Professionally Certified

“Choosing and installing a hearth system without adequate expertise is like playing with fire.”

From the National Fireplace Institute Website:

nfi logoA fireplace or stove can add beauty, warmth and value to your home and set the mood for memorable gatherings of family and friends. But choosing and installing a hearth system without adequate expertise is like playing with fire. That is why our industry is making quality training and credentials its mission.

Planning and installing fireplaces, stoves and their venting systems requires experience, technical knowledge and skill. Numerous decisions — from proper floor protection to appliance sizing and placement to venting system compatibility and height — should all be made with the expertise of a professionally certified specialist.

One of the ways to identify a competent specialist is to check their credentials. The National Fireplace Institute®, an independent, non-profit certification agency, has created the standard for certification in the hearth industry. Only those who pass a rigorous examination covering fundamentals of proper installation receive NFI Specialist Certification.

NFI History

For 25 years, the independent non-profit Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Education Foundation (HPBEF) has offered certifications for professionals in the hearth industry.

In 2001, the HPBEF formed the National Fireplace Institute® as the national certification agency for the industry. A comprehensive review process was conducted with the help of industry installers, technical experts, and hearth business owners to determine what industry professionals need to know.

As a result of the formal review process, based on national standards for certification agencies, the HPBEF revised and improved both manuals and exams for gas, woodburning, and pellet certifications. The comprehensive certifications are designed to gain recognition by building officials, code officials, and the general public.

Questions and Answers About NFI Certification

Why do I need help from a knowledgeable hearth professional?

You’re choosing an appliance that can bring years of warmth and comfort to your home… if it’s installed properly. Harnessing the beauty and warmth of fire for the home is not a do-it-yourself project or something you should necessarily trust to the lowest bidder. The hearth in any home is a focal point and center for family enjoyment. As such, it calls for important decisions about the appropriate appliance or products for your goals. Proper placement, venting and protection from combustibles are very important considerations. Both for safety and performance, hearth products require considerable technical knowledge and skill in their design and installation.

How do I find a knowledgeable hearth professional?

As with other trades, an excellent indication of competence is an individual’s training and testing. In the hearth products industry, the National Fireplace Institute® is the independent, nonprofit certification agency that produces professional training materials and conducts nationwide testing of technical knowledge and skills. All of NFI’s activities are overseen by the Hearth Education Foundation, an independent non-profit organization.

How do hearth professionals achieve Certification?

NFI Certification means that an individual has passed a rigorous examination based on a training manual that has been reviewed by industry experts. The training manual for each hearth specialty is a comprehensive reference source for the fundamentals of that subject area, and includes essential topics such as combustion theory, fuel comparisons, safety code regulations, appliance design and sizing. Certification may be earned by hearth industry professionals in three
hearth specialties:

  1. NFI Gas Specialist
  2. NFI Woodburning Specialist
  3. NFI Pellet Specialist

Certification is renewed every three years. Maintaining certification requires substantial ongoing education.

The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certifies chimney sweeps in the United States. CSIA runs the National Chimney Sweep Training School, an intensive six day course, which is where Wooden Sun send its sweeps to be certified. We do not send individuals until they have worked at Wooden Sun for at least a year, proving they have what it takes to be a professional sweep–fit, fearless of heights, conscious of safety, a high level of attention to detail, strong work ethic, and possessing good customer service skills. Once an employee demonstrates those qualities, plus a commitment to excellence in all that they do, we enroll them in the six-day course. Even after they complete the course, we still don’t allow them to sweep on their own until they have demonstrated their proficiency to our master sweep. Sweeps are periodically re-tested to make sure they have the most current knowledge available, and they are required to do ongoing education training to maintain their certification.


Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)

csia logoThe Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certifies chimney sweeps in the United States. CSIA runs the National Chimney Sweep Training School, an intensive six day course, which is where Wooden Sun send its sweeps to be certified. We do not send individuals until they have worked at Wooden Sun for at least a year, proving they have what it takes to be a professional sweep–fit, fearless of heights, conscious of safety, a high level of attention to detail, strong work ethic, and possessing good customer service skills.  Once an employee demonstrates those qualities, plus a commitment to excellence in all that they do, we enroll them in the six-day course. Even after they complete the course, we still don’t allow them to sweep on their own until they have demonstrated their proficiency to our master sweep. Sweeps are periodically re-tested to make sure they have the most current knowledge available, and they are required to do ongoing education training to maintain their certification.

Important questions about your chimney.