When choosing a chimney sweep to clean your fireplace, a few requirements may cross your mind; neither the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certification status nor the National Chimney Sweep Guild (NCSG) membership status of the prospective chimney sweeps are likely to be one of them.
Need a little help choosing a chimney sweep?
In an effort to help homeowners with this decision making process, the CSIA recommends taking a cautious approach to selecting a chimney sweep. In order to ensure your job is done right the first time, you’ll more than likely want to ask some or all of the following questions of all prospective chimney sweeps:
1. How long has your company been in business?
2. Do you offer current references?
3. Do you have any unresolved complaints filed with the city or state consumer protection agency or BBB?
4. Do you carry a valid business liability insurance policy to protect my home and furnishings against accidents?
5. Do you ensure that a CSIA Certified chimney sweep will be on the job site?
Asking these questions will usually guarantee that your chimney is cleaned correctly and will decrease the chances of you ending up with a living room full of soot when all is said and done.
What exactly is the CSIA?
The CSIA is one of the only nationally recognized certification institutes specifically for chimney sweeps and chimney inspectors. They have classroom training and standardized testing requirements to receive the certification in the first place:
• Complete a 1 week online review course covering chimney sweeping, inspection and documenting basics.
• Pass a timed 100 question exam based on the 2006 International Residential Codebook with a score of 80% or higher.
• Pass a timed 100 question exam based on the Successful Chimney Sweeping  trade book and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)  codebook with a score of 70% or higher.
What’s more, the CSIA has certain requirements and a code of ethics by which their certified chimney sweeps must abide in order to remain certified. Certified chimney sweeps must also recertify annually and participate in continuing education courses.
What exactly is the NCSG?
It is the mission of the NCSG to promote the success of its members by providing progressive services, encouraging professionalism and ethical accountability, and advancing the chimney and venting industry through public awareness of the trade. All guild members are expected to sign and adhere to the Standards of Practice:
1. To abide by all membership policies and practices,
2. To refrain from engaging in any fraudulent or illegal activity,
3. To refrain from any act intended to restrain trade or suppress competition and to recognize and respect the legal rights of competitors, and
4. To ensure professionalism and ethical accountability in advertising.
When selecting a chimney sweep, there are obviously many things a homeowner must consider. Before you make that final decision, I implore you to heed these words: not all chimney sweeps are created equally. With A to Z Chimney Sweep, you can be confident that you’re receiving the best in chimney care from experienced and educated technicians. We guarantee honest, high quality, clean work every single time we’re in the field.