February/March 20010 Volume 34 #2
Table of Contents Features 16 Online Marketing Strategies to Promote Your Business
18 Nine Ways to Keep Your Employees Engaged
21 How to Never Sell Again 22 Meet a Member: Kekuhaupio “Keku” Akana 24 Alone 26 ASA Report Shows Overall Improvements P.22
Departments 3 Presidential Post 6 Editor’s Letter 6 Letters to the Editor 8 Industry Watch P.33
10 Technical Q&A 12 Code Talk 14 Progressive Perks
Sweeping: The Journal of Chimney and Venting Technology (ISSN# 10416692) is published 11 times annually, by the National Chimney Sweep Guild, 2155 Commercial Drive, Plainfield, IN 46168. Annual dues to the National Chimney Sweep Guild are $459 for Voting Member Companies and $689 for Supplier Member Companies, of which $80 goes toward a subscription to Sweeping: The Journal of Chimney and Venting Technology. Additional annual subscriptions are available for $80 by contacting the National Chimney Sweep Guild at the office of publication (NCSG, 2155 Commercial Drive, Plainfield, IN 46168). POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: Sweeping: The Journal of Chimney and Venting Technology National Chimney Sweep Guild 2155 Commercial Drive Plainfield, IN 46168
15 CSIA Update 28 New NCSG Members 30 Dates & Events 32 2009-2010 Sweeps Advantage Coupon Program
33 Perspective 35 Display Ad Index 36 Classifieds FEBRUARY/MARCH 10 SWEEPING 1
NATIONAL CHIMNEY SWEEP GUILD
TECHNICAL ADVISORY COUNCIL Interim TAC Chair Relining, NFPA 211, Chimney Physics Prefabricated Fireplaces Bob Priesing Havelock, NC (252) 447-3611 email@example.com
Stainless steel lining Video scanning Narrative report writing A. Bart Ogden Wichita, KS (316) 265-9828 firstname.lastname@example.org
Masonry construction and restoration Priorfire firebox Chris Prior Middle Grove, NY (518) 882-6091 email@example.com
Installation & Venting of Gas Appliances Dennis Dobbs Fort Payne, AL (256) 845-9814 firstname.lastname@example.org
Customer communications Randy Brooks Ojai, CA (805) 646-896 email@example.com
Installation & Venting of Pellet Stoves Fred Joy Hoyt, KS (785) 986-6432 firstname.lastname@example.org
Codes and standards Gas venting NFPA 54 James Brewer Chesapeake, VA (757) 523-2400 email@example.com
Dryer Vents Jay Walker Tallahassee, FL (850) 528-1357 JRegion2@aol.com
Troubleshooting and diagnosis of venting problems Masonry repair and restoration Guild historian Jack Pixley Andover, MN (763) 422-0481 firstname.lastname@example.org Oil flue sizing, Relining NFPA 31 John Pilger Smithtown, NY (631) 236-7422 email@example.com
NFPA 211, ICC John LaBrosse Hope Valley, RI (401) 377-6009 firstname.lastname@example.org Sweeping, Relining Rich Rua Portsmouth, RI (401) 255-0964 email@example.com Dryer Vents, Masonry Rich Martinez Algonquin, IL (847) 658-7659 Leonardandsons@SBCGlobal.net
Be advised that advice given by NCSG’s Technical Advisory Council (TAC) reflects best practices of the chimney sweeping industry. However, we are unable to account for any particular type of situation since regional variations in construction practices and additional environmental, physical and geographical factors necessarily vary the level of service appropriate for a particular fireplace and/or chimney. Additionally, local laws and ordinances may govern and/or supersede the information and any recommendations provided. Final determinations are the responsibility of a local professional with first-hand knowledge of the situation, and the local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ). Neither NCSG nor any member of TAC will be held liable for any damages whatsoever resulting from the use of or reliance on information provided by anyone associated with TAC. By your use of this member benefit you acknowledge acceptance of these terms.
ADVERTISING RATES for Sweeping: The Journal of Chimney & Venting Technology may be obtained by contacting Malisa Minetree at (317) 815-4688 or SweepingAds@indy.rr.com Design by Laura Houser Design • laurahouser.com • (317) 213-7497
NCSG encourages industry partners to submit press release and articles to Melissa Heeke, Sweeping Editor at mheeke@ ncsg.org. Submissions should contain items of interest or importance to the chimney and venting industry. Submissions should not contain direct solicitations, prices, or a call to action on the part of our readers. Submissions may contain images or artwork attached in a .jpg format. In all cases, NCSG reserves the right to edit submissions to fit space limitations, keep the release and publish at a later date, or refuse to publish the release for any reason. Neither publishing, nor refusing to publish the submission should be considered a statement of NCSG’s opinion regarding the release. NCSG further reserves the right to reject at any time any advertising determined not to be in keeping with the publications’ standards. Acceptance of advertising by Sweeping magazine does not necessarily constitute endorsement of products or services advertised. NCSG does not make any effort to review or substantiate claims made by advertisers. © 2010 National Chimney Sweep Guild, 2155 Commercial Drive, Plainfield, IN 46168 (317) 837-1500
2 SWEEPING FEBRUARY/MARCH 10
NCSG BOARD OF DIRECTORS 2009-2010 President, Region 8 Director Randy Brooks (805) 646-8961 • firstname.lastname@example.org Vice President, At-Large Bob Priesing (252) 447-3611 • email@example.com Treasurer, Region 2 Director Jay Walker (850) 562-4692 • firstname.lastname@example.org Secretary, Region 6 Director Jeremy Biswell (913) 236-7141 • email@example.com Region 1 Director George Stroup (603) 823-7000 • firstname.lastname@example.org Region 3 Director Open Seat FMI: Contact Howard Rowell NCSG Governance Committee Chair (414) 771-2282 or email@example.com . Region 4 Director Dennis Dobbs (256) 845-9814 • firstname.lastname@example.org Region 5 Director Mark Maynard (920) 830-1920 email@example.com Region 7 Director Open Seat Supplier Representative Russ Dimmitt (800) 819-7944 • firstname.lastname@example.org At-Large Directors Stephen Kuber (732) 684-1321 • email@example.com Diane Pilger (631) 863-2460 • firstname.lastname@example.org Open Seat FMI: Contact Howard Rowell NCSG Governance Committee Chair (414) 771-2282 or email@example.com
STAFF 2155 Commercial Drive Plainfield, IN 46168 (317) 837-1500 Fax: (317) 837-5365 Mark McSweeney, CAE Executive Director firstname.lastname@example.org
Megan McMahon Office Manager email@example.com
Melissa Heeke, CAE Director of Communications & Marketing firstname.lastname@example.org
Sara Sichting Certification Coordinator (CSIA) email@example.com
Ashley Eldridge, COI, CPP Director of Education firstname.lastname@example.org
Debbie Cornelius Membership Development Coordinator email@example.com
Judy Thompson, CPA Director of Finance firstname.lastname@example.org
Donna Lee Kasmer Program Coordinator email@example.com
BY RANDY BROOKS NCSG PRESIDENT
t was a pleasure seeing so many of you at the recent National Chimney Sweep Guild convention and trade show. Reconnecting with old friends and making new ones is such a large part of why the event is well-attended and reviewed. If you have never invested in this event, please start planning for next year’s convention and tradeshow in Hartford, CT (February 23-26, 2011), now so you don’t miss out again. As your professional staff and new board of directors prepares for the upcoming annual planning meeting at the Tech Center in Plainfield, IN, we should likewise be planning the future for our own businesses. As NCSG members who have dedicated themselves to be the best in the trade serving their area, and have signed a code of ethics indicating their willingness to learn more, the time couldn’t be better.
at conventions etc. This knowledge is often limited and is not any substitute for the first hand education you can invest in. The fact is, you can harm your business greatly by not investing in education. There have been numerous legal cases I have been retained for over the years, were sweeps have been in business for many years and without having ever invested in education. These sweeps will omit documentation from a report or not provide any report at all. Sweeps will perform a repair or installation without first inspecting the system at the required level and will miss fire safety concerns. Attorneys will focus their case on the amount of available education out there to educate sweeps and question why professionals haven’t invested in this education.
