Expensive replacement of fireplaces is often useless

– Why for many fireplaces and fireplace inserts nothing changes ? –


The fireplace as a backup when heating

In times of so-called energy crises along with blackout dangers, fireplace stoves are coming back into fashion. Operators who are not familiar with the rules of the Federal Immission Control Ordinance (BlmSchV) are often misled by manufacturers or chimney sweeps. Exhaust gas limits regularly do not exist for open fireplaces. By definition, a fireplace is open if it can “also” be operated openly due to its design.

The fairy tale about the need to replace the fireplace

Meanwhile, many manufacturers and chimney builders are spreading the falsehood that the models sold up to around 2005 would have to be replaced with those that meet Stage 2 of the BlmSchV, staggered according to year of manufacture until 2017, 2020 or 2024.

Also, many chimney sweeps (SSF) do not clarify this and simplistically classify any fireplace with closable doors as a closed fireplace initially without a detailed inspection, which of course also means that they do not explicitly instruct on how to operate an open fireplace.


Also new open fireplaces are still allowed

Many homeowners prefer to see an open fire in the fireplace on occasion, but to be able to close the glass door of the fireplace when about to leave the room. Open fireplaces – including the door if necessary – are still permitted even if they are new – open they can never technically comply with limit values, and therefore do not have to. Therefore, open fireplaces should be operated only occasionally and not around the clock. When the doors are closed, those advertised by manufacturers nevertheless comply with the limits, ultimately voluntarily and good for the environment. However, this still leaves it an open fireplace, because it can also be operated openly.

Already the OVG Koblenz (decision of 12.04.1991, Az. 7 B 10342/91) stated that the operation of a fireplace produces “significantly more pollutants than gas or oil heating systems”.


Hundreds of thousands of buyers of exchange chimneys led by the nose

For manufacturers or sellers, it will be unpleasant when up to a million buyers of appliances that cost from 4,000 EUR with or without installation – learn how limited in time they can actually use their fireplace, which they sometimes want to operate openly, and that in this respect the fulfillment of limit values is of no use to them at all, and cannot be demanded at all.

This is because even with the doors closed, and despite the limits then being met, it remains an open fireplace, and the same restrictions on use apply to it as to the replaced fireplace.


Rule of time limitation of the operation of chimneys

Already the neighbor can prohibit the operation on more than 8 days per month for more than 5 hours under unfavorable circumstances (OVG, loc. cit.). Limit values for exhaust gases, however, are not to be complied with.

It has not been decided by the courts which time limits apply especially after a blackout – because then, for example, oil and gas heating systems will regularly fail as well. Meanwhile, the Regional Court of Munich I (judgment of 23.03.2022, Ref. 15 0 4553/21) ruled: “If there is an obligation to shut down a tiled stove because of excessive emission levels, the chimney sweep who has informed the owner is not obliged to inform him without asking about the nevertheless existing permission of the operation during a disaster.”

Some municipalities refer to “occasional use” of open fireplaces under federal law , an undefined legal term. Occasionally means first of all not constantly, not daily, with more or less long interruptions.

As the KukluxKlan member said in the interview: It i s no longer customary to kill black people. When asked: It no longer happens so often, and more concretely: No longer daily.

Deceptive fireplace manufacturer advertising

Many manufacturers sell new fireplaces (or fireplace inserts) that can also be operated open, including the associated spark protection grate, and advertise accordingly, but state that they (but yes only when closed) comply with the limit values according to stage 2 of the 1st BlmSchV. More often, manufacturers thus give the inaccurate impression that you can now operate such a fireplace as often as you want, at least with the door closed. The truth is another. Also these fireplaces may be used (because legally open) also closed just as occasionally, so that the exchange (except for the environment and more efficient heat production) for it offers no advantage.

No one has yet banned open fireplaces – even newly installed.

It is not technically possible to comply with any limit values in open operation, and installing filters in the chimney impedes the exhaust, which could then poison the users. The uncontrollable air flow prevents any efficiency – 90% of the heat and a lot of CO2 and fine dust go directly through the chimney to the outside. This is only surpassed by the nightly campfire in the open air, around which one sits, pondering what one actually expects from a fire, except that it gets warm.

The legislator assumed in the explanatory memorandum that therefore no one uses such fireplaces more often, and stipulated that they may be used only occasionally. What this means may be interpreted, as long as no authority prescribes it and thus prevails before the administrative courts. Some chimney sweeps do not recognize the open fireplace as such, and do not even tick the addition on the form that it may only be used occasionally when inspecting the fireplace. Then one is therefore first of all – perhaps for a long time – on the track, it is not an open chimney, and therefore it must – which is incorrect – comply with limit values, or be shut down.

Of course, it’s a nice stimulus package to make as many as possible – say 10 million chimney owners – think they need to buy a new chimney. Advertised also formerly that such cast iron fireplaces last for generations.

Special rules also for wood stoves in the kitchen and bathroom

The wood stove in the kitchen – as well as the bathroom stove for the bath water – have comparable special arrangements, for those who depend on it, for social reasons. And also historic stoves in their unchanged place, for reasons of historical preservation.

The fireplace – a plaything of politics

Not only heating with wood has recently become controversial. The Federal Environment Agency has concerns because pellet heating systems generate too much particulate matter – just like many a decommissioned SUV-e-car. U.S. environmental initiatives are already resisting the felling of their forests, which then cross the Atlantic as pellets to generate electricity, emitting more CO2 per kilowatt hour than oil or gas. And “sustainable” biofuel has also come under the scrutiny of World Hunger Aid because the grain processed for it is not available to hungry people – a ban on blending it with diesel seems imminent.

The EU Commission now wants to follow a recommendation by the World Health Organization (WHO), according to which in future local authorities could ban both driving bans for diesel cars and heating with wood. In practice, authorities already seem to be overburdened with the implementation of the “Technical Instructions on Air Quality Control” (TA Luft) and noise protection (TA Lärm), which have been in force for years.


by Dr. Johannes Fiala and Dipl.-Math. Peter A. Schramm


by courtesy of


www.experten.de (published 11.05.2022)

Link: www.experten.de/2022/05/teurer-austausch-von-kaminen-ist-oft-nutzlos/


www.brennessel.com (published 10.05.2022)

Link: www.brennessel.com/bundesimmissionsschutzverordnung-teurer-austausch-von-kaminen-ist-oft-nutzlos/


www.immokat.de (published 10.05.2022)

Link: www.immokat.de/news/21353-Teurer+replacement+of+chimneys+is+often+useless+%2A.html


www.pt-magazin.de (published 05/30/2022 under the headline: Federal Immission Control Ordinance: Expensive replacement of chimneys is often useless)

Link: www.pt-magazin.de/de/specials/umwelt/bundesimmissionsschutzverordnung-teurer-austausch-_l3sk55j6.html


www.magazin.adeba.de (published Aug. 28, 2022, under the headline: Federal Immission Control Ordinance: Expensive replacement of chimneys is often useless)

Link: www.magazin.adeba.de/bundesimmissionsschutzverordnung-teurer-austausch-von-kaminen-ist-oft-nutzlos/







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Dr. Johannes Fiala Dr. Johannes Fiala

Dr. Johannes Fiala has been working for more than 25 years as a lawyer and attorney with his own law firm in Munich. He is intensively involved in real estate, financial law, tax and insurance law. The numerous stages of his professional career enable him to provide his clients with comprehensive advice and to act as a lawyer in the event of disputes.
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