Need chimney care? Or perhaps you’re thinking ahead to the summer months when you’ll want to schedule your annual inspection. Regardless, hiring a team that’s honest, reliable, and that puts your needs first is a must!
Why? Well, for one thing, there are unfortunately sweeps in the industry that aim to take advantage. They prey on homeowner’s lack of chimney knowledge, using it to inflate prices and encourage services that the homeowner doesn’t actually need.
Another issue is that some sweeps will do anything they can to cut corners or skimp on care. In the end, you won’t get what you’re paying for, and you could find yourself facing some big risks – like house fires or exposure to harmful gases – if repairs weren’t done correctly or a sweeping wasn’t thorough enough.
We encourage homeowners to do their research and look for qualities that indicate your sweep will give you the highest level of care possible. Things like many years of experience, plenty of positive reviews (as well as good resolutions to negative reviews), and whether or not they’re insured can say a lot about their values and how your experience will go.
But if there’s one thing we really want to emphasize, it’s the importance of a Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certification.
What Is the CSIA?
The CSIA is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1983 with the goal of keeping sweeps educated and knowledgeable about all things fireplace and chimney. It is run by a board of volunteers, all of whom are industry experts, and it’s thanks to their dedication and hard work that families can feel safer and more confident hiring qualified sweeps for all of their chimney-related needs.
Public education and community involvement is also important to the CSIA. Certified sweeps must promise to keep consumers informed on the safest fireplace practices, and the CSIA itself is known for participating in local activities like free trainings for fire departments, visits to schools, and community safety events.
The CSIA also holds memberships with many affiliated trade associations, and it participates in and presents at many national conferences throughout each year.
In the end, they strive for families all throughout the country to be able to enjoy their fireplace with ease and enjoyment season after season. And the only way to do that is by hiring a team you can rely on through it all.
Getting Certified: How It’s Done
How is a CSIA certification obtained? All too often, companies rattle off impressive-sounding credentials, only for their customers to discover that they only had to pay a small fee to obtain these so-called titles. Well, this isn’t the case with the CSIA.
First things first, the sweeps need to buy the required texts, which cost hundreds of dollars and includes information from both the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the International Residential Code (IRC).
Next comes studying and reviewing. The CSIA offers both online and in-person reviews, ensuring sweeps have every opportunity to thoroughly go over the material.
After the review, comes a two-part exam, and once that is passed, all sweeps must sign a strict Code of Ethics, promising to be fair, honest, and professional for as long as they hold the certification. They also promise to do all they can to keep homeowners educated and informed on the best fireplace and chimney practices, ensuring they stay safer throughout every burning season.
…but it doesn’t end there! Once the certification process is complete, it’s good for 3 years, after which the sweep must then renew it. There are a few different ways to do this, but all require the sweep to further their education by either taking more courses or by completing an exam. This guarantee sweeps are always staying sharp and up-to-date on any potential changes or industry news.
Questions To Ask Your Sweep
Wondering what else you should look for in a sweep? Here are some questions you may consider asking before making any final decisions.
- Do you hold a CSIA-certification?
- What other certifications & memberships do you hold?
- Do you have current references or testimonials?
- Are you well-reviewed online?
- Are you licensed and/or insured?
- How long have you been in business?
- Do you have any unresolved complaints with the BBB?
Need Care in Charlotte?
If you need chimney care in Charlotte or any of its surrounding towns or cities, don’t hesitate to reach out to the crew here at Owens Chimney Systems, Inc. Not only are we CSIA-certified, but we’re members of the National Chimney Sweep Guild (NCSG), the North Caroline Chimney Sweep Association (NCCSA), and the South Carolina Chimney Sweep Guild (SCCSG), as well. We do everything we can to stay educated and up-to-date on it all, guaranteeing you the highest level of service possible!
We’ve also got over 30 years of experience in the world of chimneys, and we’re strict about always following industry regulations and codes.
Just ask around or do a quick online search, and you’ll discover that we have countless satisfied customers throughout the area, all of who turn to us year after year for reliable chimney and fireplace care.
Ready to book an appointment? Give us a call or reach out online! We’d love to speak with you soon.