Fire damage in a home or business can cause catastrophic damage. It can also cause more indirect damage, and, sometimes, we forget about the things we can’t see. An often damaged and often overlooked casualty of structural fire damage is the HVAC system.
What is Damaged?
Even small fires toss smoke and soot into the air. Ash and other particles created by a fire are TINY. They’re so small that HVAC filters can’t catch them, which means they can build up within the system and settle into the ductwork and HVAC units. The biggest concern created by this is that the entire system will push all of those contaminants back into the building meaning everyone inside is breathing contaminated and polluted air. This can obviously cause serious health issues in addition to exacerbating pre-existing conditions. It’s particularly unsafe for small children and elderly people. Along with the health risks involved, the build up of soot and ash is bad for the system itself. Systems clogged with soot and ash are forced to work overtime which leads to increased utility bills and a shortened lifespan for the HVAC unit. This damage may not be visible to the naked eye, but the repercussions are definitely not invisible and are sometimes irreparable.
How to Fix It
After a fire damage, it’s necessary to call the appropriate HVAC and cleaning professionals for proper system maintenance and duct cleaning. Professional duct cleaning will ensure the removal of smoke and soot clinging to the interior of the duct work preventing corrosion of the system and further contamination of the structure. Ductwork can be cleaned using high powered filtration systems that are specifically designed to remove soot and debris. In addition to ensuring the ducts are clear, an HVAC service technician should be called to inspect furnaces and AC units to ensure they are not blocked up with any debris and are working appropriately. The technician will diagnose any problems with the system, cleans what’s able to be cleaned, and replace what needs to be replaced to make sure the system is in working order.
It’s understandable that most people get caught up in the big, visible damage to their property when a fire damage occurs. Fires are devastating and terrifying. Even so, it’s important to remember to address all forms of damage, including any smoke and soot damage that the HVAC system for the building likely incurred.