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Can I still get an oil boiler in my French home if no other option?

It has been illegal to install new oil-fired boilers in France since July 1 this year but one reader signed a quote for one last year

France is trying to phase out oil-fired boilers, which heat around 3.5 million homes around the country Pic: Yevhen Prozhyrko / Shutterstock

Reader question: I read your article about the installation of new oil-fired boilers being banned in France from July 1 this year. We were told last year by our heating engineer that there would be no problem installing a new oil-fired boiler in our home as there are no alternatives. We signed a quote in October but the replacement still has not arrived. Where do we stand with the new law?

Since July 1 it has no longer been possible to install a new oil-fired boiler (chaudière au fioul) in any French home due to them being considered too polluting. 

However, there is a major exception to this ban. 

The law states that “if there is no solution to connect a household to a heating or gas network, the ban will not apply.” 

Additionally, if no other heating solution can be found that does not involve major changes to public infrastructure, then again the ban will not apply. 

This is usually only the case in very rural, particularly mountainous, regions. 

If our reader is in this situation, then they should be allowed to install a new oil-fired boiler. 

The best advice is to get back in touch with the heating engineer to ask, as they will know the specifics of the area and the property. 

It should be noted that homeowners who already have an oil-fired boiler are allowed to keep them and also repair them if they are damaged. However, they will not be able to replace them with a new oil boiler if they break down completely unless there are no other heating options. 

Around 3.5 million properties in France are currently heated by oil boilers. 

Read more: French grants covered 30% costs to replace my old oil-fired boiler

Another potential solution for our reader is installing a biomass boiler, which is often compatible with CO2 limits in France. Oil-fired boilers can also be converted into biomass boilers. Again, it is worth checking this possibility with the heating engineer. 

Read more: France approves €230m aid for households that heat homes with oil

Earlier this year the government announced that an extra €1,000 would be offered to people replacing a gas or oil-powered boiler with a more environmentally-friendly heating system.

Around half of this money comes from the MaPrimeRénov scheme, and the other from Certificats d’économies d’énergie (CEE). 

Read more: Extra €1,000 available in grants to replace a gas boiler in France

Read more: Explained: How to apply for a renovation grant for your French home

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