Where’s the Chicken? That was the common theme and reoccurring question posed in yesterday’s Odor Control in Restoration CE class hosted by PHC Restoration in Raleigh yesterday.
We often associate odor with bad smells that often go away (smelly feet, cooking cabbage/broccoli, rotten eggs for example). We tend to spray air fresheners, open windows or light candles to help cover up the smells, and these work to mask the odor as it fades away. Because we have success masking these light smells, we have the tendency to try to mask other stronger odors. Pet odors and cigarette smells are two examples. Cleaning carpets and kilz-ing walls are popular ways to “remove” the smells, but as learned from class yesterday, if you do not remove the source of the odor, you will not be able to effectively get rid of the odor.
PHC Restoration has a wide range of odor removal equipment that we use to help remove odor from homes most often associated with fire losses. From ozone machines to thermal foggers, each specializes in removing odors, but we all have to remember to first clean and remove the source. Think…Where’s the Chicken? When we accidentally forget about the chicken cooking on the stove and come back to find the empty burnt pot. Where did the chicken go? It was displaced in the air and is now attached to surfaces in your kitchen. Commonly, people will throw away the burnt pot and wipe down the kitchen counters, but if we don’t also wipe down the walls and cabinets, the smell will remain.
The same holds true for fires in the home. Smoke is one of the toughest odors to eliminate in the home after a fire. Some contractors who do not specialize in restoration think that removing the burnt building material and repairing will get rid of all the fire/smoke smells in the home. Homeowners who try to clean and repair the damage themselves may use all purpose household cleaners to wipe down the walls or apply kilz to the walls to seal in the smell but never seem to fully get rid of the odor. Why? Smoke and soot can carry throughout the house and likes to “hide” in cracks and crevices. If you have an air handler for your HVAC unit near where the fire occurred, the odor can spread through the duct work. Building material also plays a factor as well as the type of fire the home sustained. Protein fires in which result from burnt proteins such as burnt roasts in the oven or eggs left on the stove need to be cleaned differently from structural fires in which building material is burnt.
There is definitely a science behind odor control in restoration. If your home sustains fire damage, contact a restoration company who understands how to properly remove the odor as well as repair the damage. PHC Restoration has been specializing in odor removal and fire restoration for over 45 years. Give us a call at 919-834-6523 if you face a fire damage emergency.