Print Posted By Lost in France on 12 Sep 2008 in Living in France - Insurance in France

Chimney Sweeping: the burning question

When your stove or heating system was fitted, the equipment was adjusted to the draught of your chimney. If your chimney gets filled up with soot, the quality of draught changes, but the parameters of your installation don't.

As a result, you will have a higher consumption of energy and it will cost you more to heat your house to the same level.

Another problem could be that you get poisoned by breathing carbon monoxide that stays in the house instead of being released through the chimney. In France, about 300 people die each year, and 4000 have breathing disorders due to carbon monoxide, all the more dangerous as you cannot smell it.

{loadposition contentad}When you decide to have your chimney swept, beware of hawkers ­– make sure the work is done by a professional who has liability insurance, which covers him in case of defect. He should give you an 'attestation' that the chimney has been swept along its entire length.

Some shops sell a chemical brick which you can burn in the fireplace and which is supposed to clean your chimney, but this product corrodes the inside of the pipe and could do more harm than good. Cleaning has to be done by scratching inside the pipe with a hard brush adapted to the width.

Who pays? If you are the owner of an individual house, you pay, along with other maintenance costs. If you lease to somebody, make sure the cleaning has been done by the tenant before he leaves.

If you are an owner or tenant in a block of flats, these costs are included in the costs you pay to the "syndic de copropriété"/property agent.

If you rent an individual house, you should bear the cost of cleaning as other maintenance costs.

In a word, when you have the use of the place, you have to pay for chimney sweeping.

You may have heard that there is a legal obligation to have your chimney swept. In fact, there used to be a law regulating chimney sweeping, with a fine in case of breach, but it was abolished in 1994.

But... you could be personally liable if anyone is hurt due to a fire caused by a dirty chimney.

As regards insurance, each company has its own rules, so you should read the general terms, "Fire" chapter, and see if chimney sweeping is mentioned. It can also appear in the chapter "Your duties".
If you have any questions or want to know more about it, you can call us and we will help you out (there is no obligation, just friendly help).

About the Author

Philippe Schreinemachers is the owner of Philippe Schreinemachers SARL who specialise in providing a range of French insurance policies in English. For more information please visit their website at or contact them using the links below.
Tel: +33 (0)5 62 09 79
[email protected]

© Philippe Schreinemachers

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