We do not trust everyone to repair our cars and the same approach should hold true with our chimneys. The average person is not qualified to inspect and clean a chimney. Aside from the safety factor for the inspectors themselves, there are proper ways to inspect and clean this area. When looking for a chimney sweep, consumers should look for the NCSG certification.
NCSG stands for the National Chimney Sweep Guild, an organization that has been around for more than 35 years. What began with only 22 members is now a thriving organization that educates and informs homeowners and sweeps throughout the country. The NCSG even helps sweeps prepare for their membership exam and continue their education through classes, seminars, and conventions.
In 1996, Vermont became the first state to require sweeps to be Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certified in order to work on structures other than owner-occupied, single family homes. CSIA sweeps must abide by a Code of Ethics that holds them to high standards. Every year, thousands of homeowners contact certified sweeps to perform chimney maintenance.
CSIA administers the only certification program for the chimney and venting services industry to receive national recognition for its technical expertise standards. CSIA certified sweeps have shown their commitment to chimney and fire safety and maintain this commitment through their ongoing education. Consumers can find a certified sweep online using the CSIA and NCSG websites. They can even see which continuing educational courses the sweeps in their area have taken.
The CSIA certification provided in conjunction with the NCSG is now recognized as the industry standard. Homeowners should look for these credentials and read the respective Codes of Ethics to learn more about what these chimney sweeps represent. Hiring an industry leader to inspect and clean the chimney is the best approach.