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Chimney Sweep qualifications

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by wg_bent, Sep 11, 2006.

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  1. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    Just curious here. With the bunch of chimney sweeping threads going right now I got to wondering what qualifications it actually takes to be a professional chimney sweep.

    Is there a certification? Some sort of training?

    Just because my sweeping job was simple doesn't mean they all are, so...

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  2. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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  3. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    There is the CSIA as Brother Bart pointed out. But in most municipalities there are little to no requirements to become a chimney sweep. Here all you have to do is buy a business license.
  4. seaken

    seaken Minister of Fire

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    You asked about "qualifications". Yes, there are qualifications, and they are many. But, as Shane pointed out, there is little regulation and licensing, even though there is a certification. To become a chimney sweep you simply need to call yourself a sweep. This is one of our biggest problems in this industry. The CSIA and NCSG are industry training and business associations but they are voluntary. Also, just belonging to either of these organizations does not guarantee you will be "qualified". But this is true of most trade certifications. Still, it is a good place to start. If a sweep does not find it important enough to get industry certified I would question why. I do know there are some "qualified" sweeps who are not certified. Sometimes it just comes down to experience and personal taste. But I think even qualified and experienced sweeps should be certified. This will help weed out the bad apples. There are too many so-called sweeps who are not educated and give poor advice or do shoddy work. This hurts everyone.

    There should be a distinction drawn between brushing the soot from your chimney and being a "sweep". Being a chimney sweep is a large responsibility and involves much more than cleaning. A truly qualified sweep will study the workings of a chimney system and understand the mechanism and operation of these critical devices found in almost every home in the world. A sweep will posses valuable knowledge about your chimney that you, as a "brusher", may never fully appreciate. So, yes, to become a professional chimney sweep requires many many years of practice and several specialized qualifications.

    Sean
  5. martel

    martel Member

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    This is very interesting. Sean, what about things like insurance and liability for sweeps. It seems like the liability can be just as high for a sweep as someone who does installation.
    The CSIA class looks very interesting.
  6. seaken

    seaken Minister of Fire

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    In our experience, insurance rates are higher for sweeps. In our case, we have complete coverage as installers and technicians but we cannot act as "sweeps" or else we go into a another category. Many sweeps have had difficulty finding reasonable liability coverage.

    Sean
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