Would 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 as well.
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? Once again, that’s a resounding 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 is thoroughly familiar with the scope of the work that needs to be done to keep your home safe and your fires roaring.
Getting Started with the Selection Process
CSIA certified sweeps are held to a higher standard in terms of both performance and professional decorum than those who are not certified. These higher standards are:
- 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 chimney 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):
- How long has your company been in business?
- Do you offer current references?
- Do you have any unresolved complaints filed with the city or state consumer protection agency or BBB?
- Do you carry a valid business liability insurance policy to protect my home and furnishings against accidents?
- 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.
What is the CSIA anyway?
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  trade book and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)  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 chimney sweeps must abide in order to remain certified. Certified chimney 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 Fluesbrothers Chimney Service, 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. Give us a call today to schedule your next chimney service appointment.