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Fall and winter are the busiest season of the year for fireplace use – and for chimney sweeps. While fireplaces are great for keeping our homes warm and creating a welcoming atmosphere, they need to be maintained to burn safely and efficiently. Before hiring someone to come clean your fireplace, however, it is important to ensure you are working with a CSIA certified professional chimney sweep.

What is a CSIA certification?

The mark of a CSIA certified chimney technician

The mark of a CSIA certified chimney technician

The Chimney Safety Institute of America, or CSIA, is a nonprofit organization founded with the mission of improving public and professional fireplace education. Certifications must be earned through a rigorous training, testing, and certification process. Topics include:

– Local and national building codes
– Basic chimney construction and draft dynamics
– Installation techniques for fireplaces, inserts, and stoves
– Current EPA emissions standards
– Best practices for chimney professionals

CSIA certifications are not for life; sweeps must take continuing education courses as well as pass a re-certification test every three years. This ensures that all CSIA certified sweeps are up to date on the latest technological and safety advancements in the industry.

Why being certified matters

Brushes, tarps, and a truck may help someone look the part of a chimney sweep, but they often lack the education, experience, and expertise to correctly care for your chimney system. There are a number of things that set professional, certified chimney sweeps apart:

– Code of ethics. CSIA certified chimney sweeps sign and follow a strict code of ethics. This protects homeowners as sweeps are held to strict standards; the code of ethics prevents unsavory business practices, and sweeps found in violation can lose their certifications.
– National recognition. CSIA certifications are recognized – and held by – sweeps in all 50 states. The national recognition of the CSIA certification means these sweeps are often quoted in news stories or other publications as experts in the field.
– Reciprocal trade relationships. As a widely recognized professional group, the CSIA maintains reciprocal trade relationships with trade groups such as home inspectors, realtors, and homeowners associations.

Questions to ask your chimney sweep

Before hiring a chimney sweep to work on your home, there are several questions you should ask.

– How long has your company been in business in this area?
– Will the chimney sweep who works on my home be CSIA certified?
– Can you provide references from any current customers?
– Does your company or the individual chimney sweep carry liability insurance?
– Do you have any open complaints with the Better Business Bureau?

Trust a certified chimney sweep!

Since 1977, Jack Pixley Sweeps has been providing quality and trustworthy chimney services to our friends and neighbors in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and beyond. We are proud that all of our chimney sweeps are CSIA certified; we have some of the most knowledgeable sweeps in the industry, allowing our customers to get high quality chimney services. If you are in the Minneapolis area, contact Jack Pixley Sweeps for an appointment with a CSIA certified chimney sweep today!