Test for Smoke Residue
Processes For Growing Restoration Companies
Test for Smoke Residue
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It is necessary to test for smoke residue by following this process in cases where there is no visible residue but the smoke odor still exists.
Step 1: Be aware of areas where smoke residue likely exists
Areas next to or far from the affected area may be affected, such as wall cavities, basements, attics and closets. Inspect these areas methodically.

Smoke deposits are likely to be found on cold surfaces, metallic surfaces, horizontal/flat surfaces, surfaces that carry a static charge (ex. plastic bags), and in or on the HVAC system (on the filters and in the ducts).
Step 2: Understand the need to properly test for smoke residue
Soot and odor levels are subjectively evaluated, based on your personal experiences, but this will not be adequate for an insurer. Testing provides proof and documentation that such residue actually exists and needs to be mitigated.
Step 3: Collect swipe samples
Swipe sample the surfaces listed in Step 1, using white- or light-coloured material (ex. dry sponge) to provide contrast. Black discoloration indicates fire-related particulate matter, while white or light grey discoloration indicates normal household dust.

Samples can also be collected at this stage for laboratory analysis if there is concern about chemicals being released by the fire. That will not be covered in this process.
Step 4: Take photographs
Photograph the swipe sample as well as the surface from which it was taken.
Step 5: Document the source of the sample
Fasten the sample onto an index card or other holder where you can document where it was taken from and when. Place the sample and card into a sealable plastic bag for storage.