The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) has spent the last 30 years preventing chimney fires and keeping consumers safe by setting best practices in the chimney sweeping and inspection industry. When you hire a chimney sweep for routine maintenance or for an inspection, it’s vital that you choose a company with CSIA-certified chimney technicians. Here’s what you should know.
Be Careful about the Word “Certified”
Just because a chimney company uses the word “certified” in its advertisements, that doesn’t mean they are certified by the CSIA. In fact, the CSIA themselves acknowledges that there are many different companies out there that say they are certified, even when these so-called “certifications” come from little-known groups that may require nothing but a small payment from the company in order to provide those credentials. In other words, when a company says their technicians are certified, you should never assume that certification came directly from the CSIA. Always check the CSIA website’s handy reference tool to be certain.
What the CSIA Requires for Certification
While there are some little-known entities out there that effectively sell virtually meaningless certifications for the purpose of making a company seem more professional and knowledgeable, only the CSIA sets strict requirements for its certified chimney sweeps. These individuals must be able to prove they have been properly trained, and they must also take a rigorous examination that proves their knowledge of the chimney industry, fire codes, and much, much more. When it comes to keeping your home and your family safe, the more knowledge the chimney sweep has, the better.
Why Is the CSIA the Best Certifying Organization?
The CSIA is a not-for-profit organization that is led by volunteers who are some of the most knowledgeable professionals and experts in the industry. They opened their doors in 1983 with one goal in mind – protecting consumers by setting standards for chimney cleaning, repair, and inspections. Aside from the rigorous examination, the CSIA also requires those who hold certification to abide by a very strict code of ethics and failing to do so could lead to the loss of the credential. Above all else, while some certifying bodies exist to make money, the CSIA exists with the goal of eliminating chimney fires, carbon monoxide poisoning, and other health hazards from homes across the country.
Finally, all CSIA-certified chimney sweeps are required to recertify every three years through a process known as continuing education. Fire codes change all the time, as do the industry standards for chimney cleaning and inspection. The CSIA does not (and will never) provide a one-time lifetime certification. In order to keep up with their mission of keeping the public safe, they require chimney sweeps to stay up-to-date with the latest information and prove their knowledge in order to recertify.
In a nutshell, when you hire a company to clean and inspect your chimney, it is important to make sure that the technicians are not only certified, but specifically certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America. They are the only certifying body with a reputation for excellence and national recognition.