Rashes Popping Up On A Child's Skin? A Fireplace May Be To Blame

Posted on: 21 July 2017

Fireplaces are a great decoration in a home, but they can be a health hazard if they are left unclean. Unfortunately, a large number of children suffer from rashes caused by fireplaces. Here is what parents need to know about this problem and how a chimney sweep can help.

Rashes Can Be A Sign Of Creosote Buildup

Children who are developing rashes on the skin may be exposed to high levels of what is known as creosote. This occurs in fireplace chimneys and, when it falls out and becomes airborne, it can settle on the skin and cause severe irritation. It can be hard to detect unless the parent of the child sees creosote buildup on the child's skin.

What is especially troubling is that some chimneys seem to be more prone to creosote buildup than others. Typically, it should take several years for it to become a problem, but if children in a home with a fireplace start developing rashes a few months after a chimney sweep, there may be a serious problem.

What Causes This Buildup?

Creosote occurs in a chimney because of the way that the wood in a fireplace burns. When it burns slowly, the smoke of the wood will be thick with it. As the smoke floats up through the chimney, the creosote will slowly coat the sides. Over a period of a year or two, this creosote buildup can become severe enough to cause rashes on the body and other health problems.

The causes of slowly burning wood are relatively easy to understand. If the wood is cool or the fire isn't quite catching it on fire, it will burn more slowly. People burning wet or unseasoned wood are more likely to experience this problem. Keeping a fireplace burning helps avoid creosote buildup, but a chimney sweep can eliminate it.

Getting A Chimney Sweep Is Crucial

While avoiding creosote buildup is a good preventative measure for chimney rash, it isn't the only step a person needs to take. A concentration of this substance is inevitable over a period of a few years, making it essential to chimney cleaning a couple times a year. The specialist will inspect the chimney, perform necessary repairs to improve its safety, and clean it out.

Avoiding creosote buildup in this way is a crucial way of protecting a young family from dangerous health problems. While rashes are just the tip of the iceberg, other problems, such as respiratory concerns, make it crucial to get a chimney cleaned of this problem item right away.