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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Fires Affect HVAC Systems

7/5/2017 (Permalink)

Smoke & Fire Damage Are Common After a Fire in Your Russellville, Hamilton, & Fayette Property

A fire in any home is a frightening sight. Fortunately, most of the damage after the flames have been put out is from smoke and soot residues. Smoke and soot are easier to restore than removing scorched and burned property, but it does take time and patience.

One item residents forget about before or after fire damage has occurred at their home is the air and heat or HVAC system. It may not be necessary to clean the HVAC after a fire, but it must be inspected to make certain. If the system is turned on with residue still inside, it is possible to contaminate the entire house in a matter of minutes. SERVPRO has developed a thorough list of questions to inspect an HVAC system and another to clean and repair it if there is smoke or soot residue. 

First, how close was the fire to the HVAC vents or the furnace unit? 
Did smoke enter either the supply or return sides of the system? 
How long did the fire burn? Was the HVAC in operation at any time while the fire was active? 

These questions help us determine just how likely there is contamination, the type of residue, and how extensive it might be. Do not assume there is no contamination because the HVAC was off. An active fire creates air pressure which can force smoke into the system if it burns long enough. An inspection provides the information we need to answer these questions and prepare a restoration plan. 

Are mechanical components of the HVAC damaged? Do they need to be replaced? If so, our technicians can service most HVAC systems. For certain brands, it may be necessary to call in one of their technicians to perform the work. 

Is the ductwork sheet metal, duct board, or flex duct? Sheet metal ducts are easy to clean, duct board is a bit more difficult, and flex duct may have to be replaced because it is not cost effective to pull it out and stretch it to clean out every crease. 

Are the filters contaminated? If yes, then they must be replaced. It is a precautionary practice to toss all filters before the fire and run new filters, inspect, and replace again if the residue is exceptionally thick. 

Does the HVAC need to be disassembled? Taking it apart may be required if the residue is particularly thick and resists cleaning. 
Once we or your contractor has rebuilt the HVAC, our technicians seal the ductwork as tightly as possible to prevent additional contamination and then test it. 

This process is not simple, but restoring the HVAC system in your home is the final, needed step before it is truly safe to return. For SERVPRO of Russellville, Hamilton, & Fayette this is not just a job. We understand the need to go back to normal after a fire or any other disaster. Call us today at (205) 921-1449 to begin.