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NFI certification is it a consideration for you? Please Vote!

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Shane, Mar 24, 2006.

?

Would you prefer an NFI certified installer over one that’s not?

  1. Definately, even at a premium labor cost

    46.2%
  2. If it didn’t cost me any extra

    53.8%
  3. All I care about is that it gets installed

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
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  1. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    Some follow up questions:

    Say you're looking at two identical products (same brand) at two different stores. One store has certified staff the other doesn't. Would the store with certification be more likely to gain your trust and business?

    Did you know that 20+ of the major fireplace manufacturers in the US recommend their products be installed by an NFI certified professional?

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  2. berlin

    berlin New Member

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    nope, not a concern for me, i would judge through talking with the individuals whether or not they know their "stuff" not by seeing a certification.
  3. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    Anyone else care to offer an opinion? It would be very helpful and greatly appreciated.
  4. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    With something like a solid fuel installation I would be more concerned with cost and reputation. Especially since there are third party inspection requirements that give me some feeling of confidence in the finished work.

    Gas is a whole nuther animal because of knowledge of pressure requirements etc. required for a safe and efficient finished product.

    Question for ya: Why don't manufacturers REQUIRE an NFI certified installer for the warranty to be valid?
  5. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Shane I think anyone hired to work on your house should be qualified. True pieces of paper are not all one should request
    Last week at the seminar I asked our state to looking to licencing and certifications. Hopefully NFI certification, actually equates to knowlwdge and skills in the field as well
  6. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    Having taken all three of the tests I know for a fact that if you don't know your sh** you will not pass these tests. They are a good measure of ones knowledge and skill. I would imagine that most manufacturers don't require installation by an NFI certified professional because it is so new and many people are still getting certified, also since it is not a requirement or even recognized by most city and state governments the requirement would appear unreasonable. I honestly believe, having seen some of the crap I've seen, that licensing should be required for hearth product installers just like it is for plumbers, electricians and GC's.
  7. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy New Member

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    I dont think that installing wood or gas appliances are as technical as a electrician, plumber, or GC's job. The inspection process should take care of most issues caused by bad installs. Thats my .02
  8. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    I beg to differ but can respect your opinion. The problem is that in the majority of areas inspections are not done or in some cases even required. As time goes on with all the different technologies, and clearances etc. I think that it has gotten alot more complicated. My reasoning is this, I have several contractors that I work with that do not want to touch a fireplace, they call me the professional fireplace guy. Not that they couldn't figure it out but since I do it all day every day they have confidence in the fact I'll get it done right, on time and budget. Often times when someone calls the fire department for a solid fuel burning appliance inspection they are referred to the Yellow Pages under chimney cleaning. (I'm the only guy there). On top of that we have to know alot about the three above mentioned professions in order to properly do our jobs. Electricity much less so than the other two but still. I think fireplace installation and service professionals deserve to have that "professional" status.
  9. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy New Member

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    I completly agree that us fireplace people, retailers or installers, are professional. My point is, i use two chimney guys to do the wood install. They have over 40 years experence between them and neither are certified but certainly professioal. The people that do my gas work are fireplace specific, and has been in bidness since 1980, and have over 200,000 installs under ther belt. No certification there either. By all means there professional but are not NFI certified.
  10. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    I see what you're getting at. I didn't mean to imply that there aren't people out there with more than adequate skills and knowledge who do not have certification. I am simply trying to point out the fact that if it were required (not even necesarily NFI just some sort of certification required at the state or better yet local leval) it would be alot easier to identify which installers are worth their salt and which aren't. At any rate I really appreciate all the opinions being expressed. It is disheartening that it appears I wasted a grand getting certified, but atleast I haven't dumped a ton of marketing dollars into it. It seems to me that until licensing is required that people will continue to go with their "gut" when choosing an installer regardless of certification.
  11. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy New Member

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    Shane, you didnt waste your money. For people who havent been doing it for 30 years its a way to get caught up to speed relativly quickly. I can tell by your post's that you are into your job, care for your customers, and take personal pride in being professional. On that note. The companies that i use could teach the certification course if they wanted too. They go to all the dealer training lessons that manufactures put on in our area. Like hearthstone and jotul. They take it upon there selves to learn all the latest trends in our industry. They do nothing but install, no retail and they are good. Threre so good that every hearth shop in a 60 mile radius of them use them for installs. That is if the retailer doesnt offer installation.
  12. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    Well when I say I wasted my money I mean that I already had all the knowledge presented in the manuals, I just felt it was a way for me to prove my knowledge as I don't quite yet play the 30 years of experience card. I don't just sell I install, service and clean as well. I realized early on that lack of knowledge or a simple mistake could have deadly consequences and took it upon myself to learn everything I possibly could about our industry. If I can't remember it off the top of my head you can bet that I know what book to look in. Maybe it's just that it's a spankin new program. I'm sure people didn't give a sh** about ASE certification when it was first introduced, and I'm sure there was a time when a certified or licensed electrician was a thing of the future.
  13. Mo Heat

    Mo Heat Mod Emeritus

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    Shane, consider this. Your poll shows half and half essentially value and don't care about certification. Now consider that many of the people on this site are WELL informed and perhaps more capable of intelligently separating the wheat from the chaff, so to speak.

    This poll, on this site, is skewed IMO. People who have less knowledge of wood stoves may well prefer to have someone with a proven package of knowledge and skills indicated by a certification. The data sample is also mighty small.

    I personally voted that I'd prefer a certified professional. It doesn't mean I wouldn't accept someone else if I had to, but I'd prefer someone to be certified. This type of thing is also highly subjective. Some people have serious biases about 'having to prove it to the man', type of thing, and others are just more go along with the program. The better the program, the better the result in their opinion. Different strokes.

