So, are you a chimney sweep in training and wonder how to obtain the CSIA certification? You’re right where the answers are!
For all things relating to chimneys, chimney sweeps and services are considered the go-to guys.
However, a tricky situation arises where the homeowner is unable to tell the difference between a certified chimney sweep and just anyone falsely claiming to be qualified.
This is where the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certification comes to the fore. Clients or homeowners need to be assured they’re hiring a professional for their chimney service needs.
No one wants to hire a chimney sweep that isn’t certified.
As such, the Chimney Safety Institute of America certification came up as a timely response to such need.
Not All Chimney Sweeps Are certified
Due to the not-so-stringent regulations governing chimney sweep activities, you’re likely to find that quite many chimney sweeps aren’t certified.
This creates a problem as many homeowners trust that a so-called chimney sweep or technician should be able to handle all chimney-related issues.
However, this isn’t the case as homeowners may end up with an unsatisfactory job. Uncertified chimney sweeps will end up getting paid for shabbily-done jobs. In such cases, the client is left disappointed.
Plus, there are increased risks as creosotes (which haven’t been properly cleaned) could ignite or light up, thus causing a chimney fire.
CSIA Certification; the Gold Standard
When it comes to chimney sweep validation, the Chimney Safety Institute of America certification stands as the gold. So, as a homeowner in need of chimney services, it’s important to be on the lookout for proof of CSIA certification.
This action saves you from a lot of unnecessary problems that could arise.
For a chimney sweep to have obtained CSIA certification, they must have gone through extensive education and training. Of course, obtaining CSIA certification also includes passing multiple tests.
Certification is only obtained after completing studies and tests in areas such as local and national building and fire codes as well as fireplace and chimney safety practices.
Other areas of study include current EPA standards for stoves, fireplaces, and inserts.
Studies in fireplace and chimney building dynamics will also need to be completed. That isn’t all! You’ll need to complete installation and maintenance practices for stoves, fireplaces, and inserts.
All these lead to the award of the CSIA certification which is considered the gold standard in the chimney safety industry.
Obtaining CSIA Certification Isn’t Enough
CSIA certification for chimney sweeps is an acknowledgment of their capability to take on chimney maintenance services. However, this isn’t where it ends.
As a chimney sweep, you’ll need to stay updated with current industry practices.
In other words, you must be conversant with current safety and innovative developments as well as best practices.
This is why CSIA certification needs to be renewed every 3 years. Renewal involves retesting your knowledge about current trends and safety methods.
Homeowners Have A Role to Play
As a homeowner, there’s one way of ensuring that you get only the best chimney maintenance service. This involves finding out more about your chimney sweep.
It’s important to ask chimney services or technicians pressing questions to know who you’re involved with.
Of course, such pressing questions must be chimney-related. So, basic areas to cover include industry experience.
Here, you want to know how long such a company or service has been in business. Also, what’s the company’s liability insurance policy like?
What’s the assurance that your chimney cleaning task won’t be outsourced to third-party individuals? Plus, will a chimney service send a CSIA certified chimney sweep to your home?
These are key areas that must be resolved before hiring a chimney sweep.
Costing Vs Safety
A lot of times, clients or homeowners make a huge mistake by focusing more on low-cost chimney cleaning services than paying attention to safety needs.
To such clients, gravitating towards a low-cost chimney service is worth the try.
In reality, experience has shown that companies without CSIA-certified chimney sweep charge less simply to attract clients. The danger of giving your chimney maintenance tasks to an uncertified technician is that the job won’t be satisfactorily carried out.
So, is that a risk worth taking? You answer the question.
However, the truth remains that being preoccupied with incurring lesser chimney service costs over safety is the wrong approach to take.
Becoming A CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep
If you’re thinking of starting a career as a chimney sweep, there are basically two routes leading to the same objective. The first involves working towards this role while the other has to do with taking on specialist courses offered by professional bodies.
As the saying goes; there are different strokes for different folks! So, which route best serves your needs? Wait till we briefly discuss what each of these options entails.
The Work Route
Candidates interested in taking the work route will need to work with an experienced and certified chimney sweep. Here, you’ll be working as an assistant and learning on-the-job.
A basic part of this training involves taking or completing a level 2 diploma in chimney engineering or level a 2 certificate in chimney sweeping.
Taking a Training Course
This is quite different compared to the first. Here, aspiring chimney sweeps will need to enroll in and take training courses with an appropriate professional body.
Obtaining CSIA Certification
As a future chimney sweep, you want to move a notch higher by obtaining the necessary certification.
The CSIA has a national training academy that provides all the training needed for certification. This is an intensive and short (6 days) training program designed for both individuals and chimney service employees.
Some of the topics covered under training include inspection and sweeping of different chimney systems, operation of equipment, health and safety training as well as standards, codes, clearances, and practices of the trade. Last but not least is preparation for certification exams.
CSIA certification is the standard and norm for all chimney sweeps.
This helps facilitate the acquisition of critical skills necessary. For homeowners, a CSIA certified chimney sweep gives an added layer of confidence that their chimney issues will be well handled.