CSIA & NCSG Overview
The Premier Chimney Trade and Chimney Education organizations in the United States.
Truthfully, the chimney and fireplace industry is still widely unregulated.
Anyone with a truck, willpower, and a few chimney brushes can go around calling themselves chimney sweeps.
The National Chimney Sweep Guild (NCSG) is a nationally recognized 501(C)(6) non-profit trade association that exists to improve fireplace safety, educate consumers, and promote the success of chimney sweeps by encouraging professionalism and ethical accountability in our daily work.
The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) is also a nonprofit organization, but they are dedicated to training and educating chimney professionals.
There was a “chimney rebirth” in the 1970s caused by the oil embargo crisis of the early to mid-1970s. Many homeowners turned to a more economical way of heating their home: wood fires.
Because of this, there were many home fires due to incorrect installations, improper burning habits, and failure to maintain and have a swept chimney.
The National Chimney Sweep Guild (NCSG) was founded in 1977 to help promote better chimney safety. The CSIA was created in 1983 to take control of the educational and certification program of the NCSG.
To this day, the NCSG is the only national trade association representing chimney professionals in North America.
But its member companies range in size from the owner-operator sole proprietors all the way up to chimney companies with 20+ vehicles and manufacturers with hundreds of employees.
What Does the NCSG Do?
Since the chimney industry isn’t as well regulated by the state and federal governments, the NCSG aims to provide professional standards for all member sweeps to follow. With my company’s membership, we can take part in up-to-date training to stay informed on safety standards within the industry.
The NCSG also holds an annual conference, where we have the opportunity to network, connect, and learn from folks like Master Technicians, who have been in the industry for decades, and other industry experts. This allows us to learn and grow in our trade.
The NCSG Code of Ethics was written to hold member sweeps to a much higher standard for performance and professional behavior.
Here is the NCSG Code of Ethics:
- To represent myself and my company in a professional manner by providing services, education, and skills that are in compliance with all codes and regulations applicable to the chimney service industry that are in effect in my service area.
- To continually update my knowledge, skills, and techniques as new information evolves within the industry.
- To render my services and represent my company in an honest and fair manner and to refrain from engaging in unfair or deceptive practices or making any unfair or deceptive statements, including but not limited to use of the NCSG logo.
- To conduct myself in a decent, respectful, and professional manner when serving in my capacity as a chimney sweep, or when attending a function or event of an organization in the chimney or hearth products industry.
- To comply with the proper usage of the NCSG Trademark as defined in the NCSG Trademark Use Guidelines document.
What Does the CSIA Do?
The main goal of the CSIA is to educate the public, chimney & venting professionals, and other fire safety specialists on how to eliminate chimney fires, carbon monoxide leaks, and other hazardous situations.
In fact, the CSIA is North America’s leading chimney and venting education provider.
Their main educational offerings range from a six-day in-person classroom environment to online certifications to even CSIA Roadshow courses taught by CSIA expert instructors at events all across the nation.
CSIA National Training Academy
CSIA’s National Training Academy is an intensive six-day, hands-on, classroom, workshop experience at their Technology Center in Plainfield, Indiana.
At the Training Academy, they cover:
- Sweeping and inspections of different chimney systems
- Operation of the necessary equipment
- Health and safety considerations
- Codes, clearances, standards, and practices of the chimney service trade
- Preparation for the CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep Exam
CSIA Online Education
The CSIA also has a suite of online educations to make it easier for busy professionals to earn their certifications. They have courses on physics, chimney liners, flash sealing, chimney industry sales & marketing, and so much more.
The CSIA Roadshow is a relatively new opportunity for chimney technicians to learn from expert technicians through local, in-person sessions provided by CSIA’s expert instructors. These courses can combine any of the online courses with those that are traditionally taught in person.
List of all CSIA Certifications & Credentials:
The CSIA doesn’t just offer a chimney sweeping certification. They also offer the opportunity to be a CSIA Certified Dryer Exhaust Technician, as well as the chance to earn plenty of additional credentials.
- Certified Chimney Sweep
- Certified Dryer Exhaust Technician
- Master Chimney Sweep
- Chimney Physics
- CSIA Instructor
- Diagnosis and Documentation
- Installing and Troubleshooting Gas Hearth Appliances
- Installing and Troubleshooting Wood Burning Hearth
- Lining Masonry Chimneys with Stainless Steel
- Masonry Repair
- Roof System Specific Rope Access Training
- Advanced Inspection
- OSHA 10
What Does it Mean to be CSIA Certified?
The CSIA certification is acknowledged by industry professionals, insurance underwriters, local agencies, state agencies, and federal agencies as the measure of a chimney and venting professional’s knowledge about chimney and venting systems.
To become certified, a technician must:
- Attend a certification training course (online or in-person)
- Pass a one-hour exam base on Successful Chimney Sweeping and NFPA 211
- Pass a 90 Minute open book exam based on the International Residential Codes
- Sign the CSIA Code of Ethics
Chimney sweeps that are certified by the CSIA are held to a much higher standard for both performance and professional behavior.
In fact, if you hire a CSIA certified technician, you can believe that he or she will be proficient in:
- The best practices and skillful techniques of the trade
- Technicalities related to chimney dynamics and construction
- Wood burning physics and the formation of creosote
- Applicable codes, standards, and clearances
- EPA requirements and solid fuel appliances
Moreover, as I mentioned a few moments ago, CSIA sweeps are held to a higher standard. With that, sweeps are required to sign and comply with the Code of Ethics:
- Learning and Utilizing all CSIA-promoted chimney and venting safety practices and techniques
- Rendering services honestly and fairly and refraining from engaging in deceptive or unfair practices
- Complying with all applicable local codes, with all manufacturers’ installation instructions, and with recognized chimney and venting practices
- Promoting and educating consumers about safe chimney and venting practices
- Continually striving to be updated on current chimney and venting safety practices, techniques, and skills
- Conducting oneself in a decent, respectable, and professional manner while serving as a CSIA-certified technician on the job and while attending any event, conference, or function presented by an organization in the chimney or hearth products industry.
How will CB2TH Help?
At Combat Boots to Top Hats, we want to get you certified.
We have a team of experts that want to make sure you are able to make it to the National Training School in Indiana.
Since you’re a veteran, you can use your education benefits from the GI Bill to help cover the costs of going to the CSIA Technology Center near Indianapolis.
Here are some of the classes that are currently approved by the GI Bill.
- Chimney Physics
- Installing & Troubleshooting Gas Hearth Appliances
- Inspection & Report Writing
- National Chimney Sweep Training School
This means that course registration and housing costs may be covered under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the Montgomery GI Bill (Active or Selected Reserve), the Reserve Educational Assistance Program, or the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program, depending on personal eligibility.
Through our generous donations, we’re able to cover the costs for all of the other classes that are not covered by your GI Bill.
Plus, regardless of what is covered by the GI Bill, we also cover the costs of transportation, lodging, and food.