ANNUAL CHIMNEY INSPECTION
Home-Heating Systems Require Expert Attention for Assurance of Safety
Protecting a house against fire generally can be achieved by having a chimney sweep inspect the chimney and venting system each fall and clean it when necessary. However, due to the complexity of today’s home-heating systems, many chimney sweeps encounter situations on a job site which require expert knowledge to solve. As a result, the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), in Indianapolis, Ind., recommends that homeowners have an annual chimney and venting service done by a CSIA Certified Chminey Sweep\R\. “With aging homes, multiple fuel choices, extremely efficient home-heating apto respond to a vast array of home-heating situations and provide a much needed feeling of safety.”
According to CSIA, choosing the right chimney professional is important because of the risks associated with home heating.
Every home heating appliance is dependent on a chimney and venting system that functions properly. If the chimney and vents do not work as designed, the heating system may not perform properly. This has the potential to result in serious damage to the home. It also can provide risk to the health and safety of the family living inside the house.In fact, in 1996, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were 23,600 residential fires in the United States originating in chimneys, fireplaces and residential-heating equipment. These fires resulted in 230 personal injuries, 130 deaths and $184.4 million in property damage.
Certified chimney sweeps gain their knowledge through hours and hours of rigorous studying and testing. In order to become certified, these sweeps must pass a written examination based on fire codes – like the National Fire Protection Association Standard 211 – clearances, and the standards for the construction maintenance of chimney and venting systems. They also need to update their skills through continuing education or be retested every three years to maintain certification.
Certified chimney sweeps have thorough knowledge of the combustion process and the construction and maintenance of chimneys, fireplaces (both masonry and prefabricated), central furnaces, and hearth products like stoves and fireplace inserts. They also are well-versed in the characteristics of all fuels avaiable for home heating, like wood, gas, oil, coal and wood pellets. This knowledge allows them to expertly diagnose and solve chimney and venting-system problems.
CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps carry a badge denoting them as certified. This badge carries both their photograph as well as their company information and badge number. Occasionally, sweeps advertise their certification. However, to be sure that a sweep is certified, the best action is to confirm their status through CSIA. It also is important to ask for this credential when the sweep arrives at the job site.
For more information on chimney safety, a list of CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps or confirmation of a sweep’s certification, write to CSIA, 8752 Robbins Road, Indianapolis, IN 46268; call 1-800-536-0118; or visit the Web site at:www.csia.org