What to Look for When Hiring a Chimney Sweep (and Where to Find One)
Let’s face it: Chimney sweeps aren’t exactly walking around the streets with brooms like Dick Van Dyke did in Mary Poppins. So, how do you find a good chimney sweep? What do you look for? And where do you even look?
We’re covering all your questions around chimney sweeps, where to find one, and more right here. Let’s dive in.
What to Look for When Hiring a Chimney Sweep
The chimney and venting industry itself is not nationally regulated, and chimney sweeps aren’t required to hold a state license in most states which means anyone can call themselves a chimney sweep.
So, when looking for a chimney sweep, it is important to verify that the chimney sweep you’re considering hiring is trained, knowledgeable and bound by a code of ethics – otherwise how do you know if what they’re doing and telling you needs to be done is really what’s best for your home?
ABC News: How to Keep Your Chimney Safe
Here are some things to ask for when vetting different chimney sweeps:
- Can they provide references?
- Does the company or individual carry a valid business liability insurance policy to protect your home and furnishings against accidents?
- Does the company have good reviews on trusted websites?
A little research goes a long way! Of course, there’s one shortcut to finding out if the company you’re vetting is worth a call: Ask if they’re CSIA- certified, and if they guarantee that a CSIA-Certified Chimney Sweep® will be on the job site.
Why Should You Look for the CSIA- Certified Badge?
Why does CSIA certification matter so much and how can it help speed up the vetting process when you need to hire a chimney and venting professional?
Because you’re inviting someone into your home to do work on your chimney, woodstove, or fireplace, which means they’ll be working with appliances and systems that have the potential to cause a fire or expose your family to carbon monoxide.
How do you know if the company you’re inviting into your home is the right one for the job? How do you know you’re getting someone knowledgeable and experienced? Someone you can trust to do the work with your safety and comfort in mind? Someone who will follow local codes and safety standards? Someone who will do the work right the first time around? Look for the CSIA-Certified badge.
If you look for a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep®, a lot of the vetting work is done for you, by us, the CSIA. We’re a non-profit organization governed by a volunteer board of directors who also happen to be fire safety experts and chimney and venting experts.
Our #1 goal is to ensure every family enjoys a safe, warm home, and we work towards that shared vision by educating homeowners on the dangers of chimney fires and training sweeps to offer the very best service. We’ve been training chimney sweeps as the industry leader in chimney and venting education since 1983.
Yup, we’ve been holding sweeps to higher standards and protecting homeowners since Paula Abdul was wearing stirrup pants. That’s a long time.
CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps®:
- Pass rigorous testing proving their knowledge and understanding of chimney and venting systems, codes and standards, and safety practices.
- Agree to abide by the CSIA Code of Ethics, which means they’ll be honest, fair, respectful, and professional in their interactions with all their customers.
- Never stop learning and have to invest in ongoing education in order to maintain and renew their certification.
- Hold themselves to higher standards in terms of the service they offer and how they do the work.
When you hire a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep®, you know you’re putting your home and family in capable, qualified hands. And when it comes to receiving proper care and maintenance for your chimneys, woodstoves, and fireplaces – services that could protect you from unnecessary fires and carbon monoxide poisonings, plus save you thousands of dollars over time – isn’t that what you need and deserve?
Bottom line: If you want total peace of mind and a faster, easier way of vetting a chimney sweep, look for the CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep® badge.
Where Do You Find a Chimney Sweep?
When you need someone to inspect, clean, or repair your chimney and fireplace, you could hit up all the usual spots:
- Angie’s List
But we made the search even easier for you – just enter your zip code right here and we’ll show you a list of companies with CSIA-Certified Sweeps in your area.
With this search tool, you’ll skip the work and start with a smaller list – a list of qualified, trained experts with the same high standards you have.
Within seconds, you’ll know:
- How long they’ve been in business
- How many CSIA-Certified Chimney Sweeps® they have on staff
- Where they’re located and what areas they serve
- What services they offer
- What their website URL, phone number, and email are, so you can do some more research or go ahead and schedule an appointment
- A little more info about the business
Plus, you can click to have the companies you’re interested in contact you, so you can move on to the next thing on your to-do list.
Finally, something easy.
What If the Certification Is Through Someone Other Than the CSIA?
Okay, so the companies you’re considering use the word ‘certified’ on their website or in their business name, but they’re not CSIA-certified. How do you know if the certification really means anything? You’ll have to do a little research to answer the following questions:
- Is the word ‘certified’ just part of the business name or is it an earned designation?
- If it’s an earned designation, is the certifying body a ‘for-profit’ business or a ‘non-profit’ run by a board of directors? ‘For-profit’ certification bodies may offer the certification for a fee, without actually requiring anyone from the company to pass any exam or prove any qualifications or expertise.
- How is the certification renewed? Are individuals required to maintain and renew their certification through continuing education as the industry evolves, or is it earned through a one-time exam?
- Is the certifying body well-established or are they new to the scene? If they are new to the scene, are their requirements for certification more or less stringent than those of more established entities?
- Is the mission statement of the certifying body focused on educating and protecting homeowners or is it more focused on making it easier for people to earn certification and make a profit?
- Does holding the certification require adherence to a code of ethics? If so, can the certification be revoked if the individual violates that code of ethics?
When you know more about the certification and what it actually says about the person that’s earned and maintained it, you’ll be better able to decide if it’s just a word used to create a sense of authority and trust or a real reason to hire the company and allow them into your home.