Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Chimney sweeps - more than just a clean chimney?

The last few months for this property finder have been somewhat overshadowed by my own house move, the moving date neatly coinciding with a 12 inch fall of snow here which persisted in our garden for nearly three weeks. The challenges of starting to work on a 300 year old stone property are considerable but I am hoping to turn some of my experiences to good advantage and share a few useful tips.

While not always the case, it is often in the small print of house insurance policies that chimneys are swept on an annual basis here in France. Obviously it is good practice, especially for chimneys that are in regular use, but there are hidden benefits to this as I discovered earlier this week. Your chimney sweep should not only be able to clean your chimneys but he may also be able to advise on any defects that are not apparent to the naked eye, certainly from ground level. Capping off of chimneys, installation of cowls, closure plates etc will all make your home more comfortable to live in and ensure that your heating bills are paying for heating the house and not the air outside. My sweep has a state of the art camera that he can use to check out any potential problems within a chimney or flue - although I’m not sure how much I’m looking forward to seeing these particular pictures when he returns to sweep our remaining chimneys in a month or so!

On 1st January 2011 a mandatory DPE (diagnostic de performance energetique) for all properties for sale or long term rental was implemented. This report gives both energy consumption details (which must now be displayed on all property sale particulars in France) along with CO2 emissions. With this in mind, a visit from your chimney sweep could well prove exceptionally good value.