Houses that previously had fires are always at risk of many issues that may compromise the safety and well-being of those residing there. However, leaving a house with so much value is also very difficult.
Living in a house with a fire in it is okay as long as restorative procedures have been adequately carried out. These include removing smoke damage, fixing structural damage, getting rid of poisonous gases, fixing the electrical system, and monitoring water damage.
This article explains the risks that a house is prone to when it has had a fire, the impact of these risks, how to inspect these, and whether it is okay to reside in such a house.
Risks Of Living In A House That Had A Fire
There is a plethora of issues that arise once a house has been subjected to fire. Below we discuss some of the most important risks that house residents are prone to if a fire has occurred.
- Smoke Damage – The biggest risk of a house fire is the damage that smoke causes. It permeates walls, furniture, and carpets. The smell of smoke and residual soot lingers around for months. Exposure to this can cause many health issues, including respiratory and cardiac issues.
- Structural Damage – The heat from the fire can cause significant damage to the structure of the house. It weakens the foundation, walls, floors, and roofs. The integrity and safety of the house are heavily compromised, and the house can risk collapsing due to fire damage.
- Health Risks – As mentioned earlier, smoke can cause many health concerns. Also, dangerous fumes and chemicals are released, which may impact other body parts, like the nervous system causing headaches, nausea, and other fatal symptoms.
- Water Damage – Water damage is common after a fire; the water used to put out the fire causes significant damage to the house’s structure. It seeps into walls and floors and stays there for a long time. It may also cause problems like mold, leading to further issues.
- Electrical Hazards – The electrical systems in houses are greatly impacted by the heat from the fire. This may cause issues a long time after the fire has been put out unless all electrical components affected by the fire are replaced.
- Presence of Asbestos – Asbestos is a common material used for insulation to prevent homes from catching fire. However, this material contains a carcinogenic mineral that can be dangerous in fire. It may lead to cancer and other fatal illnesses.
- Emotional Impact – Living in a house with a fire can be emotionally distressing for people if they previously owned it. The trauma of the fire can cause anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Inspecting A Home That Has Had A Fire To Check For Safety
Inspecting a home with a fire is critical to ensure it is safe. Look at some of the most basic components that must be inspected before the house is declared safe.
- Check for structural damage – Before entering a house that has been on fire, the first major concern is the strength of the house’s structure. Hence, it is important to check for any major structural damage in the house.
- Inspect the electrical system – Like the structure, the fire impacts the electrical system. It may be damaged, melted, or burned. Hence, it is essential to thoroughly check whether the wiring is still intact and good for use. This is crucial for the safety of the house members and to prevent further fires.
- Check for water damage – As discussed earlier, water can cause damage to the structure and put the home at risk of mold growth. Check for signs of water damage on the walls, floors, and ceilings; you may feel that these parts of the home may be colder or feel moist to the touch.
- Check for smoke damage – Smoke damage can harm the house and the people in the house. Check for smoke damage on walls, ceilings, air conditioning, and heating systems. Look for soot stains in areas, as they can lead you in the right direction.
- Check for toxic chemicals – The toxic chemicals released during the fire may linger around the house. Get yourself a professional who can help test for the presence of these chemicals in the house and guide you to people who can remove them.
- Inspect for pests – After a fire, rodents and insects may be attracted to the home. Check for signs of infestation and take steps to eliminate pests.
- Check the ventilation system – Your ventilation system is key to removing smoke and toxic gasses from your home. Ensure it works correctly to avoid future damage to the house and remove the present damage.
- Conduct regular inspections – Even if the initial inspection reveals no safety issues, it is important to conduct regular inspections to ensure the home remains safe.
Is It Okay To Live In A House That Had A Fire?
We have detailed all the risks of a house after being subjected to a fire. If none of these risks exist in your house after a thorough inspection, your house is safe to live in.
However, if issues have been found during the inspection, it is necessary to take all the important steps to restore the house until it meets all safety protocols.
Restoration can be a long and financially draining process, but ensuring that you and your family live safely without the threat of health issues, collapsing walls and ceilings, mold, and pests is essential.
Moreover, the extent of the length of the restoration process depends on how much the impact of the fire was.
Financial Impact Of Living In A House That Had A Fire
Unsurprisingly, a house fire incurs a huge financial strain on homeowners. Below are some immediate costs a homeowner may have to deal with after a house fire.
- Insurance premiums – Homes that previously had fires are high-risk properties. Most insurance companies are careful with such properties and increase insurance premiums. Homeowners are burdened by the sudden rise in insurance premiums, which adds to their financial stress.
- Restoration costs – Restoring a house that has suffered fire damage can be substantial. The restoration process may require repairs to the structure of the house, electrical wiring, plumbing, and HVAC systems, among other things.
Depending on the severity of the damage, homeowners may need to replace furniture, appliances, and other personal belongings. The restoration cost can range from a few thousand dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the extent of the damage.
- Temporary living expenses – Living in a house that suffered a fire immediately after the fire is put out is not a good idea. People may need to find temporary accommodation until the house is declared safe or until restorative measures are completed. This can incur a huge expense for homeowners.
It is difficult to part ways from a home you have lived in for a considerable time. However, it is important to realize that your safety is far more important. Take all safety measures before moving back into a house with a fire.