Many NCSG members are also CSAI Certified Chimney Sweeps. Many of those members likewise have furthered their knowledge by attending education and earning certifications offered by the CSIA, FIRE, NFI and others. Hundreds of sweeps annually avail themselves of CEU creditworthy education offered by the facilitators mentioned earlier as well as through regional events held around the country and on the Internet. Continued learning is the cornerstone of any successful business. When looking through the SOPs of my own business, and remembering the origin of the information and how long we have been doing these things, the investments we have made to improve the way we operate today are really put into perspective. We will continue to invest in education aimed at growing our business as we realize we still have a long way to go. Membership in the NCSG can only educate the sweep to a certain extent. Members can certainly ask questions of a technical nature of other members on the discussion list, through the technical advisory council or by simply picking up the phone and calling any of the dozens of sweeps you have personal relationships with through meeting
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Naturally, education and knowledge can be a double-edged sword. We can be held to the high standard of the knowledge and education we have attained. Meaning that, for example, you have invested in CSIA certification, and you opt not to properly communicate and document valuable information as instructed in the program, you can be liable for not upholding the credential’s standards. The best policy naturally is to use the education you have attained and maintain the standards you have tested to in your everyday operations. Many would argue, and I would concur, that a Level I inspection is a minimum requirement of any sweep performed. The only exception to that would have to be communicated with the customer and documented in writing that no inspection was performed at the request of the customer. That being said, I always document with field notes (with the potential in mind for them being subpoenaed at a later date), and include them with my paperwork. Additionally I note on the written documentation that oral communication took place concerning my findings as well. I have spoken to many sweeps that feel if they don’t put anything down on paper, they are somehow isolated from responsibility. This is far from accurate. As professionals, the public looks to us and to professionals in other fields as the authority on the issue of contract. In this case, the issue is the chimney and venting system. I remember those early days in my career before much or any education was available to me when I legitimately didn’t know the safety
4 SWEEPING FEBRUARY/MARCH 10
concerns or performance concerns I understand today. I owe that knowledge to the investments I have made through the years in my education. I challenge each of us this year to invest in ourselves through quality education provided through the industry. Expand the knowledge you provide to your customers and expand your bottom line as well. Invest your hard-earned dollars back into the industry that has provided such a high quality of living for all of us. To the hundreds of members with little to no education, I believe that you are walking a thin line. Look around you at the vast amount of quality education and invest in yourselves. You will not regret spending money on education that brings such an immediate return on investment. With the economy turning around ever so slowly, as an industry we must grow our numbers, knowledge, incomes and acquaintances to be the best we can be. Our founders envisioned an industry that the consumer turns to for their every venting need. We have moved significantly in that direction and will continue the march for years to come. Innovation in every area is always at the forefront. Until next time and as always, keeping the health and well being of all sweeps in my thoughts and prayers. Randy Brooks
BY MELISSA HEEKE NCSG DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS
Running your own business is not an easy job. Having employees may be even more difficult. This month’s issue inadvertently became focused on employees. On page 18, Customer Care Coach Joanna Brandi shares her insights on how to keep employees engaged. We get to meet Kekuhaupio Akana of Shakasweepers and his employees on page 22. And, Greg Polakow shares his thoughts whether or not to have employees starting on page 24.
corner. More often than not innovation knocks when you or an employee sees something as though for the first time. Or when you ask yourself any of these questions: How can I do this better? …Easier? …Faster? …Smarter? Now is the time to look within and improve yourself and your business. I hope that this issue of Sweeping helps you do just that. All the best for a safe and successful Spring!
Whether you have employees or not, you do have the opportunity to take a bit of time to (yes, I’m going to say it again) work on your business now that Spring is just around the
Letter to the Editor Sweeping an Oil-Fired Appliance Chimney Dear Editor, I read with interest the article “Sweeping an Oil-Fired Appliance Chimney” because I spent 20 years cleaning furnaces. Our ruleof-thumb about cleaning these chimneys was always this: “The soot flakes off the walls of the chimney and falls to the bottom”. Therefore we only cleaned the bottom of the chimney and “Power-Vacuumed” it. (Power-Vacuum Trucks generate 5,000 cfm through an 8 inch hose.) While I am sure the benefits cited of sweeping these chimneys are valid, (such as reducing corrosion), my main point of disagreement is this: If the chimney is dirty with soot, then the appliance is also dirty and must be cleaned also. Effective cleaning of an oil-fired appliance is best accomplished with a Power-Vacuum Truck and attached compressed-air nozzles. Not to mention the ease of containing the terribly oily and dirty soot particles during cleaning. sincerely, Philip Krogh (member NCSG) Dryer Vent Solutions Woodinville, WA 425-398-5001 Editor’s Note: Since I’m not an expert on oil heating, I sent Philip Krogh’s comment to the author for a response. John Pilger’s response:
6 SWEEPING FEBRUARY/MARCH 10
Philip, I certainly agree with you that in some cases a poor performing oil-fired appliance will soot up the chimney and it is very important to the appliance’s efficiency that the appliance also be cleaned. It is very possible that the chimney can be dirty and the appliance itself can be clean. Let me give you an example: the oil heat technician services the appliance annually, but the chimney may have not been swept in three years. In year one and two the appliance is running great, but in year three the nozzle gets fouled and the appliance starts to run poorly, sooting the heat exchangers, connector pipes and chimney. The oil heat technician comes in and changes the nozzle, brushes out the heat exchanges and vacuums out the fire chamber. He then makes the proper burner adjustments, checks the flame and is on his way. The appliance is clean but the chimney is still dirty. I am often asked if the chimney sweep should come before or after the oil heat technician. Since, in order to perform a proper tune up, the venting system must be able to perform its intended function. So the chimney should be swept (if needed) before the tune-up. I will not debate which method of cleaning a boiler is better, the Power-Vacuum Truck and attached compressed-air nozzles or the brush and vacuum method recommended by National Oil Heat Alliance (NORA) Technicians manual. Either way a clean appliance and chimney is very important to the boiler’s efficiency. John Pilger Chief Chimney Services, Inc. Smithtown, NY
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Industry Watch Duct Cleaners’ Supply’s Build-A-Brush™ Receives Patent The Build-A-Brush™ can be configured in many different ways depending on the need at hand. The system comes with specially channeled, flat metal components. Varying numbers of these components can be stacked, each layer holding a scouring medium. A chimney sweep or duct cleaner can examine the task at hand, choose a scouring medium and brush configuration which will best suit the conditions, and put together a brush custom fitted to the job. All parts are reusable, so the components can be used over and over again—even in different configurations if desired. The Build-A-Brush™ can use many different types of “scouring media,” such as cable, weed trimmer line, wire, springs and more. Duct Cleaners’ Supply has a wide range of specialized tools for air duct, dryer vent and chimney service. Industry Watch Policy NCSG encourages industry partners to submit press releases to Melissa Heeke, Sweeping: The Journal of Chimney & Venting Technology editor, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions should contain items of interest or importance to the chimney and venting industry. Submissions should not contain direct solicitations, prices, or a call to action on the part of our readers. Submissions may contain images or artwork attached in a .jpg format. In all cases, NCSG reserves the right to edit submissions to fit space limitations, keep the release and publish at a later date, or refuse to publish the release for any reason. Neither publishing nor refusing to publish the submission should be considered a statement of NCSG’s opinion regarding the release.
