We expect our fireplaces to burn safely and efficiently each and every time we use them. However, many homeowners are guilty of neglecting their fireplace and chimney maintenance. Whether it has simply been several years since your chimney has been swept or you’ve been going with the cheapest sweep you can find, it is important to reconsider who cares for your chimney.
Because anyone with a truck and a brush can call themselves a chimney sweep, it can be difficult to tell the difference between a seasonal worker and a true professional. One of the best ways to identify a trustworthy, trained, and educated chimney sweep is the CSIA certification.
What is the CSIA?
The Chimney Safety Institute of America, or CSIA, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving standards within the fireplace industry through the education and training of chimney sweeps. One way that the CSIA achieves this goal is through their professional certifications; considered the top professional organization in the fireplace industry, fewer than 1200 chimney sweeps nationwide hold the prestigious CSIA certification.
Becoming CSIA certified
Earning a CSIA certification takes years of training and testing; the rigorous education process ensures CSIA sweeps are knowledgeable in a wide variety of chimney topics including:
- Best practices for safely sweeping and inspecting fireplaces and chimneys
- Current local and national building codes and standards for fireplaces and chimneys
- Basic fireplace construction and draft dynamics
- Current EPA emissions standards for heating appliances
- Installation process for wood, gas, pellet, and other fuel sources
Chimney sweeps must re-earn their CSIA certification every three years. The re-certification process includes continuing education courses and testing; this helps ensure that all CSIA certified chimney sweeps are up to date on the latest technological innovations and safety standards in the industry.
Professional code of ethics
In addition to their expansive knowledge base, CSIA chimney sweeps follow a strict code of ethics. In the code of ethics, chimney sweeps pledge “To render my services in an honest and fair manner and to refrain from engaging in unfair or deceptive practices.” This can help homeowners feel assured they are being treated fairly by a professional, rather than someone looking to make a quick buck.
Hiring a chimney sweep
The CSIA database can help homeowners looking for a certified chimney sweep in their area. Asking the following questions before hiring a chimney sweep can help ensure you’re working with the right professional for your home.
- How long have you been in business?
- Do you have any references from current customers?
- Do you carry liability insurance in the event of an accident?
- Will a CSIA certified chimney sweep be working at my job site?
Anyone with a few brushes can call themselves a chimney sweep; only a CSIA certified professional can truly clean, inspect, and care for your entire fireplace system. For more information on the importance of a CSIA certification or to schedule your next sweeping and inspection, contact Coopertown Services today!