CSIA Online Education

July 30, 2014

The Chimney Safety Institute of America is proud of our online offers. Our e-learning includes more than 70 classes, including specialty courses such as “Lining Masonry with Stainless Steel.”

Here’s a slideshow presentation on Prezi that can walk you through what CSIA’s “chimney academy” looks like.


You can see for yourself what the pages will look like once you’ve enrolled in events such as the CCS Review and the C-DET course. It includes instructions on where to put in your login and password.

Here’s the place to find course descriptions on the CSIA website.


Sweep one for Zack

July 28, 2014

Zack Darpinian, a CSIA Certified Sweep with Full Service Chimney in Olathe, Kansas, was severely injured in a car accident July 25 on his way to work. His otherwise routine Friday, and his life, were turned upside down.

He suffered severe head trauma and is still in serious condition at a local hospital.

Although Zack’s progress has been amazing over the first 3 days after the accident, he has a long way to go.

The trauma to the right side of the brain was so severe, that the left side of the body is not as responsive as we’d like it to be and he’ll need a lot of physical rehab once he is allowed to leave the hospital.

Fortunately, he remembers his friends and family, but with all head trauma situations, there are bouts with memory loss, and the severity of that situation has not been fully assessed.


Sweep One for Zack. Donate to a special account.

Zack, who will be 19 on August 3, came to Full Service Chimney with an engineering background and “just a boat-load of aptitude,” said Robert Berry, owner of Full Service Chimney.

“That background coupled with his observation skills, his ability to understand Code and the underlying principles therein, as well as his fortitude and drive to teach homeowners about chimney safety lead him to a very successful start in this chimney career field,” he said.

We also would mention that part of Zack’s zeal to work with Full Service Chimney and be the best sweep he could be was because he was recently engaged and wants to stay in the area, marry his high school sweetheart, and raise a family.

Zack earned CCS badge No. 8478 when he passed his exam on July 19, 2014. His profile is listed on our CSIA website.

Even though he is a newcomer to the field, he has already made a positive impression on Jeremy and Brandi Biswell, who own a competitor (The Flues Brothers Chimney Service) in Zack’s area. It was Jeremy and Brandi’s combined encouragement to Zak that helped him pass the test on his second try and get his CCS credential.

Please help us relieve some  of the stress of the medical bills, daily expenses and lost wages so we can help get Zack back on his feet and back to the life he wants to begin with his fiancee, Kalee.

CSIA has established a special account on the gofundme site: Sweep One For Zack. We hope you’ll visit the page and donate the income from you might charge for one sweeping job.

If you aren’t comfortable with that site, you may send donations to Zack in care of Full Service at the following mailing address. (Cards are also welcome)

Zack Darpinian

c/o Full Service Chimney

P. O. Box 10144

Olathe, KS 66051

The Full Service Chimney family is:  Robert, Mary Jo, Alexis, Ritchie, Jake, Noah, and Zack!



CSIA education, chimney sweeping as a great career choice for U.S. veterans.

July 16, 2014

Chimney Safety Institute of America is proud to announce that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has confirmed the integrity of CSIA course offerings, and our commitment to serving our U.S. military members. The “in-compliance” letter to us also stated, “The education and training opportunities that your institution continues to provide veterans and their dependents are appreciated.”

Here’s the letter.

Letter to CSIA from the VA


CSIA, MACA join forces on unique 2-day event

July 2, 2014

The Mid-Atlantic Chimney Association, also known as MACA, will sponsor an extremely beneficial two-day event in Virginia in August that will feature new Chimney Safety Institute of America course on chimney fires, as well as health and safety.

The Aug. 19-20 event at the Wingate by Wyndham hotel will be held in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Pricing starts at $199.

The event includes instruction from CSIA Education Director Ashley Eldridge and is open to all chimney and venting industry professionals.

MORE: Sign up here!

It coincides with a MACA meeting.

Eldridge’s presentation is based on the highly regarded whitepaper, “Chimney Fires: Causes, Effects & Evaluation” that was first printed in 1992 and prepared by the CSIA Chimney Fire Education and Research Task Force.

The white paper, already available at no cost to sweeps, is in its fourth printing.

“There is a need in the industry for this type of course, and we are meeting that need,” Eldridge said.

The task force included some of the most respected names in the industry: Chairman Jerry Isenhour; Jim Brewer; Eldridge; and P.C. Luter III, with technical services by David S. Johnston. “I believe people will benefit from knowing the content of the white paper.”

The Health and Safety portion of the two-day event is also going to be beneficial due to the industry need.

“They are difficult CEUs to acquire because most of the education that is offered in the industry is technical in nature. But, CEUs for health and safety are just as important, and in demand. We’re seeing more awareness on the need for health and safety, and CSIA is best equipped to do it.”

MACA Director of Education James Bostaph, who is also treasurer for the CSIA Board of Directors, added: “The safety part is sorely needed, and expertise in chimney fires from one of the authors of a landmark document for CSIA is vital. Sweeps who sign up will receive an immersive experience that goes beyond just a slideshow presentation.”