    My install guy was good, but I'd have preferred he be certified. I don't know why it has to cost $1,000 though! That's a lot! I also don't think it should be a requirement. If you don't value it, you shouldn't have to pay more for it as long as it's safe.
  14. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    The tests are about 350 each that includes the study manual and the exam. I really wanted it to be somewhat of a USP for my store, something people would look at and beable to ascertain that I we are a step above both in product and employees. I know that the sampling is small but it is similar to the reaction I've gained since taking the tests. People either don't know or care what NFI and once it's explained the percieved value just doesn't seem to be there. I took a course at the show on "marketing my NFI status" Basically I sat there for an hour while an experienced marketing person asked the room what we do to promote our status and telling us we are the pioneers we are the ones that have to make it matter. But how? And that question about manufacturers requiring it is a good one. Maybe I'll ask some manufacturers and NFI staff.
  15. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

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    i voted for a certified guy for reasons most people don't even think about when it comes to the almighty dollar. i'm electrician not a stove or chimney guy. because of this forum i can do a simple install that's not changing to much. but if it were a new install you bet i'd hire a pro. or a liner + stove you bet i'd hire a pro. most people don't know that they are getting in over their head until something happins. people just don't realize that a mistake in this field could be their last one. they are only interested in telling their friends what a good deal they got. the man at the store IMO is the most important if he is good. it's his job to inform and almost train the home owner so that he can make a proper choice and that includes telling he or she about a proper install or you could die. as i said earlier some people just don't know but think they do. people think that if they have a good feeling about a person then he's ok. mean while he finished the job and he's walking away saying ah it will be fine besides i can't see it from my house. licensing or certifing will only help the trade. so to weed out the s*** bums. and also when someone gets a call to troubleshoot something if everybody does things to code then the man troubleshooting will have a better idea. shane you didn't waste your money you just need to stress to people how important it is to have the cert guy vs. the non cert guy. some of you guys said you have crackerjack people working with you. that great. those same guys won't have any problems getting certified.

    anyway i ramble way to long on this
    good luck
  16. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    you know my thoughts about certification, and getting it done right, but there exist people like me, that are mechanical. I can do proper installs. I can rebuild engines tranfere cases cameras computers heavy equipment boilers, you get the idea. I would hate a cerfification regulation that prevented me from installations on my own home. Hell I can build my own Masonry chimney. Part of any homeowner is knowing their own limitations. and not to exceed them, and know when you need help or advice.
  17. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

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    hey elk correct me if i'm wrong but many moons ago wasn't there a short test for the home owner to get a license for the job he was pulling a permit for. just for that job he was doing.
    or am i dreaming again :blank:
  18. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    There is what is called a homeowner exemption where the homeowner can pull the permit and act as the GC Actually it is a loophole where it is indented for the homeowner to do the work himself but abused allowing him to hire unlicensed workers. In RI. if the sub contractors have to be licensed and register with the town if doing work under the homeowner exemption. I think the rules were intended for people like me installing my own sliders at my house today Construction supervisor licenses require apprentice ship and passing exams. There is no simple test like you suggest. I have seen good homeowner installs In fact Hot Flames was done as professional or better than most. He pulled the permit. Want an example of a homeowner not knowing what he is doing? Follow this post. And he is worried about drywall joint cracking
    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/1823/
  19. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

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    i've done plenty of jobs where the home owner is the GC and there is never any more screwed up job than that. holds everybody up. and never any good communication for the job to move as planned. a GC should be there every day and be available.

    i to am a do it yourselfer. but i know when something is over my head. i hope they don't take away
    the right to work on my own home. i work around the different trades enough every day to know how to do the simple things. case and point. i need a second floor put on my house. but i don't know enough about framing to think about doing it. so i'll have a demo crew demo the roof. a framer build the addition. a roofer roof the place. i might do the windows. and the siding maybe. the inside i know i can handle. heat zones i can handle. even water piping. but the drains i have the plumber do. to many codes for drains and venting. i let the pro do it. and of course extending the center chimney has to be done by a pro.
  20. Sundeep Arole

    Sundeep Arole New Member

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    The poll is a bit unfair. Certification does not necessarily equate to competence, experience and the willingness to put in the extra time and effort in doing a proper job does. In the end I want the stove installed, but by a competent installer. I don't care if the installer has a paper with some certification on it or not.
  21. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

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    hotflame how could you tell if the guy doing your job knows what he's doing if he doesn't have a certificate?
    i look at it this way. if the person having the install knows how to do it why would he or she pay someone to do the job that they already know how to do?
    but i agree there are alot of people out there that have a license to do their job but are complete dummy's. there are a few different roads to take when doing a job which is why some jobs being the same costs more than the next but in the end they are the same.
    and if everyone does the job what ever it may be to code than you can be assured that it was done right and can put away the fear and can sleep at night
    you got to look at it this way. the certificate is mostly for the home owner. that certificate or license is to reassure the home owner that for the most part since you don't know mr. joe blow from the install shop he has a clue on how to install these things and is not going to have a problem with the inspector.

    i may not install wood stoves but i deal with a similar thing. that is the home owner. i have more home owners trying to tell me how to install wiring and they don't even know what the code book looks like. and they get upset when i tell them that i can't install this the way you want because it is against code to do it that way. so my point is (if i keep my hat on know one will see it) that if there were only licensed people doing the installs it would make for a better install and a more even playing field for the installers.

    hope i got my point across.

    frank
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