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What It Means to be CSIA Certified

CSIA_certified_chimney_sweeps_Fort_Wayne_IN_Old_Smokey's_Fireplace_and_ChimneyWould you call a plumber if your roof were leaking? Not in a million years. Would you call a roofer if your shower were leaking? The chances are slim to none. In both instances, the wrong specialist is being used to repair something that he or she is probably not trained to repair. This same logic applies to selecting a chimney sweep.

Sure you could hire anyone off the street to inspect and sweep your chimney; however, would you be receiving the highest level of service possible? To put it simply, NO! When you hire someone who’s certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), however, you can rest assured that the company you’re hiring can handle the scope of the work that’s necessary to keep your home safe and your fires burning.

ON THE SURFACE: CSIA CERTIFICATION

CSIA-certified sweeps are held to higher standards in terms of both performance and professional decorum than those who aren’t certified. These higher standards include:

  • Learning about and utilizing the chimney and venting safety practices and techniques recommended by the CSIA.
  • Complying with applicable building codes, manufacturer’s installation instructions, and recognized venting and chimney practices.
  • Educating consumers about chimney and venting safety procedures.
  • Striving to keep skills, knowledge, and technique—with regard to current safety practices for the chimney and venting of the fireplace—updated.
  • Dealing honestly and fairly with customers and refraining from engaging in any deceptive or unfair practices.
  • Behaving in a respectful, decent, and professional manner while serving as a chimney sweep.

The CSIA recommends taking a cautious approach with regard to selecting a sweep. To ensure your job is done right the first time, you’ll more than likely want to ask some or all of the following questions of all prospective chimney sweeps (you may even come up with a few questions of your own):

  1. How long has your company been in business?
  2. Do you offer current references?
  3. Do you have any unresolved complaints filed with the city or state consumer protection agency or BBB?
  4. Do you carry a valid business liability insurance policy to protect my home and furnishings against accidents?
  5. Do you ensure that a CSIA Certified chimney sweep will be on the job site?

Asking these questions increases the likelihood of you selecting a professional who will clean and maintain your chimney system correctly.

GOING DEEPER: CSIA CERTIFICATION

The CSIA is one of the only nationally recognized certification organizations specifically for chimney sweeps and chimney inspectors. They’ve created mandatory classroom training and established standardized testing requirements to ensure sweeps that earn their certification are fully qualified to handle the job. Prospective CSIA-certified sweeps must:

  • Complete a 1-week online review course covering chimney sweeping, inspection and documenting basics.
  • Pass a timed 100 question exam based on the 2006 International Residential Codebook with a score of 80% or higher.
  • Pass a timed 100 question exam based on the Successful Chimney Sweeping 2009 trade book and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 2010 codebook with a score of 70% or higher.

What’s more, the CSIA has certain requirements and a code of ethics by which their certified sweeps must abide in order to remain certified. Certified sweeps must also recertify annually and participate in continuing education courses.

The CSIA recommends that homeowners with fireplaces take care in choosing who will perform their annual chimney or vent inspection because professional service can mean the difference between a safe home and an unsafe home. Remember: not all chimney sweeps are created equally. With Old Smokey’s Fireplace and Chimney, you can be confident that you’re receiving the best in chimney care from experienced and educated technicians. When it comes to fireplace safety, real peace of mind comes from knowing that your system is in the hands of a CSIA-certified chimney sweep. Contact us at your earliest convenience to schedule your next chimney service appointment.

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