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JUST A REMINDER – HOW YOU CAN EARN $$$$$$! Did you know that by promoting membership in the NCSG you not only help the Guild but you will reap rewards too! Simply refer a new NCSG member and you will receive a $50 certificate you may use the next time you pay your dues saving you some $$$$. To participate go to the NCSG website and obtain a copy of the membership application form. Be sure you put your name under Item #2 Who referred you to the NCSG? OR you may send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and request that NCSG membership information be sent on your behalf to people who should join. Please provide the complete contact information i.e. name, address, telephone number and email address if available. Your participation in the Member-Get-A-Member program not only helps strengthen the Guild’s membership but allows you to win too!!
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New NCSG Regions Effective February 23, 2010 Region 1: Connecticut, Vermont, Massachusetts, New York, Maine, Rhode Island, New Hampshire Region 2: Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania Region 3: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia Region 4: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio Region 5: Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Wisconsin Region 6: Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming
10 SWEEPING FEBRUARY/MARCH 10
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BY BOB PRIESING OF HAVELOCK CHIMNEY & VENTING IN HAVELOCK, NC
Level II Inspections The NFPA 211 states several circumstances that indicate the need for a Level II inspection. Among them are any time conditions of use of the chimney have changed, or when questions about a chimney can’t be answered by a Level I inspection. Also, weather or seismic events or other conditions that may have caused damage give rise to a Level II inspection. A Level II inspection is going to be much more thorough than a Level I inspection. The differences are detailed in Table 14.3.1 and in paragraph 14.5 of the 2006 NFPA 211. The first thing to be aware of is that the Level II inspection includes all aspects of a Level I. The more in-depth steps are in addition to those in the Level I, not in place of them. For instance, a Level I inspection requires us to view readily accessible portions of the chimney and flue, while the Level II requires us to view all accessible portions including the internal surfaces of the flue liner. It’s important that sweeps performing Level II inspections don’t get so focused on video scanning the flue that they fail to document that the chimney terminates only one foot above the roof! Performing a Level II inspection will require the sweep to move throughout the house. The chimney is to be inspected in all accessible areas, including the roof top, the chimney top, the attic, basement or crawlspace. It may surprise some to learn that components such as the flashing and cricket are within the scope of the Level II inspection. A Level II inspection is called for “upon sale or transfer of the property”. This not only indicates when the home is being bought or sold, but also calls for a Level II inspection when new tenants move into rental property. In my mind, this also falls under “any time conditions of use have changed”. Certainly different occupants, be they tenants or owners, are going to burn (use) the system differently.
12 SWEEPING FEBRUARY/MARCH 10
Another situation that calls for a Level II inspection is the addition or removal of a connected appliance, or the replacement of an appliance with one of a different type, input rating or efficiency. So if an old pre-EPA stove is being replaced with a newer, more efficient EPA-certified stove, a Level II inspection is in order. It’s also in order when installing an insert stove in an open fireplace. I also believe that the Level II inspection is indicated when gas logs are installed in an open fireplace previously used to burn wood, or if gas logs are being removed and the fireplace is going to be used to burn wood again. Seismic and weather events or other incidents that could cause damage to a chimney are also appropriate occasions to perform the Level II inspection. In some parts of the country this would mean tornadoes or earthquakes. In others it may be a hurricane or flood that leads us to the Level II. One other event found throughout the country that would indicate a Level II is a chimney fire. Any time a chimney fire is reported or suspected, the Level II inspection should be performed. In my next article I’ll focus more on the differences in scope between the Level I and the Level II inspection. Remember, it’s our responsibility as professionals to be thoroughly versed in these standards, and to use them in our daily activities, whether the NFPA 211 is adopted as code in our area or not. These are the recognized standards of our profession.
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BY DEBBIE CORNELIUS MEMBERSHIP DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR
Continuing to work for you as a Member of the NCSG! Another year has come and gone – where does the time go? As you read this issue of Sweeping I have hopefully had the opportunity to see you at the NCSG Innovation 2010 convention and tradeshow in Indianapolis. If you weren’t able to attend the convention, know that I am always available by phone or email to discuss the many membership benefits available to you. As we enter 2010, we all need to remain optimistic and keep a positive attitude to strive to provide better customer service. A positive outlook will enhance both our personal attitude as well as the services we offer to our clients. And a positive customer service experience is exactly what we, the staff at NCSG, continue to strive for as we serve the NCSG membership. Providing you with the tools you, as a dues paying member, need to get the best value from your membership is a very
important aspect of my position with the NCSG. For that reason, I continue to search for new member benefits that will save you and your business money but also benefits that will make your life a little easier. I am always open to suggestions. There are numerous membership benefits available to you 24/7 online at www.NCSG.org/benefits. Many of the special codes and coupons you’ll need are online and can be accessed with your username and password. If you’ve misplaced your login information, please give the Guild office a call. Any one of us can help get you logged in in just a few minutes. If I didn’t see you this year in Indianapolis, I do hope you will either drop me a line via email at email@example.com or give me a call at (317) 837-1500 to discuss your membership benefits.
We have your best interest in mind. After all, we are also Chimney Sweeps so we know the road you travel. Check out some of the new trails we have blazed: New catalog: Full color catalog includes technical information, marketing and sales tips New products: Increasing your sales and saving you time Newsletter: Local updates, business management and more New Website: The information superhighway including the latest in technical, sales, marketing and business management information, a dealer locater, industry events, industry contacts and a blog with information that is updated several times a week. Online Ordering 24/7: Our catalog and easy-to-use shopping cart save you valuable time! Check us out on Facebook: Lindemann-Chimney-Supply and become a fan!
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14 SWEEPING FEBRUARY/MARCH 10
CALIFORNIA Damon Wallace • Chimney Doctor • San Luis Obispo GEORGIA Matthew Goode • Chimney Guy • Tybee Island MASSACHUSSETTS Raymond Rivera • Boston’s Best Chimney Sweep • Waltham PENNSYLVANIA Tom Beitler • Beitler’s Chimney Service • Newville
April 26 – May 1, 2010 National Chimney Sweep Training School
May 7, 2010 CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep Review & Exam
May 17-21, 2010 This event will take place with enough interest. Installing and Troubleshooting Gas Hearth Appliances
June 2-4, 2010 Inspection & Report Writing
June14-19, 2010 National Chimney Sweep Training School
July 19-21, 2010 Chimney Physics
Please visit www.csia.org to verify that your contact information is correct.
July 29, 2010 CSIA Certified Dryer Exhaust Technician Review & Exam
July 30, 2010
Free Quarterly Marketing Webinars Just for CCSs
CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep Review & Exam
August 2-7, 2010 National Chimney Sweep Training School
The CCS Marketing Taskforce has launched its quarterly marketing webinar series for Certified Chimney Sweeps! The webinars are scheduled to be held quarterly (starting with the first session in early February with Marketing Like Mad: How I Did It,Toilet Paper Style with Mike Michalowicz of The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur) at no charge to Certified Chimney Sweeps.
Sept. 27-Oct. 2, 2010 National Chimney Sweep Training School
November 5, 2010 CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep Review & Exam
Congratulations to Our New CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps
Remaining on the lineup: April: Closing More Sales with Dave Pomeroy JULY: Marketing: Creating an Unfair Competitive Advantage with Chris Sculles of McGuffin Creative Group OCTOBER: Get to the Point! (And Get People to See Things Your Way!) with Terri Langhans of Blah, Blah, Blah Log in to the For Certs Only area to learn more and to register. It’s free, but we still need to know you’re coming!
CSIA.org Statistics At-A-Glance 800,000 700,000 600,000 500,000
This event will take place with enough interest. Installing and Troubleshooting Woodburning Hearth Appliances
March 22-26, 2010
All sessions take place at the CSIA Technology Center near Indianapolis.Visit www.CSIA.org or call (317) 837-5362 for more information and to register.
What’s Going on at the Tech Center?
