As with many things in life, choosing a chimney sweep is often a balance between skill and price. Unfortunately, many of the most “affordable” chimney sweeps are unskilled. Not to mention uncertified and unsure of how to properly care for your chimney. Because of this, it is extremely important for homeowners to ensure they are hiring a chimney sweep with professional certifications.
For many years the chimney sweep industry was unregulated. This allowed anyone with a truck and a broom to call themselves a chimney sweep. While this is occasionally still seen today, many chimney sweeps now hold certifications. These certifications come from professional organizations indicating their skills and training. They give homeowners peace of mind. First, that they are working with a trained professional. Second, a professional who truly understands the ins and outs of their chimney system.
Earning a certification
One of the best known professional certifications for chimney sweeps is that given by the Chimney Safety Institute of America, or CSIA. Considered the “gold standard” in the fireplace industry, a CSIA certification can take years to earn. Certification includes dozens of hours of training, education, and testing. The more than 1,400 CSIA certified chimney sweeps in the country represent the most highly trained professionals in the industry.
CSIA certifications are not honorary or given to all who apply. Instead, chimney sweeps must undergo rigorous training and testing to earn the certification.
- Knowledge on the latest in safety standards.
- Broad knowledge of chimney construction and dynamics.
- Local and national building codes.
- EPA requirements.
- Clearances and standards.
In order to maintain their certifications, CSIA certified chimney sweeps must retest every three years. This ensures that all sweeps are up to date on the latest news. In addition to technology, safety standards, and practices in the industry.
Other certifications and associations
In addition to the regular CSIA certification, there are an extremely small number of Master Chimney Sweeps. This certification is considered the highest professional certification a chimney sweep can earn. However, it is extremely difficult to achieve. Plus, is selectively given to only a very small number of chimney sweeps. This select few does however include our very own, Ken Robinson. There are a number of other professional guilds and associations chimney sweeps may belong to. These groups include the National Chimney Sweep Guild, the National Wildlife Control Operators Association, and more. While these groups do not offer certifications, membership in these professional organizations is an important part of continuing education and professional support for chimney sweeps.
Finding a certified chimney sweep
Before hiring a company to sweep or inspect your chimney, the CSIA recommends using these questions. This ensures you are working with a certified professional.
- How long has your company been in business?
- Does your company have current references?
- Do you have unresolved complaints filed with a consumer protection agency or Better Business Bureau?
- Does the company or sweep carry business insurance to protect against accidents?
- Can you ensure that a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep will work on my home?
In conclusion, companies with CSIA certified chimney sweeps and Master Chimney Sweeps include Coopertown Services. So, we will be happy to answer any questions homeowners have. Not to mention, we can answer long before we start work on your chimney. For more information about how professional certifications set us apart, contact us today!