In Maryland, the chimney industry isn’t regulated. What does this mean? It means that anyone with a ladder and some tools can claim to be a chimney technician. Unfortunately, this puts homeowners at a severe disadvantage. When choosing a chimney sweep and inspect your chimney, you’re better off paying close attention to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certification status of the prospective chimney technicians.
Selecting the Right Sweep for the Job
In an effort to help homeowners with this decision making process, the CSIA recommends taking somewhat of a cautious approach to selecting a chimney sweep, as getting your job done right the first time is the ultimate goal. Homeowners will more than likely want to ask some or all of the following questions of any prospective chimney sweeps:
- How long has your company been in business?
- Do you offer current references?
- Do you have any unresolved complaints filed with the city or state consumer protection agency or BBB?
- Do you carry a valid business liability insurance policy to protect my home and furnishings against accidents?
- 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.
The CSIA is 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 technicians must abide in order to remain certified. Certified chimney technicians must also recertify annually and participate in continuing education courses.
When selecting a chimney sweep, there are obviously many things a homeowner must consider. Before you make your final decision, I implore you to heed these words: not all chimney sweeps are created equally. Your family and home are important to you, so why would you settle for anything less. With Clean Sweep of Anne Arundel County, 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.