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Is it safe to stay in a house with smoke damage?

The answer is no, in short. Even if it was a small fire, it was still a fire.  However depending on the scale of soot deposits, will dictate the correct answer.

Smoke damage is a major health risk, whether it’s the result of a fire that’s left an entire house in ruins or a fire in one room.

It’s easy to assume that the smoke from a fire that affected one appliance and didn’t reach any other rooms will be contained to that area.

If the microwave was in a closet or another area of the house that was easily accessible, it’s not unreasonable to think that the upstairs bedroom wouldn’t be affected by smoke damage.

This isn’t entirely accurate.

Smoke is very hard to contain, and it will quickly spread out and seep into nearby areas if not completely eliminated from the area.

It will find its way into all manner of places around the home, using whatever means possible.

Sometimes smoke damage can be found within HVAC vents, behind walls, and it’s not uncommon to find it in furnishings. It’s also not uncommon to find it within light fittings and electrical sockets.

If you can’t see smoke, there could be smoke particles which you can’t see. It’s the smoke particles that are a health risk.

What is smoke damage?

Smoke damage is the physical damage caused by smoke that comes from a fire, not the damage done to the fire itself. Smoke does not destroy items like fire does, because of the remnants of the fuel that fed the fire. It coats objects with soot and odours.

The greasy layer of smoke makes it difficult to remove, even though the composition is complex. Regardless of how small or large the fire is, smoke will want to travel to cooler areas and will use whatever means are available to get there. Ducting, wiring, pipes, and any other crevices can be included in this. This means that smoke has reached places you can’t see.

The quick cooling of the smoke particles leaves a film and odour that can penetrate the contents of a building and its structure.

Can fire smoke damage make you sick?

There is fire damage which causes objects to melt and burn. Fire damage and smoke damage are both incredibly hazardous to health.

Smoke inhalation is the most common cause of death related to fires. During a fire, this occurs when the products of combustion are breathed in.

Smoke is a mixture of heated particles and gases, and it is impossible to know its exact make up. The items burned, the temperatures reached, and the amount of oxygen available all have a part in determining the type of smoke produced. There is a completely different kind of smoke created by wood fires than there is by protein fires.

Smoke inhalation can cause burns to the respiratory system, which can result in death or permanent damage, and it can also cause other problems. Symptoms of smoke inhalation include coughing, vomiting, nausea, confusion, and sleepyness.

When you breathe in smoke, you have more carbon monoxide in your lungs which makes it hard for you to get oxygen into your body. Oxygen is removed from the atmosphere by fires and thus there is less of it for you to breathe in. Death or permanent brain damage can be caused by long-term exposure to smoke. It will likely need treatment in the hospital.

Health risks of staying in a smoke damaged house

You could be forgiven for thinking that the health risks of fires are gone once the flames are doused. This isn’t completely accurate.

Smoke can be very harmful to your health. Smoke can also contain heavy metals and other toxins, but tar and carbon are just two of its common by products. These can cause health implications if they are breathed in for a long period of time.

Breathing can become hard if you live in a house that’s been damaged by fire. Sinuses and lungs can be affected, making breathing hard.

Residual particles in clothing and furnishings can irritate the skin, which cannot be treated with lotions. When the irritation is severe it can be difficult to deal with it.

It is vital that you have a fire restoration company come in and complete a thorough clean and decontamination of the entire property, even if you cannot see any smoke damage. Remember, even a small appliance fire that is dealt with quickly and contained to one room can still cause smoke damage in areas of the property that you cannot see.


It’s more than just the fire that’s a risk to your health. Staying in a property that has had a fire is a risk to health, especially children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.

It’s not just the room in which the fire was located that is affected by the smoke. It can travel a long way, far from the original source of the fire, and will use whatever means it can to get there, including vent and pipes. Smoke damage can occur even if you can’t see it, because it can get into all manner of crevices including gaps in the wall and electrical sockets.

Smoke particles can get trapped within porous materials, which include curtains and carpets. Exposure to smoke particles can cause health problems at a later date, including respiratory issues and skin irritations.

If you have experienced a fire, it is a good idea to use the services of a professional fire damage clean up company to thoroughly clean and decontaminate the entire property so that you can rest assured that your home is a safe place for you and your family.

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