Reader Question: I read your article on hiring a chimney sweep in France but can I do it myself?
People who have a functioning chimney in France must have it swept once or twice a year. The chimney sweeping (ramonage in French) is carried out by a certified sweep (ramoneur), who will give the customer a certificate after the job is completed.
The rules typically dictate that a chimney must be swept once a year if it is attached to a gas-fired heating device and twice a year for wood, oil and coal-fired chimneys. One of these two sweeps must take place in the period when the building is being heated.
However, the rules can vary slightly depending on the area so it is worth doing a search for your department’s Règlement sanitaire départemental (RSD), which will contain the details (you should be able to find it with an internet search with your department’s name, and then check inside the document for ramonage, for example by clicking Ctrl+F and looking for the word). You could ask your mairie if unsure.
This maintenance operation must be carried out by the qualified professional who must give you an invoice detailing the work alongside the attestation de ramonage.
You should keep these documents in your records as your insurer will ask for them in the case of a fire.
If a professional has not swept your chimney in the past year and it is discovered that the unswept chimney is at the root of a fire having damaged your home, you may not be fully covered by your insurance.
In addition, you risk a fine of up to €450.