Ban on oil heating: tens of thousands of euros in penalties threaten – who is affected

“Replacement obligation” applies

Ban on gas and oil heating: Risk of controls and fines

Updated: 04/09/2023, 23:00

| Reading time: 5 minutes

Old gas and oil heaters can be removed from the "exchange obligation" be affected and may then have to be replaced by the owner (symbol image).

Old gas and oil heaters can be affected by the “replacement obligation” and may then have to be replaced by the owner (symbol image).

Photo: IMAGO/ActionPictures

The old gas or oil heating system could already be subject to the replacement obligation. Compliance is checked and even punished.


  • The announced ban on heating has made headlines in recent weeks
  • There is already a replacement obligation that applies to certain consumers
  • Fines of up to 50,000 euros are possible. A chimney sweep explains what’s behind it

Horrendous gas and heating oil prices have shaped the energy crisis for many consumers. Since the beginning of the year, however, the energy market has calmed down again – what’s more: the gas price has leveled off at the pre-war level and the price of a liter of heating oil has also fallen drastically and has stabilized locally below the one euro mark. The energy prices for heating oil and gas are no longer a cause for concern, at least for the moment – but the traffic light coalition’s plans for a ban on classic gas and oil heating systems in Germany from 2024 are.

“Replacement obligation” for gas and oil heating systems is already taking effect: Who is affected

As early as March, Minister for Economic Affairs Robert Habeck had plans for a gradual ban on gas and oil heating from 2024 onwards political opposition shocked. The hope of many: the coalition partners SPD and FDP brake Habeck’s plans. In essence, however, the traffic light parties have agreed on a ban on new gas and oil heating systems without a regenerative component. So far, the plans are just a cabinet draft, so nothing is set in stone. What some people don’t know: there is already an “exchange obligation”.

This “obligation to replace” old heating systems with constant temperature boilers would be independent of the draft law for a new building energy law from 2024 continue to exist – the Ministry of Economic Affairs informed our editors when asked. Basically, all consumers with a gas or oil heating system that is more than 30 years old are affected by the “replacement obligation”. The goal: Gas and oil heating systems that are no longer efficient should disappear from the scene in the next few years.

Ban on old gas and oil heating systems: How the obligation to replace is controlled

There are only a few exceptions to the replacement obligation, which means that the majority of consumers with an old gas or oil heating system are already affected or will be in the coming years. should postpone owner the exchange obligation does not – compliance with this is checked. Specifically, the chimney sweeps are responsible for this – the Ministry of Economics speaks to our editors of an “unbureaucratic” design. In most cases, no mathematical proof is required.

“Instead, there should be a previously defined series of options for implementation,” says Susanne Ungrad, press officer at the Ministry of Economic Affairs. But what are these options? We forwarded this question to the Federal Association of Chimney Sweeps. A speaker clarifies to our editors. In the vast majority of cases, the verification of the replacement obligation is actually unbureaucratic via the so-called “presumption rule”. This means: During the next scheduled maintenance, the chimney sweep assesses the situation on site.

Chimney sweeps check replacement obligation: Expert explains how it works

In addition to the old gas or oil heating, it is also a regenerative one heating system in operation, things get a bit more complex. An example: In addition to an old gas heating system, a household operates a heat pump – so the regenerative share is given. According to traffic light plans, this should also apply to new gas and oil heating systems younger than 30 years from 2024. “In the case mentioned, the heat pump must cover at least 30 percent of the heat requirement,” said the spokesman for the chimney sweep trade. If the chimney sweep can suspect that on site, the matter is settled.

Will only come with a Gas or oil heating heated, the chimney sweep only has to look at the age of the heating. Is your own gas or oil heating system affected by the replacement obligation? Consumers can also easily determine the age of their heating – there are several ways to do this. In larger building complexes with various heating systems, the chimney sweep can also commission an energy consultant with an expert opinion and use this to make his judgment.

Violation of the replacement obligation can be expensive: so much fine is possible

And if someone the exchange obligation not noticed? “Then we first talk to the owners about it. The confirmation can then be made at a later date,” explains the spokesman for the chimney sweep trade. Of course, there are owners who do not comply with the requirements or reject them. “In such cases, the chimney sweeps inform the lower authority.” Locally, this can be the building authority – depending on what is responsible for an instance in the respective federal state.

This is where a decision is made on how to proceed. According to the current Building Energy Act, fines of up to 50,000 euros are already possible for violations. It is all the more worthwhile to obtain information about the age of your own gas or oil heating system. A good time for this is the next visit from the chimney sweep. Consumer centers and energy consultants are also good contacts and can provide support in the search for an alternative to gas or oil heating.

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