‘Gas Hearth class’ at CSIA July 14-18 is a can’t-miss event

June 25, 2014


A who’s who of leaders in the gas hearth industry will be at CSIA July 14-18 to teach the “Installing & Troubleshooting Gas Hearth Appliances” class, an opportunity you won’t want to miss.

Jim Brewer, a well-respected chimney sweep and subject-matter expert, and Mike Van Buren, a professional engineer and past HBPA technical director, will be lead instructors of this event, which is hands-on. It will offer 16 CSIA CEUs and give participants an opportunity to acquire the NFI gas credential.

“Mike and I have a lot of experience, and we enjoy sharing it,” Brewer said. Bob Priesing and Dennis Dobbs, industry veterans, will be on hand to participate.

MORE: Sign up for the class on Chimney Safety Institute of America’s events calendar.

“It’s an outstanding opportunity to receive training from some of the biggest names in the business,” said CSIA Director of Education Ashley Eldridge. “And the training on appliances is not proprietary. It covers all of the appliances out there.”

Brewer said the gas-fireplace market is becoming as popular, or more popular, than wood-burning types. “It’s a growing market that’s not being well tended” after installation. But it could be a good business opportunity for sweeps who want to service gas fireplaces, he said.

MORE: On CSIA’s Soundcloud channel, hear from Jim Brewer about why the gas fireplace program was created.


For additional information, e-mail CSIA Program Director Claire Rutledge at crutledge@csia.org. Note: Class size is limited, so don’t delay!


CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps and C-DET technicians, available for hire

June 20, 2014


The Chimney Safety Institute of America educates and certifies (through testing) chimney sweeps through the CCS credential. CSIA also certifies dryer vent technicians through our C-DET credential.

Everyone on this list has their own web profile page on csia.org and are findable by zip code.

One of the perks of the CCS and C-DET certification is having their name appear in the 4-page advertising spread CSIA has in the monthly edition of Sweeping.

Caption: Our CCS Review and Exam May 23 in Baltimore, Maryland was led by CSIA instructor Rich Rua (pictured)


New CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps – we added 36 certified sweeps in 11 states!


Tikar Carroll ● Midtown Sweeps ● Lakewood



Michael Palmquist ● Max The Chimney Sweep ● Trumbull

Nick Lavoie ● Max The Chimney Sweep ● Trumbull



William Mew ● A-1 Safety Chimney Services, Inc. ● Lombard

Shawn Rutledge ● Lindemann Chimney ● Lake Bluff

Barrett Warnke ● Lindemann Chimney ● Lake Bluff

Joe Beatty ● Lindemann Chimney ● Lake Bluff



Mike Harrison ● Olde Towne Chimney Sweeps Inc. ● Jeffersonville

Warren Ginder ● The Mad Hatter ● Indianapolis



Brandi Biswell ● The Flues Brothers Chimney Service ● Overland Park

Jarrett Bertoncin ● The Flues Brothers Chimney Service ● Overland Park

Glenn Sager ● The Flues Brothers Chimney Service ● Overland Park



Kyle Nunn ● Barnhill Chimney Company ● Lexington



Mark Torralba ● High’s Chimney Service, Inc. ● Gaithersburg

Vincent Decrisci ● Chimney Tek ● Pasadena

Brian Doyle ● Old Line Chimney Sweeps ● Pasadena


New York

Charles DeMarco ● Hudson Valley Chimney Service, Inc. ● Poughkeepsie


North Carolina

Chris Nesmith ● Clean Sweep the Fireplace Shop ● Waynesville

Johnny Ferguson ● Environmental Chimney Sweep Inc. ● Fairview

Vernon “Gene” Herring, Jr. ● Mr. Smoke Stack ● Raleigh

Joseph Quaile ● Chimneys Plus, Inc. ● Pittsboro, NC

Mike David ● Environmental Chimney Sweep Inc. ● Fairview

Christopher Sears ● Mr. Smoke Stack ● Raleigh

Alex Tinsley ● Clean Sweep the Fireplace Shop ● Waynesville

Chris White ● Owens Chimney Systems ● Indian Trail

Timothy Wiley ● Clean Sweep the Fireplace Shop ● Waynesville



Michael Wargo ● Estates Chimney Sweep, Inc. ● Chalfont

Andrew Homan ● Estates Chimney Sweep, Inc. ● Chalfont

Joshua Ross ● Thomas’ Chimney + Stoves LLC ● Kingsley

Dominic Martorana ● Mauger + Company ● West Chester

Avery Soderman ● Wells & Sons Chimney Service ● Gilbertsville

Philip Ciminera ● Lehigh Valley Chimney Specialists ● Macungie

Khristian Vicknair ● The Village Chimney Sweeps Inc. ● York

Tristan Burrington ● Antrim’s Complete Chimney Service ● Pottstown

Paul Powers ● Metnan Oil Company ● Tullytown



Jennifer Cross ● Darren D. Sharp, Inc. ● North Bennington


Congratulations to these 17 folks who earned the CSIA Certified Dryer Exhaust Technician credential.