2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 FEBRUARY/MARCH 10 SWEEPING 15
BY HOLLY BERKLEY OF BERKLEY WEB STRATEGIES
Online Marketing Strategies to Promote Your Business
icture yourself at the ball game cracking through a bag of dry roasted peanuts. You’re on your second handful when that familiar red and white logo pops up on the big screen advertising an ice-cold Coca-Cola. You immediately track down the next vendor with a basket of icecold drinks. This is called “pin point marketing.” It is the process of delivering an appropriate message at the right time that produces actual results. In contrast, let’s say you are enjoying those same peanuts when an advertisement for Toyota Trucks pops up on the same screen. It’s a nice ad, but not nearly as effective. This is an example of “interruptive marketing.” It is not truly targeted because it is not what you are actively looking for at that moment. What does this scenario have to do with your business? Well, rather than wasting valuable marketing dollars on billboards, 30-second television ads or radio commercials (all examples of “interruptive marketing”) focus your energy on putting your product in front of potential customers while they are looking for it. Unlike when people watch TV or listen to the radio, Internet users are actively looking for a solution to a problem. If you can place your product in their path at the right time, you’ve made a customer. The most cost-effective way to achieve this is by combining your marketing message with important content that users are already actively seeking out. Start by submitting “how-to” or “industry news” type articles to relevant Web sites in your industry. Unique Web content is important to all size companies. And, buying custom content is expensive and time consuming. As a result most companies are willing to trade a free plug for your Web site or company for an informative, well-written article. Every article you submit should enhance your company’s position as an expert or industry leader, while providing valuable information at the same time. Content written around your company or product also helps your business gain credibility, which is extremely important for small businesses.
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When a potential customer reads your article, you have already established yourself as an expert in that field. By the time the customer clicks over to your Web site or gives you a call, you have a very hot lead. Perhaps you own a local painting business. Your target customers are most likely looking for home improvement information online, so you could exchange stories and “how to” advice with local carpenters or electricians. Or take it a step further and submit your “expert painting advice” to popular home improvement and real estate Web sites. You can swap content with anyone in your industry that is not a direct competitor. By doing so, you’ll open your company up to a wider audience while building up your credibility. Also, think about what type of person will be using the Web site you select to post your article. For example, studies show that a mother of two who needs a quick dinner recipe will do a quick search, and then print out the page. So animated banners ads or even a link to your Web site may not be the most effective way to get her attention. On the other hand, adding a clip out coupon to the article would be very effective. In traditional media, one positive sentence in editorial is worth much more than two paid advertisements. The same is true on the Internet. Getting a free link or product mention on another Web site is an extremely valuable way to gain high quality leads. Combine that free link or product mention with a well-written article and you’ll turn that product mention into a sale. Holly Berkley is the author of Limited-Budget Online Marketing for Small Business and owner of Berkley Web Strategies, a San Diego-based Web design and online marketing company specializing in helping all size businesses succeed online.
BY JOANNA BRANDI, CUSTOMER CARE COACH
Nine Ways to Keep Employees Engaged
re your employees engaged in their work, or are they estranged from your company’s mission and their role in making it happen? Mounting evidence suggests that the more engaged employees are in what they do, the better their performance and the higher the rewards for everyone. The key is to have managers who are skilled at creating employee engagement. This article offers nine tips for giving employees what they need so that they’re willing to be and do their best. Are your employees giving your company “their all?” Do they believe that what they’re doing is important? Do they feel appreciated? Do they show up for work each day with passion and purpose? A red flag should go up if you answered “no” to any of those questions. Why? Managers who aren’t taking care of their employees are missing out on significant cost-savings and profits. There is a growing body of research on this topic. For example:
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• Gallup International reported that businesses in the top 24 percent of employee engagement had less turnover and remarkably higher percentages of customer loyalty, profitability and revenues. • Extensive studies by HayGroup revealed powerful links between employee engagement and productivity, which ultimately impacts the bottom line. • Workplace values expert John Izzo has abundant proof that this ‘generation’ of employees is more conscious of their own needs and of their place in the world For business leaders in companies of all sizes, the writing is on the wall: You can make and save money by keeping employees engaged. Here are nine management tips for creating and sustaining employee engagement: 1) Let go of any negative opinions you may have about your employees. Approach each of them as a source of unique
knowledge with something valuable to contribute to the company. Remember that you are co-creating the achievement of a vision with them.
interest in their well being and that, when appropriate, you do what it takes to enable them to feel more fulfilled and better balanced.
2) Make sure employees have everything they need to do their jobs. Remember when you started a new school year and you’d prepare by getting all new school supplies? Why not build just such an opportunity into your department simply by asking each staff member, or the team as a whole, “Do you have everything you need to be as competent as you can be?” Remember, just as marketplace and customer needs change at daily, so do your employees’ needs change.
5) Make sure they are trained and retrained in problem solving and conflict resolution skills. These critical skills will help them interact better with you, their teammates, customers and suppliers. It’s common sense—better communications reduce stress and increase positive outcomes.
3) Clearly communicate what’s expected of employees—what the company values and vision are, and how the company defines success. Employees can’t perform well or be productive if they don’t clearly know what it is they’re there to do—and the part they play in the overall success of the company. Be sure to communicate your expectations, and to do it often. 4) Get to know your employees, especially their goals, their stressors, what excites them and how they each define success. I’m not suggesting you pry too deeply or start ‘counseling’ your team members. What I am suggesting is that you show an
6) Constantly ask how you are doing in your employees’ eyes. I know it can be difficult for managers to request employee feedback—and it can be equally if not more challenging for an employee to give the person who evaluates them an honest response. To get strong at this skill and to model it for employees, begin dialogs with employees using conversation starters such as, “It’s one of my goals to constantly improve myself as a manager. What would you like to see me do differently? What could I be doing to make your job easier?” Be sure to accept feedback graciously and to express appreciation. 7) Pay attention to company stories and rituals. Are people laughing at each other or with each other? Do they repeat stories of success of moments of shame? Stay away from participating
FEBRUARY/MARCH 10 SWEEPING 19
in discussions that are destructive to people or the organization, and keep success stories alive. 8) Reward & recognize employees in ways that are meaningful to them (that’s why getting to know your employees is so important). And remember to celebrate both accomplishments and efforts to give employees working on long-term goals a boost. 9) Be consistent for the long haul. If you start an ‘engagement initiative’ and then drop it your efforts will backfire, creating employee estrangement. People are exhausted and exasperated from ‘program du jour’ initiatives that engage their passion and then fizzle out when the manager gets bored, fired or moved to another department. There’s a connection between an employee’s commitment to an initiative and a manager’s commitment to supporting it. A manager’s ongoing commitment to keeping people engaged, involved in and excited about the work they do and the challenges they face must be a daily priority.
Ultimately, you must keep in mind that employees are a company’s greatest assets. Their collective ideas, feedback and enthusiasm for what they do can help your business grow and succeed. Some people are naturally wired to give their all and do their best no matter where they work. But the majority of people require the guidance of skilled managers who welcome their ideas, ask for feedback and generate enthusiasm in order to have a sense of purpose and energy about what they do.
JoAnna Brandi is Publisher of the Customer Care Coach® a weekly training program on mastering “The Art and Science of Exquisite Customer Care.” She is the author of Winning at Customer Retention, 101 Ways to Keep ‘em Happy, Keep ‘em Loyal and Keep ‘em Coming Back. Visit her Web site and sign up for her free email tip on customer care at www.customercarecoach. com.
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Olympia - Always Innovating, Never Imitating! www.olympiachimney.com • Phone: 1-800-569-1425 20 SWEEPING FEBRUARY/MARCH 10
BY LYNDA-ROSS VEGA OF VEGA BEHAVIORAL CONSULTING
How to Never Sell Again If you’re like most people, the idea of selling fills you with fear and dread. Maybe it’s the fear of rejection or the cheesy sales pitch. Regardless, it’s not an activity many of us look forward to. Usually the image that comes to mind is that of a used car salesman - a backslapping, glad-handing, insincere person with a gift for gab, and a pressure close. Very few of us want to see ourselves like that. Yet in reality, you sell to people every day. If you didn’t, it would be very hard to survive in this world.
