Not All Chimney Sweep Certifications Are Equal

When it comes to the cleaning and inspection of your wood stove, a certified professional makes all the difference...but not all chimney sweep "certifications" are equal.

So this year, all of my clients who have told us they have a wood stove will be receiving a flyer to remind them to have it cleaned and inspected by a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep®. This is a certification by the Chimney Safety Institute of America.

More than a Chimney Cleaning

What I’ve found in talking with clients over the years is that most of us who heat our homes with wood plan ahead. We know we need to clean the chimney before each heating season. Everybody cleans their chimney one way or the other...and that’s the problem. It’s not just the cleaning. You need to have the flue inspected too. Plus you need to make sure the installation is compliant with current fire safety standards. I cannot stress this enough. It’s the current standards that will keep you safe.

Most people who heat with wood are already safety conscious. So it might seem like I’m preaching to the choir. But if you’re burning with wood, the last thing you need is an unwanted fire. Please have your wood stove inspected by someone who is licensed and certified to inspect a chimney, such as a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep®. This kind of professional has the training and expertise to see the potential safety issues no one else can see.

All Chimney Sweep Certifications are NOT the Same

If you’re one of our clients, please let us know what professional you are using. There are some chimney cleaners who say they’ll inspect your stove, but they’re not licensed or insured for  cleaning and inspection. So they’re really doing you a disservice. I even know of one local contracting company who says they clean and inspect, and that’s what they write on the receipt to you. But they are not certified to inspect. And I have seen the chimney fires to prove it, one of which happened to be at my own house.

Speaking from Experience

When I called a CSIA chimney sweep to clean and inspect my chimney afterward, he told me I had to get a new stainless steel flue installed. Every clay tile was cracked and every mortar joint faulty. And they repaired it with a new stainless steel flue. They also added a clean out at the bottom that wasn’t there before.

There were a number of things that were wrong that the other company had let slide. The certified inspector said, “You’re lucky you didn’t burn down your house”. 

Now I have confidence in the construction, installation and cleaning of my wood stove. More importantly, I have peace of mind. People say it’s expensive to hire this kind of professional. I factor it into my heating costs for the year. I’m still saving money in the long run.

I want to stress, if you’re already heating with wood, you are naturally safety conscious. This is about making the right choice in an inspector. And the right choice is someone who is certified, licensed and insured for chimney cleaning.

Find a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep® near you on the CSIA website.

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