and igniting gases can generate pressurized smoke which can penetrate through tiny openings.

Protein Smoke – Fires involving animals, animal fats, meats, and other sources of protein generate protein smoke which is pungent and capable of penetrating small areas.

Puff Back – Malfunctioning furnaces and gas appliances such as fireplaces can "puff back" soot and smoke.

Soot – An oily, powdery, or tar-like residue left behind after a fire due to incomplete combustion of fuels.

Wet Smoke – Slow-burning fires generate "wet" smoke which is extremely hard to clean and deodorize.