Chimney sweeping is a largely unregulated industry, and as such, it can be hard to know what company to trust. Experience is good, references even better. But you should still be wary of who you hire.
Not only is your chimney one of the largest structures in your home, but it plays a critical role in keeping your home and family safe. That makes a CSIA certified chimney sweep invaluable.
A chimney that doesn’t work properly at the very least can cause damage to your home and at the very worst, can even cause injury, death, or destroy your home.
This is why it’s important to have an independent third-party controlling certification and offering the peace of mind that one organization is measuring each company by the same standards.
Who is this organization, and what gives them the authority to hand out credentials?
The Chimney Safety Institute of America, or CSIA, offers credentials that are recognized as the industry standard. Of course, Chimney Sweeps of America and other legitimate chimney cleaning businesses have been certified by them.
So, let’s break down what it means to be a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep.
Why are CSIA Credentials the Industry Standard?
Since 1983, companies have been seeking the CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep Credential or CCS. That means that for over 30 years, homeowners have been trusting this certification to help them find a qualified chimney sweep.
The CSIA is regulated by a third party, the Indiana State Workforce Innovation Council, Office for Career and Technical Schools, ensuring that it meets the very strict educational standards.
It is also a non-profit organization which gives consumers the peace of mind that they’re not out looking to make a buck and that anyone who wants certification can pay a fee or join an association to receive a fancy seal of approval. In fact, the governing body of the CSIA is made up of volunteer technical experts and industry professionals. This group is as official as they come and they adhere to the rules.
Here’s more about the Chimney Safety Institute of America:
In addition to issuing certifications, the CSIA is also actively involved in advancing the industry and keeping the public safe. They offer both public and professional education on a mission to decrease the occurrence of residential fires, the intrusion of carbon monoxide and any other threats or hazards that an improperly functioning chimney can contribute to.
Further Education Required
As with any industry, the CSIA realizes that the chimney industry is not remaining stagnant. To that end, they have requirements that each chimney sweep must fulfill in order to keep their certification.
Every three years a chimney sweep must either take an examination or provide proof of continuing education credits. In this way, they ensure that all CSIA certified chimney sweeps are up to date on current information and able to provide the best possible service to their customers.
Relationships with Affiliated Trades
Your chimney is one part of your home, but it does not stand on its own, and neither does the industry. Being aware of this, the CSIA is involved with other professionals and groups such as realtors, home inspectors, and even homeowner associations. They maintain these relationships through traditional and social media channels in order to work together in the homeowner’s best interest.
A Sterling Reputation
The CSIA has established itself as the place to go for correct chimney information. Over the years CSIA chimney sweeps have appeared in the mainstream media as well as many regional and local channels.
The public needs to know that this is a trustworthy organization that can help homeowners choose the right chimney sweep to get the job done right and ensure the safety of their home and family.
Becoming a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep
In order to receive certification, each person (not just the company) must pass a thorough examination. In addition, they have to agree to follow a strict ethical code laid out by the CSIA.
This is one of the ways that the CSIA protects homeowners from potential scams and ensures the quality of work as well as service that a CSIA certified technician will provide. If a chimney sweep that has been certified by the CSIA is found to be violating this code, they could have their certification revoked.
A Few Things to Keep in Mind
As a customer, you should always be aware of what you are getting yourself into when you are looking for chimney sweeps.
Be mindful of the fact that unscrupulous individuals will advertise themselves as “certified” even though it’s through an organization that has fewer requirements or lower ethical standards than CSIA. This makes it easier for them to pass the test and have something to hang on the wall.
When checking out chimney sweep companies, find the name of the certifying organization.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that all other certifying organizations are disreputable, or not even that they are not as good. However, the CSIA is the industry standard and having this to go by makes it easier for homeowners to shop around without having to vet each company and certifying agency.
Here at Chimney Sweeps of America, we have CSIA certified chimney sweep professionals on staff and are members of a few prestigious national groups like the National Chimney Sweep Guild (NCSG) and the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA).
We’ve been operating our family-owned and operated business in the greater Denver area for over 30 years, so we have years of experience backing our work. We also keep up with our education and have the right answers to your questions. Whatever the job requires, our sweeps have the right qualifications to make it happen.
Now you that understand why hiring a CSIA certified chimney sweep is important we hope to hear from you the next time you are on the lookout for one. At Chimney Sweeps we are dedicated to offering excellent service and great work. That’s why we’ve been around for so long!