Caption: Our C-DET Review and Exam May 9 in Chattanooga, TN was led by CSIA instructor Bob Priesing (pictured).bobpriesing


Dennis Dobbs ● The Fireplace Service Center ● Fort Payne

Scottie Davis ● Top Hat Chimney Sweeps ● Opelika

Dustin Doty ● The Fireplace Service Center ● Fort Payne



Michael Irace ● Lint-B-Gone LLC ● Wethersfield



Jim Robinson ● Santa’s Friend Chimney Service ● Brandon



Dalton Rose ● Ashbusters Chimney Service Inc. ● Smyrna

Jason Tucker ● Ashbusters Chimney Service Inc. ● Nashville

Mike Ash ● Ashbusters Chimney Service Inc. ● Smyrna

John Perdue ● Ashbusters Chimney Service Inc. ● Smyrna

Henry “Clyde” Knox ● Ashbusters Chimney Service Inc. ● Smyrna

Matt Keatts ● Ashbusters Chimney Service Inc. ● Nashville

Joshua Lee ● Ashbusters Chimney Service Inc. ● Smyrna

Chris Powell ● Ashbusters Chimney Service Inc. ● Smyrna

Tim Wilson ● Ashbusters Chimney Service Inc. ● Smyrna

Kevin Chitwood ● Ashbusters Chimney Service Inc. ● Smyrna

Charles Walters ● Ashbusters Chimney Service Inc. ● Smyrna

Mark Harris ● Ashbusters Chimney Service Inc. ● Smyrna


Join us: See our CSIA event calendar for your opportunity to get a CCS or C-DET credential!


Black Goose, Copperfield team up on a rescue

June 16, 2014







Note: This blog post is based on an article that appears in this month’s edition of Sweeping magazine. Photo by Black Goose Chimney. Caption: The stove, which was in use during the staff’s initial trip to the client’s house.

By Jim Bostaph, President – Black Goose Chimney | Treasurer, Board of Directors, Chimney Safety Institute of America

The phone rang at 12:40 p.m.

“Thank you for choosing Black Goose Chimney.  My name is Ike, how may I help you?”

It was Daisy Johnson from the Surry County Crisis Program.

Ike Rowland, our VP of Operations, asked how we could help. Daisy said she had a client with a no-heat emergency.

The client’s only source of heat was an old wood stove, and there were issues.

The address was outside our local service area, more than an hour away, but we were still willing to go.

MORE: Read about Jim and Ike and the Black Goose Chimney team.

She told Ike the budget for the trip fee, the inspection, the cleaning, and any repairs. She gave us the contact information for the client and we called within the hour.

One of our crews had finished early that day, so we were able to send them the same afternoon to do the inspection and see if there was a quick fix to the problem.

They found an old Wood Chief stove that was listed in 1978. The door would not stay closed, the glass front was cracked, the stove was rusted, most of the firebricks were missing or broken, and inside the stove, the metal brick clips and walls were warped.  Clearances to the side and rear were not met and the stove rested directly on the vinyl floor. 

The trip to the rooftop showed the clay liners did not extend “above the roofline and the scan showed the remaining tiles were all fractured.

MORE: Interested in inspecting your old wood stove and chimney? Hire a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep using our free zip-code locator.

What a mess! 

We called back to the Crisis Program and told them our recommendations were to reline the chimney and replace the stove, making sure the new stove met proper clearances and had the required floor protection. When we started talking dollars, she stated this range was well beyond the limited budget they were allowed.

Our next call was to Russ Dimmitt at Copperfield Chimney Supply.

He had helped us out with a similar charity project a few years back. Russ and Copperfield gladly donated a new stove, a Timberwolf Economizer, the connector pipes, liner, insulation, and component kit.

Ike — who is also a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep — and a crew returned to the home a few days later after securing a building permit and taking delivery of the materials. The old tiles came out, the new liner and insulation went in. The old stove went out, the new stove, floor protection, and connector pipes went in.  We even bricked up the old breach and installed a new terra cotta thimble in a better spot.

The atmosphere at our office was a happy one, we were able to help a family in need.  A few days later the phone rang again.  It was the client, stating the new stove didn’t heat as well as the old one; what could we do?  One more call to Copperfield.  Would it be possible to get the optional blower for the stove?  Russ was out at the time of the call, but we received a call back in less than an hour stating the blower was on the way – no charge.

One last trip to the home.  The blower was installed, the client briefed on the operation, the stove was fired up and the blower worked perfectly.  Smiles all around and the satisfaction of a job well done.

Thanks to Russ Dimmitt and Copperfield for all that you do to help!

Read more about Copperfield Chimney on their Facebook page.


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