What is a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep and What Does that Mean?

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CSIA is the acronym for Chimney Safety Institute of America; the only chimney sweep certification that is that is nationally recognized as a sign of a qualified chimney service provider. The CSIA is, according to their website, committed to the elimination of residential chimney fires, carbon monoxide intrusion and other chimney-related hazards that result in the loss of lives and property. They strive to educate both professional chimney sweeps and the general public about the prevention and correction of chimney and venting system hazards.

A professional chimney sweep must pass a series of examinations to receive their initial CSIA certification. They must then recertify every year to maintain good standing. An annual fee is also required for sweeps who wish to maintain their good standing with the CSIA and reap the benefits of membership. Membership with the CSIA is potentially very profitable for sweeps who really know their business well. Sweeps throughout the United States report referral income from the institute as high as $20,000 per year.

Anyone can display the CSIA logo, so what’s to keep average homeowners from being taken advantage of by those pretending to be certified? The institute itself puts in more than 500 staff hours per year taking care of trademark violations. They require that uncertified sweeps remove their logo from their website and marketing information or face legal action.

Other Important Certifications that a Chimney Sweep May Pursue

F.I.R.E. Certified Inspector – The Fireplace Investigation Research and Education Service offers certification and continuing education for chimney sweeps, contractors, inspectors, engineers, investigators, adjusters or any other professional looking for more accurate information according to their website. This is not required of all chimney sweeps.

Master Hearth Professional – The National Fireplace Institute offers three specific certifications for people who work with hearth products. They are: NFI Gas Specialist, NFI Woodburning Specialist, and NFI Pellet Specialist. An individual who successfully gains all three certifications is known as a Master Hearth Professional according to the NFI website. This is not required of all chimney sweeps.

IAFCI Certified – The International Association of Financial Crimes Investigation certification is a very prestigious certification that requires extensive continuing education. The efforts of those who do obtain this certification are appreciated by others who fight fraud and other types of financial crime. IAFCI Certification demonstrates advancement of job knowledge and skills, provides a basis for trusting an investigator’s work, and provides a model for others to follow according to the AIFCI website. This is not required of all chimney sweeps.

C-DET Certified Dryer Exhaust Technician – This is a certification received from the CSIA for dryer vent cleaning and inspection. This is not required of all chimney sweeps.

Pennsylvania Home Improvement Contractor License – This is the license required for any contractor to legally work in the state of Pennsylvania. My license number is 057475 if you would like to check my credentials before you hire me for work on your chimney, fireplace, wood burning stove, or dryer vent cleaning.

I fully believe that continued education is one of the many things that sets Lou Curley’s Chimney Service apart from other chimney sweeps in Philadelphia. I always strive to provide top quality service and equip homeowners with important information that will improve their homeownership experience by teaching them how to protect their investment through regular inspections and cleanings. Call me any time to schedule a consultation, inspection, or cleaning at 610-626-2439.

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