A small fire in your home may not be super destructive, but you will likely need to do some minor construction and restoration following the blaze. One thing you don't want to overlook is the state of your air ducts. A fire in the kitchen, for example, can affect all of the ductwork in the home. Plan to have the ducts serviced once restoration and cleanup is complete.
1. Air Gaps
Air gaps can form in the duct system after a small fire. Usually, this problem doesn't occur due to the fire itself, but the restoration work that follows the fire. The ducts may shake apart as power tools are used and the damaged walls are ripped out. Your duct service can use a special camera to view the ducts to see if any have become loose and formed a gap. If they find issues, they will reattach the ducts if possible, or install an air gap liner if the gap can't be easily reached from the exterior.
2. Debris Buildup
Debris can buildup in the ducts as both a result of the fire and during the restoration process. Soot and ash can settle in the ducts. Then, when you turn on the HVAC system, this ash will be recirculated into the air you breathe, which isn't healthy at all. Debris from drywall and sawdust will also collect in the ducts during restoration. The amount that collects can be reduced by taping off the vents in the construction zone, but it won't be eliminated. Cleaning the vents after construction is complete is the best tactic.
3. Mold Growth
Mold is a major issue after a small fire. Moisture can buildup in the vents, particularly if water was used to suppress the fire as opposed to fire-retardant chemicals. Even if no water was used, condensation may have occurred inside the vents due to the fire's heat. Mold and mildew will quickly begin growing in the ducts when moisture gets it. Mold smells bad and it can also have negative effects on your respiratory health. Cleaning and sanitizing the ducts kills the mold and removes any residue.
4. Smoke Odors
Sometimes your home will continue to smell like smoke even after the affected area has been thoroughly cleaned and restored. If this is the case, then the odors are likely trapped inside your ductwork. This is especially likely if the odors are worse when the HVAC system is running. Clean the ducts and you can eliminate the smoke odors for good.
Contact an air duct cleaning service for more help.
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