When you hear the term “certified chimney sweep,” it’s usually in reference to a person who carries a professional certification through the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA). Certification is important when you’re hiring a person to clean your chimney because it validates their knowledge and training in a variety of areas including:
- Heating appliance ventilation systems
- Chimney fire prevention
- Creosote removal
- Carbon monoxide issues
- Fireplace safety
- General safety and maintenance of chimneys and fireplaces
CSIA certifications aren’t just given away. In order to become CSIA-certified, an individual must undergo a multi-faceted training process culminating with the passing of very complex examinations.
The certified chimney sweep is similar to a licensed doctor: the average person understands a fair amount about the body, but only a qualified physician can diagnose and treat illnesses and injuries.
Certified chimney sweeps have learned to diagnose and treat the many damages and malfunctions that can happen during the life of a chimney. They’ve proven their expertise, which is the only way they can carry the CSIA certification.
What is the Chimney Safety Institute of America?
The CSIA was founded in 1983 as a nonprofit organization dedicated to the education and professional credentialing of those working in the hearth services industry. It is run and managed by a board of directors whose members possess extensive industry knowledge, both academic and hands-on.
Since its inception, it has been the recognized leader in chimney service and venting education. Credentials that can be earned through the CSIA include CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep, CSIA Certified Dryer Exhaust Technician, and CSIA Master Chimney Sweep.
To maintain any of these credentials, the chimney professional must continue his or her education and pass rigorous recertification exams every three years.
What do chimney sweeps do?
Professional chimney sweeps perform many services, the primary of which is chimney cleaning. This work involves the use of hand-held and electric scrubbers and brushes, cleaning rods, specialized solvents and industry-grade vacuums to remove flammable creosote and drafting obstructions from chimneys.
Often, certified chimney sweeps perform fireplace and chimney inspections and handle the various repair and rebuilding work a chimney may need during its lifetime.
Hiring a chimney sweep
When looking to hire someone to clean your chimney, perform a safety inspection or make repairs, follow these guidelines.
- Ensure that a CSIA-certified chimney sweep will be present at every job.
- Check the company’s credentials including how long they’ve been in business and their reputation within the community.
- Look at the company’s website and see how they describe their work and the scope of their services.
- Request and view proof of liability insurance and worker’s compensation insurance.
- Ask about their warranties covering both their work and parts they use in repairing your chimney or fireplace.
- Request references from local customers and follow up on these references.
Your chimney is too important to trust to an individual who is not thoroughly trained to work on it. Errors during chimney cleaning, inspections and repairs can lead to major issues down the line including risks to the safety of everyone living in your home and the home itself.
Northeastern Chimney of West Hartford, CT, employs CSIA-certified chimney sweeps who provide expert chimney cleaning, masonry, structural and chimney component repair, and all three CSIA-recognized levels of chimney inspections. Call (860) 233-5770 with questions or to schedule an appointment.