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Q.        Why can I still smell the soot after my home has been repaired by my Insurance company?

A.         This is the same process that occurs when you can smell smoke in your clothes after standing around a campfire. Whenever organic material is burnt and particularly when sulphur is included, chemicals are released which bond with other organic material. This bond cannot be broken so to stop the smell it must be masked.or the chemical altered in some way so that the smell is not produced. Building restoration companies sometimes use Ozone producing equipment to change the nature of the product however without very strict controls and a process which would necessitate vacating the building the procedure is of no value. Ozone is used becuase generally the person appointed by the Insurer to manage the repair has no knowledge of the extent of the damage or how to repair the damage.

            The process by which the smell is attached to surfaces and materials is similar to that where a Skunk attaches smell to its victim. The smell cannot be removed by washing.

            The smell will be worse at some times and may not appear for several months after the fire. I've heard of insurers telling homeowners that they are imagining things however that is not the case.

            We can carry out a simple test to determine if the chemicals are present on and under surfaces in your home and if necessary verify the presence of the material by laboratory analysis. We may be able to advise you how to perform the basic test in the first instance so that you are confident the smell is real. Please contact us.