Here’s how; practice. Today, intentionally set out to influence or persuade three people. Try something silly with no pressure. Notice what specific behaviors you use that seem to have a positive effect and what behaviors seem to “turn people off.” Lynda-Ross Vega: A partner at Vega Behavioral Consulting, Ltd., Lynda-Ross specializes in helping entrepreneurs and coaches build dynamite teams and systems that WORK. For free information on how to succeed as an entrepreneur or coach, create a thriving business and build your bottom line doing more of what you love, visit www.VRFT.com
When you have a discussion with your co-worker about your feelings on global warming, you’re “selling.” When you persuade your child to pick up her clothes, you’re “selling.” When you change your spouse’s mind about where to go out for dinner, you’re “selling.” Without this selling it would be extremely difficult to get the things you need from others and to get others to appreciate what you have to offer. So the problem is not with the activity as much as it is with our interpretation of the word “sell.” What would happen if, instead of selling, you practiced the “art of persuasion?” What could you accomplish if you understood selling to simply mean the goal of educating someone else to see your point of view?
Lennox Hearth Products Distributor Specializing in Factory Replacement Parts, Refractory Kits and panels for the Lennox Hearth family of Fireplaces & Stoves
How would that change your feelings about the activities involved? Knowing how to persuade and influence others is definitely one of the key skills that anyone who is successful possesses. Depending on our particular perceptual style, each of us has our own way of persuading and influencing. So, if the word “sales” gives you the willies, discover your style and learn how to influence others naturally!
Lennox, Superior, Marco, Whitfield, Earth Stove, Country Stove. All our parts are Lennox factory or our warehouse shipped.
1-800-331-9234 www.specialtysupplyco.com E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org FEBRUARY/MARCH 10 SWEEPING 21
Meet a Member Kekuhaupio “Keku” Akana, Shakasweepers LLC Makawao, Maui, Hawaii Aloha! My name is Kekuhaupio “Keku” Akana. I am the founder of Shakasweepers LLC in Maui, Hawaii. We were established in 1994 and our spectrum of business includes full service chimney sweeping and vent cleaning. We are also Hawaii’s Authorized Lennox Fireplace Dealer and we install, service and repair all types of wood-burning and gas-burning fireplaces and stoves. We are a family-owned and operated company and employ my wife and son fulltime and two of our son-in-laws on a part-time basis. And we have a journeyman carpenter who we employ on an as-needed basis. We operate with two service trucks and have worked on the Islands of Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai and our home Island of Maui. We also sell stoves and fireplaces on the Big Island of Hawaii. I have been a member of NCSG since 1995 and am a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep and a C-DET Certified Clothes Dryer Exhaust Technician. I am also a retired Maui County Police Officer with 25 years of service and a graduate of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia. I am currently in my last year of college (hey, life long learner!) and will be attaining an Associates Degree in Criminal Justice and a Bachelor’s Degree in the Social Sciences this year.
1. How did you get into the business? My wife and I purchased a used Preway conical free-standing fireplace back in 1992 and a few years later realized there were no reputable local chimney sweep on the Island.. I was a Police Lieutenant at the time, half-way through my career and knew I would retire relatively young (age 47) so I was always looking for a fun part-time business. We drove the upper elevations of our Island (Maui) and started counting chimneys. We stopped counting after 1,000 and went for it! I purchased an August West package (not quite complete), Soot Sweeper and all. Boy, were we in for a rude awakening. The first fireplace we tried to clean was a masonry chimney that had two flues with 30 degree bends and a flat low slate cover! Our equipment only consisted of stiff quick-connect rods and wire brushes! I could snap handcuffs on any culprit at that time but I had never looked up a masonry fireplace in my life! My son-in-law and I sure stared up into that tiny rusted throat damper a long, long time. 2. What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started out? Besides never trying to force a hard wire brush up a frozen throat damper….Man, a whole slew of things. I now know that this is a profession. A true and trusted trade. We are really white collar workers that work in soot-stained environments
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where few people ever desire to tread. We are the Calvary of fire safety. There isn’t anyone else coming (to service, clean and inspect hearth systems). Our customers want to believe in us. We are unique. We need to try our best and get it right and educate ourselves to the maximum. Education with application is the best General Liability insurance. I certainly wish we attended ALL of the onsite training classes and certifications early on in our career. You know, there is one very big parallel between law enforcement and chimney sweeps…That is people are relying on us to keep them safe! I certainly wish we attended all of the onsite training classes and certifications offered by NCSG, CSIA and other organizations early on in the life of our business, but man is it expensive coming from Hawaii!. We are working on this for the next generation of family sweeps. It’s never too late. 3. What do you like most about the business? The least? Speaking for all of us, its got to be the thank you card from the customer or the short note on the payment check with a big mahalo (thank you) note attached. We just had a wonderful note from a coffee roaster company which said, “You guys are great!” We thrive on customer satisfaction. The least, for me is easy… Cleaning those soot-filled,
dust-filled, lint-filled, debris-filled HEPA filters and service vacs. Second would be that once in a while customer that you just have to fire!
9. What is your favorite quote? Well, first of all, I really enjoy Mark McSweeney’s column. He is well-read.
4. What three accomplishments are you most proud of? Of course, I am the most proud of my wife Cindy and our grown children, Kuulei, Kuuipo and Kawika. Besides being a great wife, mom and grandmother, she is the lead in the field and she is a great salesperson. My kids have all grown up to be decent, respectful contributing citizens. I had a wonderful career in law enforcement rising to the rank of Deputy Police Chief at the Maui Police Department while serving and commanding 440 employees for six years. Lastly, was my adventure with writing a Dryer Vent Cleaning manual in 1999 and selling five copies after advertising it in SNEWS! As I read it now, it was pretty general, but there are topics in there that still have application, like big job bidding, condo complex work methodologies, marketing stuff etc. Someday I’ll update it and improve it.
I have many. But two that come to my mind now are,“Worse than blindness is sight without vision.” - Helen Keller
5. “I still can’t quite get the hang of…” Anything mechanical. I’m the company philosopher and legal nerd. My son Kawika is our main roof man and primary worker with my son-in-law Albert being the journeyman HVAC plumber/ pipe fitter and gas fireplace installer and son-in-law Awakea is an all-around worker. They know the tools and do the real work. 6. What was your high school/college nickname? I didn’t really have one, although in my police career I was called Polar Bear. 7.Who/What is your major influence? Most definitely Jesus of Nazareth and his eternal wisdom. Secondly, the common men and women that I encounter in my daily walk of life, collectively giving their own tincture of wisdom as unique the fingerprints on their hands.
And “How can a person change? In three ways, by example, by example and by example.”-Albert Schweitzer 10. If you could invite three people to dinner, living or dead, who would you invite and why? Besides, my Father and younger brother who passed in life young. Jesus, Winston Churchill and Joe Louis the great heavyweight boxer. I would have to extend an invitation to Erwin Rommel, the great German General also. (Sorry that’s four!) 11. The only thing you know for sure about this business is? You will never fail if you work hard and stick to the fundamentals of education, elite customer service and maintaining your code of ethics. 12. What one question would you like to ask an NCSG Member? Time to hold the National Convention in Maui. Hawaii? “Tiny bubbles, in the wine, make me happy, make me feel fine…!!!” If you or someone you know would like to be featured in an upcoming issue of Sweeping: The Journal of Chimney & Venting Technology, please contact Melissa Heeke, Editor, at (317) 837-1500 or email@example.com
8. How do you recharge after a long day/week/month? Fitness, barbells, lap swimming, long walks and reading. Gatherings with the family and the grandchildren. I also try to take my Sabbath seriously (I don’t swear ‘til 0005 hours Monday morning) and yes, a few cold ones!
