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Chimney sweeping isn't what you see in the movies. Learn more about the industry here.

Chimney sweeping isn’t what you see in the movies. Learn more about the industry here.

Let’s face it, our chimneys are probably not our most thought about parts of our home; however, they are definitely one part of the home that can bring it all crumbling down if not properly maintained. That is where the professionals come in.

A chimney sweep is a certified professional, who can make sure your chimney is maintained, inspected, and cleaned so that it is safe to use. Chimney sweeps are great because this is their area of expertise. They know all the right practices, have all the right tools to handle most any job, and are not afraid to get dirty. Basically, they are kind of like doctors for our chimneys.

Does this sound right up your ally? If becoming a chimney sweep is something you think you might like to do, follow a few short steps and you could be on your way.

Get trained

When we think of professionals, we think of the training they have gone through to get to where they are now. Sign up for courses and programs with organizations like The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) in order to get specialized in your trade. The CSIA, along with other entities, offer regular training sessions throughout the year for up-and-coming chimney sweeps. There are also different type training programs available that focus on varying areas related to the chimney sweep field.

Educate yourself

This goes along the lines of training and may even come before or go in tandem with it. Learn as much as you can about the chimney business so you are familiar with what you are getting yourself into. Again, organizations like the CSIA offer books, practice tests, and so on, in order to teach their craft. If possible sign up for seminars and classes. Learning as much as you can will also help you pass a chimney exam and training program with ease.

Ask questions

This is true for any job or profession. If there are any lingering questions or concerns, ask. Also, since the accreditation process varies everywhere, check with your local government to find out what is required in your area in order to work as a chimney sweep. Then be sure to follow up on those specific certifications. Most often the CSIA’s requirements are the ones that are used to license a chimney sweep.

Test time

Once you have learned all you can, take the CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep Exam to become certified. This test will cover a variety of topics that chimney sweeps need to know, such as maintenance of residential heating appliances, chimney inspection and sweeping processes, and safety. The CSIA allows you to attend an online or in-person review session for the exam. Portions of the exam may be open book and some portions may be closed book so be prepared.

Other Considerations

Following your test you also must agree to pay an Annual Certification Fee in order to receive your official chimney sweep documentation. Additionally, you must also sign a Code of Ethics, of which contains responsibilities, actions, and obligations you must comply with at all times.

Join up

Once you have gotten certified as a chimney sweep, you definitely want to join a union or association like the National Chimney Sweep Guild. Through this you will be able to meet other chimney sweeps, get updates on current practices and codes, receive insurance and discounts, and even attend trade shows. Joining will also put your name and contact information in a database, which is good because potential customers can browse this list and find you that way.

Start sweeping!

If you are looking to start your own chimney company, that is great. If not get your resume and credentials out there and look to get a job as a certified chimney sweep at an established company to begin your  chimney services career!
Resources: eHow, Chimney Safety Institute of America, High’s Chimney Service, image via CSIA

Wells & Sons Chimney Service offers a full range of chimney services including chimney cleaning and chimney repair. We also sell and install wood and gas stoves. Our service area extends across Allentown, Reading, Paoli, Norristown, West Chester, and surrounding areas in Southeastern Pennsylvania.