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Not all chimney maintenance is created equal; the company and chimney sweep you choose to work with can have a major impact on the condition, efficiency, and safety of your fireplace system. However, many homeowners are left wondering how to tell the difference between a good and not-so-great chimney sweep. One way to tell the difference between someone moonlighting as a chimney sweep and a true fireplace professional is a CSIA certification.

What is a CSIA certification?

The Chimney Safety Institute of America, or CSIA, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to chimney and fireplace education and safety. One of the primary ways the CSIA accomplishes this goal is through professional training and certification. The training and testing required to earn a CSIA certification is widely considered the industry’s gold standard.

In order to earn their certification, chimney sweeps must past a comprehensive test with subjects such as

  • Up-to-date chimney and fireplace safety practices
  • Chimney and fireplace building dynamics for a wide range of heating appliances
  • Building and fire codes
  • Installation and maintenance of other heating appliances including manufactured fireplaces, fireplace inserts, and stoves
  • Current EPA standards for fireplaces, stoves, and other heating appliances

In addition, CSIA certified chimney sweeps must retest every three years in order to maintain their certification. This ensures that CSIA certified sweeps are always up to date on the current advancements in safety and technology in the industry.

Why being certified matters

With few regulations in the chimney industry, it can be difficult to tell the guys with a few brooms and a truck apart from the true professionals. Working with a CSIA certified chimney sweep ensures that you are having a highly trained and education professional clean your chimney; this leaves you with the peace of mind that your chimney system is clean, in good condition, and ready to burn safely and efficiently throughout the season. In addition, CSIA certified chimney sweeps are held to a professional code of ethics, and their certification can be revoked if the code of ethics is violated.

Choosing the right chimney sweep

When choosing a chimney sweep company to work with, it is important to ask about their background and certifications before hiring them. The following questions can help you find out if a chimney sweep is right for you.

  • Will the chimney sweep who works on my home be CSIA certified?
  • How long have you been in business in this area?
  • Can you provide references from current customers?
  • What is your rating with the Better Business Bureau?
  • Does the company or chimney sweep carry liability insurance?

Working with a CSIA certified chimney sweep is an important part of your chimney’s maintenance. By having your fireplace system regularly cleaned, swept, and inspected by a certified chimney sweep you can safely enjoy it for years to come. If you are looking for chimney services in the greater metro Baltimore area, contact the certified sweeps at ChimneyTEK today to schedule your next chimney appointment!

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