Your chimney should be cleaned and inspected once a year. We highly recommend you use a Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certified chimney sweep.
Benefits of Hiring a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep
CSIA has worked for over 30 years to prevent chimney fires and other home heating disasters by providing expert-led education and training to industry professionals. For your safety, it’s best to use a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep®.
This professional will…
- Check your stove to make sure it’s installed correctly and working efficiently.
- Inspect for possible fire hazards around your stove and non-combustible clearances.
- Clean and inspect your chimney and inspect the chimney cap.
In addition, a CSIA certified chimney sweep will point out any issues with the current installation of your wood stove or other potentially dangerous situations.
Dangers of Not Using a Certified Chimney Sweep
The education and training of a CSIA certified professional means more safety for you.
In this recent photo, a non-certified chimney sweep cleaned this chimney, but didn’t mention that the vent pipes were installed incorrectly. (Vent pipes are required to have a ¼ inch incline per foot of the exhaust pipe.) This cleaner took apart the elbow and simply replaced all the pieces as they were found.
This is a natural gas stove. First, natural gas usually burns clean, which wouldn’t require the chimney to be cleaned. Second, it also vents carbon monoxide, which could leak into the house if it’s not vented correctly. A carbon monoxide leak is dangerous and can make people very sick.
In this case 3 things went wrong:
- A chimney was cleaned that didn’t need to be.
- An improperly installed natural gas stove vent pipe was taken apart and put back together in the same way it was found without addressing the issue.
- The clearance from the vent pipe to the beautiful wood mantel is less than an inch. The current guidelines require 18 inches! Another issue that was not addressed by this non-certified chimney cleaner.
Both wood stoves and natural gas stoves can be hazardous if they’re not installed and maintained properly. Most contractors will install a stove correctly, but in this case the contractor did it incorrectly, the chimney cleaner replaced it incorrectly, and it wasn’t until the insurance agent saw it and said, “We have a problem!” that something was done.
If you want to make sure your natural gas or wood stove meets installation guidelines, have a CSIA certified professional inspect it!
Have Your Natural Gas Stoves Inspected, too!
Natural gas stoves use a clean fuel and the chimney doesn’t need to be cleaned annually like a wood stove. However, a CSIA certified chimney sweep can come and inspect your stove to make sure it is installed properly and working efficiently. Especially if you’ve taken the Do-It-Yourself approach, get your work checked with an inspection from a certified professional.
Find a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep Near You
You can quickly find CSIA certified chimney sweeps on the CSIA website by searching your zip code. There are quite a few professionals up in Harrisonburg who come through the Lexington, VA area regularly. There are also some over in Lynchburg and Roanoke, VA who will make the trip.
To make sure you’ll get a certified professional, ask these questions before you let someone service your home.
Fall is a very busy time of year for chimney sweeps. People usually wait until the last minute to have their chimney cleaned and inspected. This year I’m guilty of it too. Next year, I plan to schedule my chimney cleaning in April at the end of the burning season.
Your safety is important! Hire a CSIA certified chimney sweep to get the job done right.