what are the certifications or licensing agencies to install woodburning products?
do they vary from state to state?
is a certification required to install wood burning products?
NFI seems to be the only accreditation i have found on line.
any links or info would be appreciated.
Licensing is by state and/ or municipality except in Canada where you have provinces. Any jurisdiction can elect to adopt certain certifications or training programs as part of the qualifications for licensure. They can also elect not to license at all. Note that there are all types of licenses. For instance, in Pa. there is no licensure of hearth products installers, home builders or HVAC technicians. There is a required 'registration' through the State Attorney General's office as a Home Improvement Contractor. A local municipality may or may not also require a local 'business' or 'contractors' license even though it is illegal for them to do so.
Within the hearth industry there are three primary certifications: FIRE Inspector, NFI Hearth Specialist in Wood, Gas or Pellet fuel categories and the CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep.
The FIRE cert. is by far the most comprehensive as it requires 5.5 days of intensive classroom training by the leading expert in the industry with a strong focus on the codes and standards.
The NFI Certs. are based upon their textbooks, which are pretty good basic information geared towards installations but are overall, rather weak. You can take a 6 hour class review but it is not required. You can take the exam at any event where the exams are being proctored or you can pay to take the exam online through Laser Grade at any airport.
The CSIA Cert. is geared towards sweeping woodburning fireplaces. They have just recently revamped it to start including a little bit on codes and I hear possibly one day of class but it is a far cry from the FIRE program. There is a raging debate within the industry over the adequacy of the CSIA cert. to qualify an inspector. Those who don't hold the FIRE Cert. of course feel the CSIA is sufficient, while those who do hold a FIRE Cert. as you may expect tend to feel it is quite superior. In fact, the CSIA is now trying to make their own clone of the FIRE program.
I do recommend all hearth appliances be installed by a qualified professional. To me, the best of all worlds would be a technician holding both the FIRE and NFI Master Hearth Professional Certs. but that is my very biased opinion.
great information. thanks much.
appreciate the info just got in the business and looking to go through the process of obtaining the certs, so basically csia is to become a certified chimney sweeper and all the entails correct? and the nfi is for specialties as gas, pellet, and wood burning correct? I see alot of other courses dryer vent, chimney physics, etc.. is this worthwhile and what do you reccommend over what have you taken over your career that was beneficial? Thanks again Hearthman, have a nice one
I can't think of a course off hand I would recommend against. There are some instructors that give me pause on certain subjects but I'll keep those to myself and leave it at caveat emptor. That means you cannot rely on courses only but must continually educate yourself in every way. That means web searchs and blogs, meetings, mfrs. 'dog & pony' shows, books, articles, and asking everyone in the related industries what you think. I think the HPBA EXPO is an excellent platform to not only take courses but talk with engineers and experts in all sorts of matters. You can walk up to the booths of the testing labs and ask them direct questions. You can hang with engineers and marketing managers for specific brands and gleen information you'd never get anywhere else. You can also learn alot chatting at the many various parties sponsored by mfrs, HPBA Affiliates, etc. Then attend your Pac coast Affiliate meetings.
The HPBEF has a lot of classes you can take online. You can buy a "subscription", which lets you attend all of the classes in their library. These classes include the NFI review for all 3 certs, and a lot of the classes from the past couple of years at HPBExpo. I found this subscriplion to be a good value.
thanks loucurley, been looking And alot of this testing exams are easier if your on the east coast, have a nice one guys