Truth: the chimney sweep industry was for a very long time plagued by slapdash so-called professionals who would do only a cursory sweep of the chimney, pocket their profit, and then be off to the next unsuspecting customer—often leaving the former customer with a chimney that was no more clean or safe than it was before he arrived. Ever since, those of us who take seriously our jobs, our duty to our customers, and our role in our communities have worked to overcome the shoddy work of these few among us. The Chimney Sweep Institute of America (C.S.I.A.) has helped enormously. Gratefully, the chimney sweep industry’s reputation changed for the better when the C.S.I.A. swept in—excuse the pun—and outlined very specific methods and protocol for inspecting and cleaning chimneys. The C.S.I.A.’s technical training (done through their National Chimney Sweep Training School) and certification programs teach sweeps not only how to inspect and service chimney systems, but also how to service all residential heating appliances, including wood stoves, pellet stoves, inserts, furnaces, and factory-built fireplaces. Students also learn about NFPA 211 standards and International Residential Codes, as well as being taught how to treat chimney performance problems and address health and safety concerns.
See the Difference for Yourself
The C.S.I.A. Certified Chimney Sweep credential comes in perhaps most handy during the chimney inspection process, which is rigorous and meticulously outlined. Thanks to the C.S.I.A., certified sweeps are also instructed to use a video camera to inspect the length of your chimney. This allows sweeps to show footage to their customers, so that they can better see what they are working with, and—for the benefit of homeowners—note any areas of concern prior to their work but also show proof of their work once they’re done. It has taken our industry some time to overcome the repercussions of those among us who preyed on the trust of homeowners. Winston’s Chimney Service is thankful that the C.S.I.A. has been so helpful in clearly setting apart those who take their role in the community seriously and those who don’t. When evaluating whether or not to hire a chimney sweep, your best gauge is whether or not they have earned the C.S.I.A. credential. Our certified chimney sweeps follow the C.S.I.A.’s rigorous standards to the letter when inspecting and sweeping your chimney; this includes the use of a closed-circuit camera. At Winston’s Chimney Service, we know that our expertise can have enormous impact on the lives of our customers in and around Maryland, DC, and Virginia. We take that very seriously.