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Decree no. 2009-649 of June 9, 2009 requires that all boilers (whether fueled by natural gas, heating oil, wood or coal) with a power rating of between 4 and 400 kilowatts must be serviced annually by a qualified engineer. For new or replacement boiler installations, the first service must be carried out one year from installation completion.
As stated in article 31.6 of the Règlement Sanitaire Départemental type (RSDT), annual cleaning of boiler flues is also a legal obligation.
Who is responsible for making sure that the service is carried out?
Where the home concerned has its own separate boiler, servicing is the responsibility of the occupant, owner or tenant (unless specifically stated otherwise in the lease).
Where the boiler is shared to provide communal heating, servicing is the responsibility of the owner or the building management company.
Is there a risk of penalties being charged in the absence of servicing?
Current legislation makes no provision for penalties where annual servicing is not carried out. But if you are a tenant, and vacate your home without having the boiler serviced, the owner may deduct the cost of doing so from your deposit.
Failing to have the boiler flue cleaned may make you liable to a third-class fine of up to €45.
The main risk of not servicing a boiler is carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. This asphyxiating gas is invisible, odorless and can be fatal within an hour. It is the cause of around 30 deaths every year*. Detecting its presence in the home is the main reason why the annual boiler servicing legislation was introduced.
*Source: Ministry for Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy (2012)
A properly serviced boiler will break down five times less frequently and last twice as long*.
*Source: ADEME (2011)
In overall terms, heating is responsible for 38% of fine particulate emissions and 24% of carbon dioxide emissions*. A properly adjusted boiler limits these emissions.
*Source: ADEME (2011)
Regular boiler servicing reduces the quantity of fuel consumed by between 8% and 12%*. The resulting savings can be significant, since space heating and domestic hot water production are the largest single source of domestic expenditure (between 60% and 75%)*.
* Source: ADEME (2011 “heating, control, hot water”)