FEBRUARY/MARCH 10 SWEEPING 23
BY GREG POLAKOW OF COPPERFIELD
any years ago I got a cab ride from Manhattan to La Guardia during which the driver, who owned the cab, spent considerable time enumerating for me the many advantages of being self-employed. The number one advantage being that whenever he wanted to go on vacation all he had to do was to park the cab in his garage and go. No worry about what who would run his business while he was away. And his cab, his business, would be waiting for him unscathed and ready to roll when he got home and was ready to resume his work. Out of politeness I refrained from pointing out to him that his business was also not producing income for him while he was gone. But I expect he knew that. And what he was really saying was that the possible extra income was worth much less to him than the peace of mind knowing his business was not in someone else’s hands while he was away. I know a slew of sweeps who are single operators of their business. And who forgo the possible financial consequences of that kind of operation for the huge peace of mind it affords them. Many have run larger sweep organizations in the past…office staff, several service personnel and trucks, etc, etc. And now, having cut back to a leaner operation, although not as wealthy as in the past, are far happier with the simpler, less stressful version of life they are discovering having no one to be concerned about but themselves. Yes, they all recognize there are downsides to creating a job for themselves rather than building a business they might be able to sell when it comes time to retire. They know they could make more money with employees to help them. They know they might even be able to get off the roof earlier in their career by hiring guys that can do that work for them. They even know the business will cease to produce income when they take a week or two off for vacation.
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These people are not dummies. More than all those considerations, they seem to value the uncluttered simplicity of their lives without employees,…yes, even more than they value the possible financial upside of a larger operation. It’s pretty difficult to argue with that perspective. So often we are willing to incur huge loads of stress and excessive numbers of hours on the job in order to increase our income. It is such a common feature of business in America we rarely examine it to determine its value. But talk to any of your sweep friends who run their business alone and you may come to appreciate the many hidden benefits of a smaller operation. It’s hard to put a dollar figure on peace of mind, on reduced stress, on being more rested, more at ease. Having said all that, I also recognize that there are many who prefer to run a big operation, who enjoy the challenge of hiring, training and supervising employees, and who like the activity and responsibility that comes with managing an organization. It would be wrong to suggest that there is any one best way to run a business. What I am saying is that each person should decide for himself which kind of life he prefers. Neither approach is perfect for everyone. But if you’ve been unwittingly sucked into the concept that you have to have a big business in order to be “successful,” it may be worth taking a look at the opposite point of view. You may well discover a lifestyle that is more suitable to your personality and your preferences, and learn, as many others have, that ultimately the only person you need to please is yourself
BY THE AMERICAN SUBCONTRACTORS ASSOCIATION
ASA Report Shows Overall Improvement in Policy Environment for Subcontractors in ‘Great Recession,’ but Much Work Remains Kansas, California and New York Join New Mexico as States Receiving Passing Grades In one of the most challenging economic environments in decades, construction subcontractors continue to secure major public policy victories at the state level, according to The ASA Report: The Policy Environment in the States. Released by the American Subcontractors Association, this year’s report shows that three states – Kansas, California and New York – made strides significant enough to earn a ‘D’ or better and join New Mexico as the only states with passing grades for supporting/ protecting subcontractor rights.
payment claims. Gov. David Paterson, D, signed the bill into law on Sept. 9, 2009.
“The 2009 ASA Report shows that complex policy changes can happen when ASA members speak with one voice, regardless of how tough the business environment might be,” said 2009-10 ASA President Darlene East, Holes Incorporated, Houston, Texas. “ASA urges construction subcontractors to use the results of The ASA Report to help policymakers understand why reforms are needed to implement positive change for the construction industry.”
ASA is contacting the media, legislators and others across the country to share the results of The ASA Report. ASA’s campaign warns subcontractors of weaknesses in their state laws, provides advocacy information to help change laws, and educates subcontractors about the need to remain vigilant when negotiating contracts in a harsh public policy environment. ASA’s report scores and grades each state in seven policy areas and uses the results to calculate an overall score, grade and rank for each state. Taking into account both laws and judicial decisions, the report scores: (1) Prompt payment protections; (2) Treatment of pay-if-paid clauses; (3) Mechanic’s lien protections; (4) Payment bond protections; (5) Retainage limitations; (6) Antiindemnity protections, including limits on “additional insured” endorsements; and (7) Anti-“bid shopping” measures.
Kansas earned the points needed for a passing grade for enactment of the landmark Controlled Insurance Programs Act (H.B. 2214), which was signed into law by Gov. Mark Parkinson, D, on May 21, 2009. This law makes Kansas the first state to comprehensively regulate the terms and conditions of CIPs, also know as wrap-up insurance. Enactment was a major accomplishment for ASA – Greater Kansas City. ASA of California worked hard to win enactment of California’s wrap-up insurance law (A.B. 2738), which requires owners, builders and contractors that obtain a wrap-up insurance policy to disclose the terms of the program to contractors and subcontractors required to enroll in the wrap-up program. The measure was signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, R, on Sept. 27, 2008, pushing California’s grade from an ‘F’ to a ‘D.’ And in New York, the state’s legislature passed A.B. 6493, helping the state to earn a passing grade this year as well. This reform of the state’s prompt payment law eliminated a loophole that allowed parties to a private construction contract to negotiate payment terms other than those outlined by the state’s prompt pay law. The measure also decreases by half the dollar thresholds that trigger the payment deadlines, affirms contractors’ and subcontractors’ right to suspend work with cost reimbursement if they are not paid, and establishes procedures for arbitration of
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Other states experienced changes in their overall scores, but not grades, due to legislative/judicial activity, including Arkansas, New Hampshire and North Dakota. Arkansas adopted new limits on retainage and revised its mechanic’s lien law. New Hampshire enacted a form of bid listing, and North Dakota reformed its mechanic’s lien law.
In this year’s report, ASA added an “extra credit” course that evaluates how well states regulate CIPs. This extra credit course rewarded states that have taken the initiative to regulate these non-standard insurance programs, which can have hidden risks for subcontractors that participate in them. The scoring included policies pertaining to private work and to public work. States with comprehensive regulations that protect subcontractors’ rights in wrap-ups and establish requirements for program components and sponsors earned five extra credit points. ASA awarded three points to those states that set basic requirements for wrap-up programs, such as minimum project size, maximum deductibles or disclosure of program terms. Mechanic’s Liens The Arkansas Legislature passed H.B. 1594, which clarifies subcontractor and supplier lien rights and stipulates that the prevailing party in a mechanic’s lien suit is entitled to attorneys’
fees and other legal costs. The measure, signed into law by Gov. Mike Beebe, D, on Mar. 19, 2009, increased Arkansas’s score in the mechanic’s lien course from 59 to 61. North Dakota adopted S.B. 2250, which guarantees that any person that improves a property, “whether under contract with the owner of such real estate or under contract with any agent, trustee, contractor, or subcontractor of the owner” is entitled to a construction lien, and must only give notice to the owner before filing the lien. Gov. John Hoeven, R, signed the bill into law on April 28, 2009. The state’s score in this course increased from 38 to 51. South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, R, signed a new law on June 2, 2009, that requires lien claimants to be licensed or registered as required by law. H. 3187 also includes a provision that limits the time lien claimants have to file perfecting lawsuits to six months. The measure lowers South Carolina’s mechanic’s lien score from 44 to 42. Five states changed their mechanic’s lien laws without triggering a change in score. Illinois passed H.B. 236, which stipulates that contractors on a single-family residence must give notice 10 days before recording a lien. Montana, Colorado, Tennessee and Pennsylvania all changed procedures for lien waivers or releases. H.B. 326 in Montana clarifies that all lien releases must include the signature of the filer before they may be recorded by the county, closing a potentially dangerous loophole. In Colorado, S.B. 137 makes it a class 1 misdemeanor to sign a lien waiver for a construction loan and then knowingly fail to pay. In Tennessee, soliciting someone to sign a contract containing a lien waiver will result in the solicitor getting its license revoked and fee reimbursement for the solicited party thanks to S.B. 1417. In Pennsylvania, S.B. 563 removed a provision in the state’s residential mechanic’s lien law that prohibited lien waivers on projects valued at more than $1 million. The new law also expands the definition of residential construction to include land development and structures “not more than 3 stories in height” built for residential purposes. Anti-‘Bid Shopping’ New Hampshire enacted S.B. 78, which requires general contractors to disclose to agencies and institutions of higher education the subcontractors hired to complete work on a state project “as soon as practicable” after award of the contract. The measure, signed into law by Gov. John Lynch, D, on July 16, 2009, earned New Hampshire 50 percent in ASA’s anti-‘bid shopping’ course. Since disclosure is not required until after contract award, the law does not fully deter bid shopping and bid peddling. In Ohio, a decision by the10th District Court of Appeals should discourage bid shopping, even though it did not change Ohio’s scoring for this policy area. In the case Complete General Construction Co. v. Kard Welding, Inc., dba Kard Bridge Products, the court ruled that Complete General did not actually accept subcontractor Kard’s “firm for 30 days” low bid because the general contractor continued to seek new bids after informing Kard that its bid was “accepted.”
