When it’s time to have the chimney swept, many homeowners choose to go with the least expensive company they can find. While this may save you a little bit of money in the short term, it may end up costing you more in the long run. Although a less expensive chimney sweep company can save you a few bucks, they may lack the knowledge, education, training, or expertise to correctly sweep or inspect your chimney system.
Instead of going with the least expensive chimney sweep – or the first one listed in the phone book – make sure to hire a chimney sweep with a CSIA certification. By hiring a CSIA certified chimney sweep, you can rest assured that you are working with a highly trained professional who understands that ins and outs of chimney maintenance and repair.
What is a CSIA certification?
The Chimney Safety Institute of America, or CSIA, was founded in 1983 as a non-profit organization with the mission “to advance public awareness while educating and certifying industry professionals”. Part of this mission included the creation of the CSIA certification. This professional designation for chimney sweeps represents the highest standards in the industry; chimney sweeps who have earned this certification have had to undergo a rigorous education, training, and testing process on many different topics in the chimney and fireplace industry. CSIA certified chimney sweeps are tested on information such as:
- Current fireplace and chimney safety practices
- Wide range of knowledge of fireplace and chimney building dynamics
- Local building and fire codes
- Maintenance and installation of heating appliances such as inserts and stoves
- EPA standards for fireplaces, stoves, and other heating appliances
Why is the importance of a CSIA certification?
Because the fireplace industry lacks many formal regulations, anyone with a chimney brush and a truck can call themselves a chimney sweep. However, uncertified chimney sweeps often end up doing more harm than good, doing little more than pushing the soot out of the chimney and into your home.
A certified chimney sweep can do much more than just remove the soot and creosote from your flue; because of their extensive education and training, they are often able to identify minor problems before they turn into major issues. This not only makes your fireplace and chimney safer to use, but can also save you money on costly future repairs.
How to find the right chimney sweep
Finding the right CSIA certified chimney sweep is about much more than a quick Google search or leafing through the phone book. Before hiring a chimney sweep, consider asking the following questions:
- How long has the chimney sweeping company been in business?
- Does the company offer current references?
- Does the company have unresolved complaints filed within the city or state consumer protection agency or Better Business Bureau?
- Does the company or individual carry a valid business liability insurance policy to protect your home and furnishings against accidents?
- Does the company ensure that a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep will be on the job site?
If you live in the Seattle area, trust the CSIA certified chimney sweeps at Pristine Sweeps to care for your chimney and fireplace system. Contact us today to schedule your next chimney services!