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Who Are You Calling To Sweep Your Chimney?

With fall in full swing, days getting shorter, and temperatures dropping, many homeowners are scrambling to have their chimney’s swept before winter arrives. However, it can be difficult to tell the good from the bad when it comes to chimney sweeps. Instead of price shopping or hiring the first person that comes to your door, make sure to trust your chimney system to a certified professional this year.

Are all chimney sweeps certified?

The mark of a CSIA certified chimney technician

The fireplace industry was unregulated for many years; this allowed anyone with a few brushes to call themselves a chimney sweep. Unfortunately, many of these “professionals” were untrained, seasonal workers who did nothing more than move soot and ash around and leave behind dirty fireboxes and floors.

For more than 30 years, the Chimney Safety Institute of America, or CSIA, has worked to regulate the fireplace industry by certifying chimney sweeps. Their education and training to industry professionals helps to prevent chimney fires and increase public awareness of safety issues surrounding fireplaces and chimneys.

Why hire a CSIA certified chimney sweep

The CSIA certification is the gold standard of education and training in the fireplace industry. CSIA certified sweeps have undergone years of rigorous education and testing on subjects including:

– Safety practices
– Fireplace and chimney building dynamics
– Local and national fire and building codes
– Maintenance and installation of gas heating appliances
– Current EPA emissions standards

In order to maintain their CSIA certifications, sweeps must complete continuing education courses and retest every three years. This ensures that CSIA certified sweeps are always up to date on the latest advancements in the fireplace industry.

Finding the right chimney sweep

While homeowners should do their research before hiring a chimney sweep, price shopping will find you savings – but rarely the best chimney services. Instead, look for a company with CSIA certified chimney sweeps, several years of experience, and a good professional reputation. The following are some examples of questions to ask before hiring a chimney sweep.

– How long have you been in business in this area?
– Do you have references available from current customers?
– Does the company or individual chimney sweep carry liability insurance?
– What is your rating with the Better Business Bureau? Are there any complaints filed against you currently?
– Will the chimney sweep who works at my home be CSIA certified?

Working with a professional chimney sweep makes a difference!

Chimney sweeps have come a long way since the days of Bert and the singing sweeps from Mary Poppins! Modern chimney sweeps are educated, certified, and trained professionals who can do much more than simply clean your flue.

Jack Pixley Sweeps are proud that all of our sweeps are CSIA certified; this gives our customers confidence knowing they are working with knowledgeable, reliable professionals. For more information on the importance of working with a certified chimney sweep or to schedule your next appointment, contact Jack Pixley Sweeps today!

Differences In Minnesota Contractor Credentials

When preparing to have construction done on your home – including chimney repairs – the kind of contractor you hire can have an impact on the quality and reliability of the work. In the state of Minnesota, contractors may have either a Contractor Registration or a Contractor’s License. While the two credentials may seem similar, there are several significant differences between them. Homeowners should understand the difference between the two. Also, they should know how to look up a contractor’s credentials, before hiring someone to work on their home.

What is the Difference between Contractor Registration versus Contractor License

 

Only have accredited contractors work on your home, including repairs to your chimney and fireplace. In Minnesota, some contractors have a Contractor Registration. This is not an actual license. It only means that the contractor is registered with the state as a contractor. People with this designation do not need to pass any tests or other certification standards and may not carry insurance. Because of this, we recommend clients look for contractors with a Residential Contractor’s License in the state of Minnesota.

A Residential Contractor’s License is a credential that must be earned through a testing and background check process. In addition, contractors need to reapply for the license every two years. To earn a Residential Contractor’s license, the qualifying person must submit proof of insurance to the state, including the ability to provide workman’s comp and liability, as well as submit to a criminal background check. A rigorous exam must also be passed, testing the contractor’s knowledge of building dynamics, codes, safety standards, and more. In order to maintain this license, contractors must take continuing education courses as well as retest every two years; this ensures that licensed contractors are up to date on the latest industry standards.

Why choose a licensed contractor

While a licensed contractor may seem like a given when building or remodeling your home, most don’t consider it an important trait when dealing with a fireplace or chimney. However, hiring someone who is both a certified chimney sweep and a licensed contractor ensures your fireplace system is in expert hands.

When looking for a licensed contractor, homeowners can use the Department of Labor and Industry website to search for licensed professionals. Homeowners can use the search tool to find unique disciplines and classifications as well. It is able to verify the credentials of the contractors before hiring them as well.

At Jack Pixley Sweeps, we are proud to have both Chimney Safety Institute of America as well as a Minnesota Contractor’s License. We are happy to have our customers verifying our License Number #BC183369; having both CSIA certifications and contractor’s licenses allows us to provide our customers with the highest quality service possible. For more information about Jack Pixley Sweeps, our services, or why licenses matters, contact us today.

Why the Cheapest Chimney Company Might Not Be the Best

Most consumers like to shop around to ensure that they are getting the best price. For many, this same mentality applies when looking for a chimney sweep. When choosing a chimney sweep company, however, the least expensive company might not be the best choice.

While it may be tempting to go with the company who offers the cheapest quotes and services, there are a number of factors that homeowners should consider before choosing a company to clean, maintain, and repair their chimney or fireplace.

Why choose a certified chimney sweep?

CSIA Certified - St Paul MN - Jack Pixley SweepsAlthough sweeping a chimney may seem like a relatively simple job, it is important to ensure that you are working with a CSIA, or Chimney Safety Institute of America, certified sweep. Hiring a CSIA certified chimney sweep guarantees that you are working with a highly trained and competent professional who is up to date on and comfortable using the most advanced techniques and technology in the industry. All of the technicians from Jack Pixley Sweeps are members of the National Chimney Sweep Guild and certified by the CSIA.

While there are competent companies without their CSIA or NCSG certifications, this may indicate that a chimney sweep is not fully trained or knowledgeable enough to successfully and accurately clean and assess the condition of your chimney or fireplace. Likewise, those with their CSIA certification are held to higher standards both in terms of professionalism and level of knowledge.

Chimney sweeps should do much more than just remove creosote residue and debris during an annual cleaning. Certified sweeps perform a number of additional duties during their inspections, including inspecting the inside and outside of the fireplace system for signs of deterioration, making sure there is no potential risk of carbon monoxide exposure, and even evaluating fireplace and chimney efficiency. A less expensive or less knowledgeable company may leave out these necessary services in an effort to save themselves time and money.

Choosing the right company

In an area where there are multiple chimney sweep companies to choose from, it is important that homeowners make educated and informed decisions about who they trust with the care and upkeep of their fireplace systems. To help homeowners in their decision making process, the CSIA has provided a list of questions to ask prospective chimney sweep companies.

How long has your company been in business?

  • Can you offer current references?
  • Does your company have unresolved complaints filed with the city, state, or Better Business Bureau?
  • Do you have business liability insurance to protect against accidents?
  • Will a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep will be on the job site?

While it may seem like an excellent way to save a few dollars, going with the cheapest chimney sweep company may lead to future problems. Incorrectly cleaned and maintained fireplaces and chimneys could lead to costly repairs as well as pose a potential safety and health hazard. With an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and countless reviews from satisfied customers, you can trust Jack Pixley Sweeps to get the job done right – the first time.