Retainage Limitations The Arkansas Legislature passed S.B. 302, which limits retainage on public construction projects to 5 percent when a contractor secures payment and performance bonds. The previous law limited retainage to 10 percent for the first half of the project and 0 percent thereafter. Signed into law by Gov. Mike Beebe, D, on Feb. 19, 2009, the law increases Arkansas’s retainage limitation score one point to 17. Ohio’s H.B. 1 increased retainage on certain minority business enterprise contracts in a misguided attempt to protect the state when surety bond requirements are waived. Instead of payment and performance bonds, the state’s Director of Development will be able to secure performance with retainage of 15 percent on projects over $50,000 or 12 percent for those valued below $50,000. The change resulted in a three-point drop to 17 from the 2008 score of 20 in this policy area. The Minnesota and Oregon legislatures adopted changes to the states’ retainage laws that did not impact their scores. Minnesota’s H.F. 1056 removed a provision that exempted residential projects from the state’s 5 percent retainage cap. Oregon enacted H.B. 2955, which specified additional alternate forms of security that can be accepted by the state in lieu of retainage. The state now accepts state bonds and irrevocable letters of credit in addition to federal bonds and surety bonds. Prompt Payment The Minnesota, Montana and Washington legislatures all passed modifications to prompt pay laws that did not result in score changes. Minnesota enacted H.F. 1056, which requires residential projects to follow the state’s prompt payment act. Montana shortened the deadline for owner payment to contractors by three days, and removed a provision stating that acceptance of a progress payment does not release a claim for interest on the payment. With the passage of Washington’s H.B. 1195, state agencies and municipalities are now required to approve change orders for undisputed additional work within 30 days of substantial completion or else pay the contractor interest at a rate of 1 percent per month. Payment Bonds The Ohio budget for fiscal year 2010, H.B. 1, included a provision that allows the state’s Director of Development to waive the bonding for the first five public projects that a minority contractor is awarded when the firm cannot obtain required payment and performance bonds. As the contractor completes projects without incident, the threshold for projects that qualify for the waiver increases from $25,000 to $600,000 on the fifth project. Gov. Ted Strickland, D, signed the measure into law on July 17, 2009. Since the bill eroded subcontractor payment protections on some contracts, Ohio’s score in ASA’s payment bond course dropped from 68 to 66. The ASA Report: The Policy Environment in the States is available on the ASA Web site, www.asaonline.com.
FEBRUARY/MARCH 10 SWEEPING 27
NCSG REGIONS REGION 1
NEW YORK Jennifer Mancusi • AAA Chimney Inc. • Carmel Lester Fish • Fish, Lester • Marietta PENNSYLVANIA Tom Beitler • Beitler’s Chimney Service • Newville Joseph Clemenson • J.C. Heating • Levittown
MAINE Joshua Hamilton • Hamilton Masonry • Brewer
REGION 2 VIRGINA Lawrence Beckett • B & B Renovation & Chimney • Virginia Beach
Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont; In Canada: New Foundland, Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario
MICHIGAN Kevin Dudd • Kevin Dudd Super Clean Chimney Sweep • Gaylord
Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia
MISSOURI Don Buford • Great Plains Chimney Serv. • Columbia
REGION 4 ARKANSAS Charles Whitaker • A Chimney Sweep • Fairbanks
REGION 5 WISCONSIN Darrell Prince • Darrell’s Heating Service • Chippewa Falls Mike Schamens • Quality Fireplace & Chimney • Waukesha
REGION 7 WASHINGTON Erik D. Rosendahl • Rosendahl, Erik • Vancouver
NCSG Charter Members Paul Bourque Huntsville, AL
John Cline, Menlo Park, CA
Don Leavitt San Diego, CA
Dale Meisinger, N. Augusta, SC
David Harris Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
Eva B. Horton, Greenwich, CT
Dan Wheeler Santa Rosa, CA
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Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan, Missouri
Alan Hisey, St. Louis, MO
Harry Richart, Hasbrouck Heights, NJ
Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee
REGION 5 Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Wisconsin, South Dakota; In Canada: Manitoba
REGION 6 Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas
REGION 7 Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, Wyoming; In Canada: Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan
REGION 8 Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Utah
NewNCSG Members REGION 8 CALIFORNIA Rob Thompson • Kangen Water Stations/Turlock Chimney Sweeps • Turlock ARIZONA Charles Golden • Golden Dryer Vent Services • Glendale
We have a space for you... Advertise in SWEEPING Contact Malisa Minetree at (317) 815-4688 or SweepingAds@indy.rr.com
FEBRUARY/MARCH 10 SWEEPING 29
Dates& Events February 16, 2010 Racine, WI Copperfield Reline Workshop For more information, please contact Russ Dimmitt at (800) 2561926 or firstname.lastname@example.org February 23, 2010 NCSG Convention- Indianapolis, IN CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep Review & Exam For more information, call (317)-837-5362 or visit www.CSIA.org February 23, 2010 NCSG Convention- Indianapolis, IN CSIA Certified Dryer Exhaust Technician Review & Exam For more information, call (317)-837-5362 or visit www.CSIA.org February 24-27, 2010 Indianapolis, IN NCSG Innovation 2010 Convention & Tradeshow For more information, call (317) 837-1500 or visit www.NCSG.org/ innovation March 12, 2010 HBP EXPO- Orlando, FL CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep Review & Exam For more information, call (317)-837-5362 or visit www.CSIA.org March 15-21, 2010 e-Learning Session (online) CSIA Certified Dryer Exhaust Technician Review For more information, call (317)-837-5362 or visit www.CSIA.org March 15-21, 2010 e-Learning Session (online) CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep Review For more information, call (317)-837-5362 or visit www.CSIA.org March 30, 2010 Auburn, MA Copperfield Reline Workshop For more information, please contact Russ Dimmitt at (800) 2561926 or email@example.com April 1, 2010 Bridgeport, NJ Copperfield Reline Workshop For more information, please contact Russ Dimmitt at (800) 2561926 or firstname.lastname@example.org April 9, 2010 Concord, NH CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep Review & Exam For more information, call (317)-837-5362 or visit www.CSIA.org April 12-18, 2010 e-Learning Session (online) CSIA Certified Dryer Exhaust Technician Review For more information, call (317)-837-5362 or visit www.CSIA.org
30 SWEEPING FEBRUARY/MARCH 10
