When your home improvement plans include installing a new fireplace, or even repairing an existing insert, be sure to speak with experts that you can trust. A simple way to know who to trust is to look for technicians, sales people, and service providers that have been certified by the National Fireplace Institute (NFI). Many fireplace dealers, like HVACDirect.com, have NFI certified technicians on staff ready to speak with you so that you know the advice you're getting is trustworthy and accurate. The same goes for your installer - having that certification will let you know they're an expert. In this article, we'll look at what that certification really means for your home project.
What is the National Fireplace Institute?
The NFI is a non-profit, independent agency that certifies technicians in the safe and proper installation, care and repair of the in-home fireplace. Each technician is put through rigorous training and testing before he or she can become certified. The emphasis of this training is put squarely on safety, which is why homeowners should look to the NFI for help with installation and repairs.
NFI’s main purpose is to provide courteous, professional service in the installation and service of residential fireplace inserts and venting systems. The Institute actively certifies technicians in fourth distinct categories:
●Gas Specialist ●Woodburning Specialist ●Pellet Specialist ●Hearth Design Specialist
How Can the NFI Help You?
When searching for a contractor to install or service your fireplace, consider this: NFI-certified specialists are fully trained in the standards and protocols that make the difference between a safe home environment and one that could turn tragic. These professionals must pass rigorous testing in the installation and service of fireplaces, inserts and stoves, including:
●Safety guidelines and clearances ●National building codes ●Hearth appliance requirements ●Combustion criteria ●Venting applications ●Fuel delivery issues ●Post-installation inspection & service
Though most fireplace service technicians in the marketplace are competent and will do a good job of installing or repairing your hearth appliance, an NFI-certified contractor is at the forefront of his/her profession. They are passionate about providing customers with quality service, and safety is of the utmost importance. Because of that extra attention to guidelines and protocols, selecting an NFI professional is definitely the way to go.
In fact, the entire industry seems to have recognized the need for certified technicians in this area. More customers have begun to demand NFI-certified professionals purely for the safety and service aspects. Plus, many manufacturers prefer their products be installed by technicians who have passed the NFI’s battery of tests. The federal government is even supportive of the Institute, with the Environmental Protection Agency actively recommending that consumers use NFI-certified installers and service pros.
Part of the NFI requirements is for certified technicians to be highly adept in their knowledge of building codes, fuel delivery systems, venting options, combustion criteria, safety clearances and more. Plus, they are able to apply this knowledge to all models they service.
Finding the Right Service Pro
To know you’re getting the best pro for the job, it is important to establish a few determining factors first. Technicians, specifically those with NFI backing, are experts in specialized areas: gas, wood-burning or pellet. Some service pros can be certified in all three, but it is recommended that you choose the contractor that has the skill set and knowledge that exactly matches your needs. It is important to note that regardless of specialty, all NFI techs are experts in the fields of venting, codes and safety guidelines.
The best way to make sure your service professional is certified by the National Fireplace Institute is to simply ask to see their credentials. You may also contact the Institute via phone or email to check if your contractor has successfully completed the training and testing required for certification. You may also check out the National Fireplace Institute's website for more information.