How Much Does It Cost to Clean Up Smoke Damage?
Estimating the cost of fire damage to your home can be difficult. There are many factors that go into calculating the cost of a house fire to homeowners, including the size of the property and the extent of the fire. And while the fire itself can do a lot of damage on its own, the smoke it gives off can cause just as much, if not more, of an issue with long-term damage to your home and belongings.
After you’ve made sure everyone is safe and that either the fire is extinguished or the fire department is handling it, you should contact your insurance agent to notify them. They can discuss your coverage with you and assess whether or not the event that caused the fire is covered.
Filing a Homeowners Claim After a Fire
After a fire occurs, one of the last things you might be thinking about is filing an insurance claim. Make sure everyone is safe and accounted for before you concern yourself with contacting your insurance company, then make the call. Find out if your homeowners insurance covers temporary housing while you repair, rebuild or search for a new house, then discuss filing a claim.
You will need to request a copy of the fire report from the responding fire department for the incident after it has been handled and — if necessary — investigated. Once you’ve received the all clear, you can enter your home and begin to document the damage. Take a lot of photographs of the places and things that were affected by the fire. You should document all parts of the home in need of repair, including appliances and structural elements, and all items that can’t be recovered due to damage.
Estimate the value of the belongings lost in the fire, and use receipts if you have access to them. Your insurance agent can tell you how much coverage you have.
An insurance adjuster will come to the scene after you have notified your insurance agent. They will gather their own evidence and document the damage themselves. You’ll want to make sure you have all communications with them in writing in case a new adjuster is assigned to your claim after the first one has surveyed the damage.
How to Fix Smoke Damage
Typical costs for clean-up after a fire has occurred are between $3,000 and $26,000. Smoke remediation itself can cost between $200 to $1,000 depending on how much furniture, clothing and carpet requires deodorizing. Since smoke will usually enter your heating and cooling ducts, you’ll also want to consider an HVAC system evaluation, which can cost between $150 and $500, with repair costing upwards of $1,000 if needed.
Unless you’re a fire damage restoration professional, hire a contractor to handle the remediation and repairs. A lot of homeowners don’t understand the extent of smoke damage after a fire, which could lead to missing crucial parts of the home that need repair. This means exposing yourself and your loved ones to constant smoke inhalation. Smoke damage can contain toxic chemicals which can be harmful to your health, so it is best to leave it to the professionals who know what they’re doing. Contractors that specialize in remediation of fire and smoke damage are experts in making certain that there are no dangerous chemicals remaining and that there are no lingering smoke odors following the fire.
A professional will know to consider things like:
- Furniture deodorizing
- Carpet cleaning
- Wallpaper replacement
- Wall washing and repainting
- Appliance replacement
And they can help pinpoint whether thermal fogging or ozone smoke removal is the best option for your home’s smoke damage. These methods both aim to permanently remove smoke, either through the use of chemical mist or the use of an ozone generator.
How Much Does Cigarette Smoke Remediation Cost?
Whether you’ve just purchased the home of a former smoker or have quit recently yourself, removing damage from cigarette smoke is something many people want done with their home. This service is not covered by homeowners insurance, so you’ll need to cover the costs for this work.
Cigarette smoke remediation can be done in much the same way as fire smoke remediation. Professional contractors can perform thermal fogging or use an ozone generator. If the smell is not that strong or is only in one part of the house, you can use an air purifier with a HEPA filter, air out the room over several days and clean surfaces with vinegar and hot water. If it’s in fabrics like curtains, clothes or carpet, you’ll need to do several rounds of washing and air drying — preferably outside in the sun — before the smell is removed completely. Following a thorough cleaning, sealing the ceiling and wall surfaces with a good quality stain sealer is critical, followed by a fresh coat of paint to make the room smell fresh and look clean and new again.
So how much can all this work cost? Angie’s List estimates the average cost at about $4,100. What you pay depends on the distribution of smoke throughout the house. It’s possible that every room will need to be treated if you want to get rid of cigarette smoke damage entirely.If you want to understand more about what your homeowners insurance covers when it comes to fire and smoke damage, contact your American Family Insurance agent to learn about your policy. They can help you understand how your homeowners insurance can help you after a fire has occurred and how to file claim should you be affected by one.