Smoke Damage >> How To Remove The Smell Of Smoke Damage

Smoke is a complex mixture of carbon dioxide, water vapor, carbon monoxide, particulate matter, hydrocarbons and other organic chemicals, nitrogen oxides, and trace minerals. The individual compounds present in smoke number in the thousands. Smoke composition depends on multiple factors, including the fuel type and moisture content, the fire temperature, wind conditions and other weather-related influences, How To Remove The Smell Of Smoke Damage whether the smoke is fresh or "aged," and other variables. 

Different types of wood and vegetation are composed of varying amounts of cellulose, lignin, tannins and How To Remove The Smell Of Smoke Damage other polyphenols, oils, fats, resins, waxes, and starches, which produce different compounds when burned. Particulate matter is the principal pollutant of concern from wildfire smoke for the relatively short-term exposures (hours to weeks) typically experienced by the public. 

Particulate matter is a generic term for particles suspended in the air, typically as a mixture of both solid particles and liquid droplets. The characteristics, sources, and potential health effects of particulate matter depend on its source, the season, How To Remove The Smell Of Smoke Damage and atmospheric conditions. Additionally, the size of particles affects their potential to cause health effects. 

Particles larger than 10 micrometers do not usually reach the lungs, but can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat. For purposes of comparison, How To Remove The Smell Of Smoke Damage a human hair is about 60 micrometers in diameter. Small particles with diameters less than or equal to 10 micrometers, also known as particle pollution or PM10, can be inhaled deep into the lungs; exposure to the smallest particles can affect the lungs and heart. 

Particle pollution includes "coarse particles," also known as PM10-2.5, with diameters from 2.5 to 10 micrometers and "fine particles," also known as PM2.5, with diameters that are 2.5 micrometers and smaller. Particles from smoke tend to be very small, with a size range near the wavelength of visible light (0.4 – 0.7 micrometers), How To Remove The Smell Of Smoke Damage and are therefore nearly completely within the fine particle (PM2.5) fraction. 

Thus, smoke particles efficiently scatter light and reduce visibility. Moreover, such small particles can be inhaled into the deepest recesses of the lung and may represent a greater health concern than larger particles. Another pollutant of concern during smoke events is carbon monoxide, How To Remove The Smell Of Smoke Damage which is a colorless, odorless gas produced by incomplete combustion of wood or other organic materials. 

Carbon monoxide levels are highest during the smoldering stages of a fire, especially in very close proximity to the fire. Other air pollutants, such as the potent respiratory irritants acrolein and formaldehyde, How To Remove The Smell Of Smoke Damage as well as the carcinogen benzene, are present in smoke, but at much lower concentrations than particulate matter and carbon monoxide. 

Characteristics of wildfire smoke A number of factors, including weather, the stage of the fire, and terrain can all influence fire behavior and the impact of the smoke plume on the ground. In general, How To Remove The Smell Of Smoke Damage windy conditions contribute to lower smoke concentrations because the smoke mixes into a larger volume of air. 

However, regional weather systems can spread fires quickly and How To Remove The Smell Of Smoke Damage result in large fires and even greater impacts. Strong regional weather systems can dominate a fire's behavior for days and be the determining factor of where and how smoke will affect an area. 

Santa Ana winds in California, for example, reverse the typical onshore flow patterns and blow strongly toward the coast from inland areas, How To Remove The Smell Of Smoke Damage which can result in smoke from mountain fires inundating the heavily populated communities to the west. Chinook winds in the Rocky Mountains represent another example of a well-entrenched system that can significantly affect fire behavior and smoke dispersion. 

The intense heat, especially early in a fire, lofts smoke high into the air, where it remains until it cools and begins to descend. Initial fire plumes tend to be wind-driven events, How To Remove The Smell Of Smoke Damage which can facilitate prediction of the smoke impact area. As the smoke moves downwind, it becomes more dilute and often more widespread, eventually reaching ground level. 

The amount and type of fuel and its moisture content affect smoke production, as does the stage of fire suppression. The smoldering phase of a fire, for example, can sometimes result in very high particle emissions due to less complete combustion than when flames are present. Terrain affects weather, How To Remove The Smell Of Smoke Damage as well as fire and smoke behavior, in several ways. 

For example, as the sun warms mountain slopes, air is heated and moves upslope, How To Remove The Smell Of Smoke Damage bringing smoke and fire with it. After sunlight passes from a slope, the terrain cools and the air begins to descend. This creates a down-slope airflow that can alter the smoke dispersal pattern seen during the day. In the evening, especially in mountain valleys and low-lying areas, temperature inversions are common, in which the air near the ground is cooler than the air above. 

This prevents upward air movement. The lid effect of inversions, coupled with a drop in wind speed, How To Remove The Smell Of Smoke Damage can favor smoke and pollutant accumulation in valleys at night. Terrain also influences fire behavior by both blocking and promoting wind flow. Mountainous terrain causes turbulent air flow that can promote plume down-mixing and increased concentrations of smoke at ground level. 

Such terrain can inhibit smoke dispersion by diminishing wind speeds, or it can funnel winds through mountain passes, accelerating fire movement and smoke transport. Thus, smoke behavior depends on many factors. Smoke levels in populated areas can be unpredictable: a wind that usually clears out a valley may simply blow more smoke in, How To Remove The Smell Of Smoke Damage or may fan the fires, causing a worse episode the next day. 

Smoke concentrations change constantly. Sometimes by the time public health officials can issue a warning or smoke advisory, How To Remove The Smell Of Smoke Damage the smoke may already have cleared. National Weather Service satellite photos, weather and wind forecasts, and knowledge of the area can all help in predicting how much smoke will come into an area, but predictions may not be accurate for more than a few hours. 

The National Weather Service's website has a lot of information, How To Remove The Smell Of Smoke Damage including satellite photos that are updated throughout the day. For the western United States, the Web address is Other useful websites include: and, as well as other sites listed under "Resources/Links" at the end of this Guide.

How To Remove Smoke Smell From Your House

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