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After Fire: When to Clean Ducts

Movement of air currents inside a structure often pushes soot into air ducts even after a light fire. Because of the expansion from heat, the pressure of the fire can force soot into the duct system, especially when the unit is not operating.

But incorrectly treating soot and smoke damage can make a difficult problem even worse. While perfume and KILZ primer may mask an odor or appear to air duct remove damage, it’s unlikely they will truly resolve the problem. Improper air duct cleaning products or methods can even create long-term liability by later flaking off or even altering flame spread ratings.

Some of the most fundamental factors to consider in determining the feasibility of air duct cleaning after a loss are:

  • Severity of the fire
  • Location of the ductwork
  • Ease of replacement vs. cost of cleaning
  • Interior condition of duct and/or insulation
  • Potential heat damage to hidden areas (especially if flex duct is in place)

In all cases, be sure to follow industry-standard guidelines to help return the home and furnishings to a pre-loss condition. As an IICRC-certified business in operation since 1987, ServiceMaster Clean In A Wink has seen the mistakes people make in trying to clean or restore ductwork. For air duct cleaning help or advice, call us at 888-GET-WINK.