Chimney sweeping: 12 tips before lighting your fireplace | AXA Luxembourg
AXA Assurances Luxembourg

Chimney sweeping: 12 questions to ask yourself before you light your first fire!

Winter is here, with its share of creature comforts! One tops them all: evenings by the fire, with or without Netflix. So for those who are lucky enough to live in a house with a fireplace, a few checks are necessary to enjoy your fireplace in complete safety.

Chimney sweeping: 12 questions to ask yourself before you light your first fire!

Winter is here, with its share of creature comforts! One tops them all: evenings by the fire, with or without Netflix. So for those who are lucky enough to live in a house with a fireplace, a few checks are necessary to enjoy your fireplace in complete safety.

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1. What does chimney sweeping involve?

Chimney sweeping consists of cleaning the inside wall of the chimney flue to remove soot and deposits and to allow the smoke to escape properly.

2. What are the risks of not having your chimney swept?

An obstructed chimney flue poses two major risks:

  • Fire in the chimney flue: the accumulation of soot in the flue or the presence of a bird's nest, for example, can cause a fire to start. Flames then spurt out of the flue, accompanied by thick smoke.
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning: if the smoke does not escape because the chimney isn’t "drawing” smoke properly, then it will remain in your home. Remember that carbon monoxide causes asphyxiation of the blood cells, signs of which can be headaches or nausea. At higher doses you risk losing consciousness, falling into a coma or even losing your life.  

3. Fireplace, insert, wood stove, does everything have to be swept?

Yes, even gas or oil boiler flues.

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4. Is chimney sweeping compulsory in Luxembourg?

It is your responsibility to regularly maintain your chimney flue pipes, as failure to do so puts you at serious risk. However, there is no legal obligation in Luxembourg.

5. How often do you have to sweep your flues?

Every year for open fireplaces and stoves.
Every 4 years for the boiler exhaust (gas/oil), as part of the revision certificate, which is compulsory.

6. Is it up to the owner or tenant to pay for the chimney to be swept?

Normally the owner is responsible for the chimney sweeping, but check your lease contract, as it may say the opposite.

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7. How much will it cost to sweep a chimney?

Count between € 90 and € 150.

8. Top or bottom sweeping?

That depends on your installation. If it is possible to correctly access the flue from your home without climbing onto the roof, this is the preferred option. The chimney sweep you call in will decide on the spot how best to proceed.

9. When to plan the chimney sweeping?

Whenever you want! As soon as your chimney is no longer in use.
But remember that, with the onset of winter, chimney sweeps are often in high demand with waiting periods of up to 5 or 6 weeks.
So in order to be able to enjoy your chimney as soon as the first cold spells arrive, it is best to plan to carry out the sweeping in the spring.

10. Is there anything we can avoid doing to limit the clogging up of the flues?

  • Do not burn waste in your chimney
  • Avoid damp wood which produces more soot (your wood must be dry for 2 years before use).
  • Opt for hardwood species such as: oak, hornbeam, maple, ash, elm, birch, beech, walnut, olive. Avoid using softwoods.

Please note that a good number of fires take place around Christmas. The fireplace has been out of action for a long time. Gift wrap or the remains of the fir tree (whose resin will stick to the walls) are inserted and the uncleaned flue ignites...

11. What are the signs that your flue is clogged?

Smoke inside the house and stinging eyes are tell-tale signs
Smoke detectors, which are now compulsory in the Grand Duchy are a good way of alerting you. Please note, however, that smoke is often the result of a poorly ventilated house. Because if the air doesn't enter, there’s no way for it to escape...

12. And where does insurance come into all this?

AXA's OptiHome home insurance policy does not require any frequency or proof of sweeping. However, for your safety and that of your family, it is recommended that you prevent any loss by sweeping your smoke extraction flues at least once a year. This frequency can be increased if the heating system is used intensively. Do not hesitate to ask the chimney sweeping professionals for more information.

For your complete peace of mind, fire cover is included in the basic, no-excess cover in OptiHome.

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So, ready to spend a cosy winter by the fire?
Thank you to Antony Martin, manager of Emil Antony chimney sweeping company in Mertert for his advice.