Chimney through baby's bedroom

Hi all,

We installed a wood burning ‘insert’ into the previously open fireplace on the ground floor and the appropriate flexi type pipe flue up the existing brick chimney to the roof, with proper ‘hat’ etc two winters ago. On the first floor this passes through our master bedroom, now where baby also sleeps, and provides lovely warmth. It has been swept every autumn.

However, occasionally, such as today, there is a smell of smoke, not very strong but quite acrid in the bedroom and we are worried about effect on baby. It is not enough to irritate our breathing but could it be harmful for her?

We only burn well seasoned wood.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts.


I would get that checked immediately, there is clearly a problem and remove her from the room.

Carbon Monoxide is odourless and deadly.

Get an alarm too


I agree with the comments from James. On reflection do you think it’s a good idea to ask a random group of people a question concerning the health and well being of your child? You’ve identified there is a problem, is it really worth the risk?

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Thanks James, have a carbon monoxide detector from the days of the infamous boiler chimney problem which we are relocating into the bedroom today.

Any ideas as to who would be the best person to check the structure itself? I could find no-one who wanted anything to do with chimneys when we suspected that the other one was part of the infamous boiler problem!!

I rather suspect that the local builders round here will rub their hands with glee, say the whole thing has to come down and be rebuilt and produce an eye-watering quote (whilst on the side saying our roof needs de-mossing and that they could do that at the same time - for another eye-watering fee, of course!)

I don’t consider my fellow SFNers a ‘random group of people’ - my understanding is that we are supposed to be here to help each other?

I am simply trying to find the best way of ensuring her safety in the most efficient manner in a country not known for being easy to solve problems in! That’s why SFN exists.

Plenty of health and well-being questions of one sort or another are asked and answered on this forum every hour of every day - perhaps a reminder of the forum ethos, please James?


i agree with david and james. go on facebook and find your local english group. in the gers there is Tom wiseman and a couple fo other reputable people who do stuff like this. not sure what area your in though. i’m sure there will be recommendations on the facebook group of this page too.

Hi Danielle,
can you get some kind of ‘smoke bomb’ to give a visible sign of where the escape is? Identifying the source of the problem will enable the cure to be identified quickly.
e.g. It could just be that a collar at one end of the flexi-pipe has loosened and is letting the smoke out. This would be a cheap and quick fix. :slight_smile:

When you say we installed does that mean it was a DIY job Danielle? If so you might have inadvertently not installed to the appropriate French norme. For example one sort of flexible liner looks much like another. I think that you need the services of a stove installer for example Cheminées Barbier at Bresles not far from Beauvais who would check it out; it’s not a job for the general builder in my opinion. Certainly I wouldn’t leave baby in that room. As James says get a CO alarm and a smoke alarm.

I quite agree @Danielle_Robins but this is a community like any other and there will always be some who are more helpful and positive than others. Where are you, let’s see if this random group of strangers can find a way forward for you. :slight_smile:

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@Danielle_Robins I am all for helping each other but there are times when people need to think for them selves, You have tried to install the insert yourself, there is a problem, it could harm you and your child, surely the easiest, quickest and safest way to remedy this is to ring a stove installer as has been suggested. Remove you and the child from the room for the time being until things have been remedied.

Yes there may be another eye-watering fee, but it’s hardly a cost if it saves your life?
Nothing waters the eye more than the death of your child, take it from me.

I hope all is resolved quickly.

Hi David,

We have attempted a lot more DIY than we thought we would, but this was not one of those projects!

We used a guy who had previously swept the chimney before we bought the insert. His van and invoice bill him as a ‘jack of all trades’ (maçon, chauffagiste, eléctricien, ramoneur…). I haven’t seen him around for months and the rumour is that he’s gone off to work down in Spain.

A stove installer is a good idea - I’ll look into that.

We are fully equipped with alarms and there is no visible smoke escaping from the chimney anywhere - just the smell…


We have not tried to install the insert ourselves. Used a supposedly reputable professional who has since disappeared.

I did extensive internet research (thinking for myself) to try to find people who had experienced similar problems without success, before reaching out on here.

It is very hard to find reliable, non rip-off people around here who will insist that your whole house is crap and needs to be rebuilt instead of just doing the possibly simple repair that needs to be done. If said person wants, say, 20,000€ off me - I don’t have it and can’t afford to pay it. End of. Of course I will do everything I can to keep us safe in the meantime but not at any price if it is not for the right advice and ensuing service!!

GOD HELP YOU if you ever need help.


Hi Danielle…

First of all… whereabouts are you… nearest large town will do if you area loathe to pinpoint… We possibly have folk who can recommend a local “chauffagiste” who can help you…

and I know that folk always laugh when I talk about the Mairie… but, if you are near one and are known there… why not have a quiet word with the Receptionist and ask if they can recommend anyone… As a rule the Mairie will not make such recommendations… but they will tell you who they used to do such-and-such work… :wink: :wink: :wink:


Very good suggestion @Stella

Have had a quick Facebook look but can’t see anything - I don’t think there’s enough English people around here (27/60 border) for that. There’s a couple of retirees about 30km from here, near where we used to live in the 78 - next stop, Paris! Too far away for us unfortunately…

Having scrutinised the map of the Departments… … what is your nearest town ???

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Hi Stella, it’s Gisors! We’re in Trie-Chateau, just to the east

@Danielle_Robins you stated “we installed” but now it is slightly different and you write

Get a couple of stove installers in ask them for a quote, it is a shame the original installer has disappeared. Stella’s advice is excellent, realistically what can anybody else on this forum do? They can’t see the work, they can’t offer a remedy other than speculate. Can’t neighbours recommend someone?

There is no God, but i do need help.:wink:

Recommend a course of action, like @Stella has