When you burn wood fuel, it releases heat, gases, and byproducts in the form of smoke and soot. The amount of byproduct released is dependent on the type of wood being burned and the temperature of the fire. When the byproduct goes up your chimney, it cools down and condenses on the inside of your chimney walls. Once the condensation dries, it forms a sticky, tar-like substance called creosote. A big issue with creosote is that it is combustible at higher temperatures, meaning if your chimney gets hot enough, it can ignite the creosote and start a chimney fire. Creosote fires are extremely difficult to put out and can spread to the rest of your home. It only takes as little as ⅛ inch of creosote build-up to become hazardous.
Sweeping your chimney at least once a year is the best way to prevent chimney fires. However, if you are having your chimney inspected and swept by someone who is unqualified or inexperienced, there’s a good chance that your chimney isn’t being cleaned as well as it should be. Here at The Chimney Guy, we are in our 23rd year as a chimney sweep. Being in the chimney sweeping business this long means a few things. First, you can be sure that we have experience. With thousands of maintenance, inspection, and sweeping visits under our belt, we have seen everything that there is to see in this business. Second, it means that we have staying power. You only get staying power by gaining a reputation for high-quality work and premium customer service. We supplement this experience with a certification from the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA). This added certification is a valuable tool that not only serves our technicians well, but also keeps our customers safe.
What is CSIA certification?
The CSIA emphasizes the importance of safety and education in the chimney and ventilation industry. The process of becoming certified is difficult and comprises four steps. First, technicians need to complete an initial training course. This course is related to proper methods and techniques for the maintenance and repair of a chimney and other ventilation systems. Second, technicians will need to take another training course related to safe practices when inspecting, cleaning, and maintaining chimney and ventilation systems. Once these training courses are completed, the next step is to complete a rigorous exam related to what was taught in the training courses.
Once training and testing are completed, there is a final step in the certification process. Honesty is also an important part of keeping our customers safe, and the CSIA knows this. This is why each sweep must create a personal code of ethics and conduct. This code of ethics must be developed with the consumer’s safety and well being in mind. It must include language that a sweep will perform their job to the best of their ability, promising never to cut corners or mislead their clients. This is an important step in the certification process, because if a chimney sweep gets in the habit of cutting corners and lying about it, they could be putting their clients at risk. Once their ethics code has been developed, each sweep must swear to uphold their code and perform all their work with integrity, professionalism, and their customer’s safety in mind. Once these steps are completed, sweeps are eligible for CSIA certification.
However, the certification process isn’t done after certification. With chimney and ventilation technology always changing, sweeps need to stay current with their knowledge as it related to chimney and ventilation maintenance and safety. Because of this, the CSIA requires all currently certified sweeps to be recertified every three years. Recertification is achieved through more training and testing.
If you haven’t had your chimney swept in the past year, you could be putting your home at risk. At The Chimney Guy, our CSIA certified chimney sweeps will make sure that your chimney is clean of all creosote and safe for operation. If you live in the Fox Valley area, including Oshkosh, Green Bay, Green Lake and other surrounding areas, give The Chimney Guy a call at 920-830-1920 or contact us online today. We promise that we can make your home a safer place for you this next year.