Since the passage of the European Community into the European Union by the Treaty of Maastricht in 1992, the European influence has steadily increased at all levels of the societies of the European member states. Today, national interests are essentially fading as compared to European directives and laws. Today, chimney sweeping is also regulated primarily at European level and must meet these new requirements.


With the founding of the European Federation Of Chimney-Sweeps (ESCHFOE) in 1954, a strong community of interest in the chimney sweep industry was created, which supports the professionals of the individual member states through job-specific promotion and mutual exchange of experience at European level.

ESCHFOE Presidium


Oswald Wilhelm


Michael Verderber


Petteri Virranta


Avenue des Nerviens117
bte 48 bis
B-1040 Bruxelles

General Secretariat:

Westerwaldstraße 6
D-53757 Sankt Augustin
Telefon: +49 2241 3407-0
Telefax: +49 2241 3407-10

objectives of ESCHFOE

One of ESCHFOE's objectives is to create as uniform a pan-European professional vision and objective as possible, thereby raising the profile of the chimney-sweep industry in Europe, underlining its necessity and importance and ensuring that remuneration is rewarded.


The most important topics of ESCHFOE include labor law, technical knowledge and developments, promotion of young talent and training in chimney-sweeping as well as fees and remuneration. Zzt. ESCHFOE is composed of twenty-three full members and one guest member.


ESCHFOE has today become a valuable tool for the intergovernmental contacts of its affiliates and for the mutual understanding of the countries that join them.


Operational and fire safety
For centuries, preventive fire safety has been an important concern of all states in Europe to protect the assets of the people and to ensure the safety of life and limb. Out of this concern, the Europe-wide chimney-sweep industry developed and preventive fire protection still forms the foundations of Europe-wide chimney-sweep work. Chimney-sweeping activities to maintain the operational safety and safety of combustion plants have always ensured that property and personal injury caused by fires and accidents in connection with fireplaces and ventilation systems are minimized.

Fire show or fire show and building inspection
Numerous laws, ordinances and technical regulations form the basis for structural fire protection and set minimum requirements for the building, the heating and ventilation technology used and the fuel storage to prevent fires. But rules without enforcement are usually ineffective. Through the inspection activities in the context of structural acceptance as well as a recurring hearth show or fire show, the chimney-sweeps in Europe ensure that the technical, building law and fire protection requirements are actually met and the structural fire protection is guaranteed.

Reversal / removal of combustible residues
Every combustion, but also the removal of grease from kitchens or room exhaust air, creates flammable deposits in exhaust and ventilation systems. Without regular removal of these residues by sweeping or cleaning, they may either ignite and cause fire damage, and in the event of a fire, spread the spread of fire to other floors of the building.

Safety checks
Regular visual and metrological inspections of combustion and ventilation systems are necessary in order to be able to permanently guarantee operational and fire safety. The chimney-sweep has developed effective verification techniques to detect and eliminate hazards at combustion and ventilation systems at an early stage.

These dangers include, among others:

  • Subsequent changes that can lead to fire hazards (eg too short distances to combustible components) 
  • subsequent changes that hinder the supply of air or the removal of combustion gases
  • Subsequent changes that do not comply with structural and fire safety requirements
  • Contamination or wear on fireplaces, which can lead to fire hazards or the escape of dangerous carbon monoxide (CO).
  • Impurities or closure of exhaust systems that hinder the free removal of the combustion gases and can even lead to backflow into the recreation room
  • Dangers due to improper fuel storage or storage of flammable or highly flammable materials in the vicinity of fireplaces
  • Hazards due to non-functioning safety devices (safety interlocks of fireplaces and air-extracting equipment, combustion air openings, safety temperature limiters, Carbon monoxide (CO) monitors, smoke detectors, etc.)


In addition to the safety-related inspections of furnaces and ventilation systems, regular inspections inside and outside buildings by chimney-sweeps are required in various European member states. This inspection serves in addition to the preventive fire protection also to ensure access for fire fighting and emergency vehicles in case of fire.

At the outer inspection chimney-sweeps check:

  • Access for emergency vehicle
  • Fire water supply
  • Storage of combustible materials (lumber storage, LPG storage, oil storage, coal storage, straw storage, etc.)
  • Assessment of the condition of the building in terms of fire protection (chimney head or roof tops, condition of the roof cladding and roof windows, fire wall walls, lightning protection equipment, electrical installations etc.)

At the inner inspection the following points are checked:

  • Compliance with fire safety requirements within the building
  • Storage of combustible materials
  • Nature of escape routes
  • Compliance with proper fire sections
  • Function of fire doors
  • Presence of suitable and verified extinguishing aids
  • Presence of the fire protection plan, fire book and necessary marking of escape routes
  • Presence of smoke detectors

Fire protection consulting

In addition to the regular sweeping and checking activities of chimney-sweeps, fire protection consultations are also an important element in preventive fire protection. Here chimney-sweeps can already participate in the planning phase to avoid sources of danger at an early stage.

environmental protection

Against the background that about 40% of the total energy consumption is attributed to the production of heat and hot water, the activities of European chimney-sweeps in the field of environmental protection and energy conservation are of particular importance. In addition to the metrological monitoring of emissions (dust, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, etc.) at fireplaces on the basis of legal limit values in the field of environmental protection also reviews and activities related to energy efficiency (monitoring of efficiencies, exhaust, radiation and distribution losses, Insulation, pump performance and control, hydraulic balancing, energy efficiency labeling, etc.). In addition, the chimney-sweep industry in Europe also performs energy advice in various forms. This can be done in the planning phase in order to achieve the installation of the most efficient and correctly dimensioned heating system. Other useful measures can also result from an energy consultation, as well as funding opportunities can be shown. But during the operational phase, chimney-sweeps will also advise on the proper, low-emission and energy-efficient operation of fireplaces and, in the case of solid fuel fireplaces, on the choice of a suitable fuel, its correct storage and proper loading. By consulting the chimney-sweep, operator behavior can be sustainably influenced in favor of energy-efficient and low-emission operation of heating systems and fireplaces.

ventilation and room air hygiene

Another field of activity of European chimney-sweeps concerns indoor air hygiene. Due to a growing number of built-in ventilation and air conditioning systems, which are increasingly required, especially for energy saving reasons to avoid heat loss due to air exchange, the room air hygiene is also becoming increasingly important. Allergies and respiratory diseases can be the result of inadequate indoor air hygiene. Incorrectly dimensioned ventilation systems or a subsequent increase in building impermeability can also lead to a drop below necessary air changes and thus to moisture damage and mold fungus formation. By measuring, checking and cleaning, chimney-sweeps can also make a valuable contribution in the field of room air hygiene. In many European member states (Scandinavia, for example), chimney-sweeps have been working in this field for a long time, with the necessary tools and experience to provide for indoor air hygiene. They make a valuable contribution to health protection.


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Operational and fire safety

»Preventive fire protection is the foundation of Europe-wide chimney-sweep work.«


»Optical and metrological checks are necessary to maintain operational and fire safety«

environmental Protection

»We ensure environmental protection through metrological monitoring of emissions and energy consulting.«