Can you sweep your own chimney? What about insurance implications?

Chimneys, while offering warmth and comfort, come with their own set of responsibilities. One of the primary ones being its maintenance. In Belgium, like many other countries, chimney sweeping is not just a matter of cleanliness but also of safety and legal compliance. But can you take this task into your own hands? And what are the implications, especially when it comes to insurance?

chimney sweep

Legal Requirements in Belgium

In Belgium, annual chimney sweeping is mandatory, regardless of the type of fuel you use. This regulation aims to prevent potential fire hazards and carbon monoxide poisoning. Only certified chimney sweeps can provide a legally valid chimney sweeping certificate. This certificate is crucial, especially when it comes to insurance claims related to chimney incidents.

Pellet Stoves

For those using pellet stoves, it’s highly recommended to sweep the chimney two to three times a year. While you can handle these additional cleanings yourself, it’s essential to document the process, preferably with photographs, to serve as proof of the task.

DIY Chimney Sweeping: Is it Feasible?

Technically speaking, yes, you can sweep your own chimney. However, there’s a catch. Only a chimney sweep carried out by a certified professional holds legal value. In the unfortunate event of a chimney-related incident, insurance companies will demand this certificate to process any claims. For frequent chimney users, it’s advisable to hire a professional for the mandatory annual sweep and consider DIY for any additional cleanings during the year.

Cost and DIY Options

Professional chimney sweeping can cost anywhere between 60 and 150 €, depending on the chimney type and how dirty it is. If you’re considering the DIY route, you have two main options:

1. Chemical Sweeping Logs: These logs, when burned, release chemicals that help in cleaning the chimney. However, they are not as thorough as a manual sweep.

2. Chimney Sweeping Kit: This typically includes a brush known as a "hérisson" and rods to help you scrub off the soot and creosote. While this method is cost-effective, it requires caution. Proper soot disposal is crucial to prevent any potential hazards.

Insurance and Responsibilities

Insurance companies will only cover chimney-related incidents if you can provide a valid chimney sweeping certificate. For rented properties, tenants are usually responsible for general maintenance, including chimney sweeping. In contrast, landlords handle repairs and renovations. Therefore, adhering to the legal requirements is not just a matter of safety but also ensures that you meet your insurance policy’s conditions.


While DIY chimney sweeping might seem like an attractive option, especially considering the potential cost savings, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons. In Belgium, the legal and insurance implications make it advisable to rely on certified professionals for the mandatory annual sweep. For any additional cleanings, if you choose the DIY route, always ensure you take necessary precautions and document the process.