Rules on Sweeping the Chimney - Reminder 2020

Just had this info drop into my email box…

Basically… Sweeping the chimney must be done by a Professional, minimum of 1 per year. The Prefecture and/or Mairie may insist on additional cleaning and other rules.

So, its no longer permitted to do it yourself (I’ve got 4!), and if we do we can expect a visit from the chimney police.

It’s not new… it was ever thus… or, at least for as long as we have been here… :zipper_mouth_face:

However if you don’t actually use the chimney you don’t have to get it swept.

While I can see the point I’m not getting ours swept this year (I think we’ve used it 2 or 3 times since it was swept last year) - I possibly won’t light a fire when I visit next week but that is more to do with the fact that it’s been a mild winter so far than anything else.

As ever it does not seem to make much sense to spend more on sweeping the chimney than the fuel I burn in the insert.


However, anyone starting to use a chimney which has not been swept professionally in less than 12 months…would be advised to get it done. Legislation is there for a reason… :zipper_mouth_face:

To enrich the chimney sweeping industry :new_moon_with_face: and the chimney sweeping inspection industry (retirement age 52¾)? Touch of post Christmas cynicism breaking out there.

A man comes every ear to inspect my adoucisseur, a very pleasant man. We have a chat, he inspects, he dumps some “product” in. He tries to upgrade me from Gold to Platinum, service, I decline. I pay and off he goes for another year.

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Mmm… the couple who sweep nearly all the chimneys in our village… are as old as the hills (probably older)… :joy: perhaps they are not aware that they were due to retire in their 50’s… or perhaps they cannot afford to retire… :zipper_mouth_face:

Whatever, they do an excellent job. :hugs:

Not just amount it’s used though. What about birds’ nests and wasps/bees/hornets nests?

I presume you meant to say “more than 12 months”.

Well, yes, fair enough - perhaps more so in a lightly used chimney.

As I said, probably won’t light a fire this year - it’s just me over at the end of the week to check the place and pop the heating on a low setting in case there is a cold snap.

Using a chimney… the Bill should still have part of 12 months to run… ie was swept less than 12 months ago.

I think you missed the “not”…probably put it badly but surely "has not been swept in less than 12 months… would be advised to get it done… " … does mean what I think it means…

If one is sure that the chimney has been swept in less than 12 months… should be ok to light fire … but, as always, proceed with caution.

Every DIY store has chimney brushes and rods, so I suspect that a lot of people do their own.
I guess this is another French regulation like smoke alarms - you must have one, but nobody comes round with a search warrant to check…

Mike… this old chestnut is roasted and chewed on year after year.

Yes, many folk do keep their own chimneys clean… absolutely fine. However, the law is quite clear. Once a year minimum by a professional sweep…

I no longer have our brushes - they were loaned out and never returned and we have forgotten who to chase… :thinking: :wink:

About 10 years ago, a young man came round to inspect our septic tank installation. He told me I should make the inspection covers more accessible before his next visit. Still waiting…

Are you expecting him to visit for a specific purpose, Mike… ???

We have seen what a chimney fire did to a neighbor. Not so much the fire, but the water the pompiers poured into the house. I will gladly pay for a professional sweep one a year.
In Germany, the sweep comes once a year - no matter if you have an wood fire or not. Aside from sweeping chimneys they inspect your heating system (gas/oil/wood fire) to make sure its safe and passes environmental inspections. No certificate and you get a large fine - not be able to rent out your property etc.

I didn’t invite him in the first place. He said he was coming back. I guess someone decided that his function was no longer required.
But the point that I was trying to make is that many petty regulations seem to be aspirational rather than enforcable.


Regarding chimneys … the Regulations are certainly not petty. You are presumably unaware of the number of fires and problems with equipment/chimneys…(many with deadly consequences) … which happen across France.

Equally important is to check what your insurance contract says. Ours requires us to have them swept twice a year…

My point exactly. It isn’t enforced and you cannot legislate for stupidity!

somewhat like the breathalysers you are supposed to carry in your car…