April 12-18, 2010 e-Learning Session (Online) CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep Review For more information, call (317)-837-5362 or visit www.CSIA.org April 20, 2010 Cincinnati, OH Copperfield Reline Workshop For more information, please contact Russ Dimmitt at (800) 256-1926 or email@example.com April 22, 2010 St. Louis, MO Copperfield Reline Workshop For more information, please contact Russ Dimmitt at (800) 256-1926 or firstname.lastname@example.org April 23, 2010 Scranton, PA CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep Review & Exam Sponsored by Olympia Chimney Supply For more information, please call (317) 837- 5362 or visit www.CSIA. org April 26 - May 1, 2010 CSIA Technology Center, Indianapolis National Chimney Sweep Training School For more information, call (317) 837-5362 or visit www.CSIA.org/ NCSTS May 7, 2010 CSIA Technology Center, Indianapolis CSIA Chimney Sweep Review & Exam For more information, call (317)-837-5362 or visit www.CSIA.org May 10-16, 2010 e-Learning Session (Online) CSIA Certified Dryer Exhaust Technician Review For more information, call (317)-837-5362 or visit www.CSIA.org May 10-16, 2010 e-Learning Session (Online) CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep Review For more information, call (317)-837-5362 or visit www.CSIA.org May 14, 2010 Milwaukee, WI CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep Review & Exam For more information, call (317)-837-5362 or visit www.CSIA.org May 17-21, 2010 CSIA Technology Center, Indianapolis Installing and troubleshooting Gas Hearth Appliances For more information, call (317)-837-5362 or visit www.CSIA.org June 2-4, 2010 CSIA Technology Center, Indianapolis
Inspection & Report Writing For more information, call (317)-837-5362 or visit www.CSIA.org June 7-13, 2010 e-Learning Session (Online) CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep Review For more information, call (317) 837-5362 or visit www.CSIA.org June 7-13, 2010 e-Learning Session (online) CSIA Certified Dryer Exhaust Technician Review For more information, call (317) 837-5362 or visit www.CSIA.org June 14-19, 2010 CSIA Technology Center, Indianapolis National Chimney Sweep Training School For more information, call (317) 837-5362 or visit www.CSIA.org/ NCSTS June 18, 2010 Richmond, VA CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep Review & Exam For more information, call (317)-837-5362 or visit www.CSIA.org June 20-25, 2010 CSIA Technology Center, Indianapolis Sweeps Week For more information, please contact Ron Brigman at (864) 6825422 or email@example.com July 12, 2010 GSCSG Convention- Reno, NV CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep Review & Exam For more information, call (317)-837-5362 or visit www.CSIA.org July 12-18, 2010 e-Learning Session (online) CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep Review For more information, call (317)-837-5362 or visit www.CSIA.org July 12-18, 2010 e-Learning Session (online) CSIA Certified Dryer Exhaust Technician Review For more information, call (317)-837-5362 or visit www.CSIA.org July 19-21, 2010 CSIA Technology Center, Indianapolis Chimney Physics For more information, call (317)-837-5362 or visit www.CSIA.org July 29, 2010 CSIA Technology Center, Indianapolis CSIA Certified Dryer Exhaust Technician Review & Exam For more information, call (317)-837-5362 or visit www.CSIA.org
August 2-7, 2010 CSIA Technology Center, Indianapolis National Chimney Sweep Training School For more information, call (317) 837-5362 or visit www.CSIA.org/ NCSTS August 9-15, 2010 e-Learning Session (online) CSIA Certified Dryer Exhaust Technician Review For more information, call (317)-837-5362 or visit www.CSIA.org August 9-15, 2010 e-Learning Session (online) CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep Review For more information, call (317) 837-5362 or visit www.CSIA.org August 13, 2010 Atlanta, GA CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep Review & Exam For more information, call (317)-837-5362 or visit www.CSIA.org
If your state or regional association, company or organization has an upcoming event planned, please send them to Megan McMahon at firstname.lastname@example.org
Liability Insurance Especially Designed for the Chimney & Hearth Industry Security Group International, Inc., offers a general liability insurance program (discounted for NCSG Members) to meet your exposures, that includes Pollution & Professional Liability Coverage. IN ADDITION, WE PROVIDE: • Commercial Auto Insurance • Property Insurance • Umbrella/Excess Liability • Short & Long Term Disability • Business Bonds • Personal Insurance Lines • Workers Compensation (available in certain states).
July 30, 2010 CSIA Technology Center, Indianapolis CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep Review & Exam For more information, call (317)-837-5362 or visit www.CSIA.org
Contact Bill Koehler at 804.272.2740 or email, billkoehler@ securitygroupintl.com
FEBRUARY/MARCH 10 SWEEPING 31 SGI_2.5x4.5_ad.indd 1
6/9/09 9:25:50 AM
2009 – 2010 SWEEPS ADVANTAGE COUPON PROGRAM Featured Coupons of the Month Start Saving Today! Check out the details of the NEW 2009 - 2010 coupons below along with all other coupon offers in the “Members Only” section of the NCSG website at www.NCSG.org. Here you will find information necessary to redeem these coupon offers and others from these participating vendors: AHRENS Chimney Technique • AirJet, Division of Continental Industries • Copperfield Chimney Supply • Duct Cleaners’ Supply •Dynacote LLC • Earthcore industries, LLC • Exhausto, Inc. • Golden Flue, Inc. • Hearth Classics • Improved Consumer Products •Insight Direct • Lindemann Chimney Supply • Meyer Machine & Equipment • National Chimney Supply • Olympia Chimney Supply • Pilgrim Home & Hearth • Rasmussen Gas Logs & Grills • RLH Industries, Inc. • Rutland Products • SaverSystems • Smoktite LLC • The Chimney Sweep News (SNEWS) • U.S. Fireplace Products, Inc. • Ventech Industries, Inc. • Village Products, Inc. • Wakefield Brush • Wohler USA, Inc. • Z-Flex. These are just a few of the many offers available to you as a member of the National Chimney Sweep Guild. Visit www.NCSG.org to learn more and to start saving!
U.S. Fireplace Products
SAVE Up to $ 50
Purchase one U.S. fireplace Products Energy Top or Sealtight Damper from your favorite distributor and receive a $50 Cash Refund Get and additional SIX buckets of Thermocrete for any NCSG member who buys a Thermocrete Dealership. Currently, new dealers receive six (6) free with a dealership. We’ll make it TWELVE!
Ventech Industries, Inc.
SAVE Up to $ 1,620
Wohler USA, Inc.
SAVE Up to $ 150
$150 rebate with proof of purchase of any VIS Camera System
SAVE Up to $ 899
Buy four (4) Stainless Steel liner kits and receive One (1) FREE of equal or lesser value
SAVE Up to $ 500
Buy Four (4) Flexible Oil Vent Connector Kits and receive One (1) FREE of equal or lesser value
SAVE Up to $ 191
Buy Six (6) Z-Flex Aluminum Liner Kits and receive One (1) FREE of equal or lesser value
SAVE UP TO $ ???
FREE – Ten (10 public service articles in PDF, ready for reprinting as customer handouts and newsletter articles, or for use as website content, with the purchase of a one (1) year subscription @ $89
The Chimney Sweep News (SNEWS)
32 SWEEPING FEBRUARY/MARCH 10
BY MARK MCSWEENEY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
“When work, commitment, and pleasure all become one and you reach that deep well where passion lives, nothing is impossible.” ~Author Unknown
y son will be heading off to college this year. Not long ago he attended a Senior retreat, and as part of the experience the parents of the Seniors were asked to write inspirational letters to their sons and daughters which they would read at some point during the retreat weekend. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to write to him, but at the same time I was a bit overwhelmed. How does a Dad sum up 18 years into a 2-page letter? As I walked down memory lane, I was reminded that the common thread in his life thus far has been passion. He approaches everything he does with a true passion for what he is doing and where he wants to go. It’s truly inspiring…And I let him know it. About that same time, I was sent a quote from an article in USA Today. Aramark CEO Joseph Neubauer remarked on his 25 years of leadership with the company saying, “Working at any company involves an incredible amount of time and effort. If you don’t really enjoy what you are doing, you will never have the passion necessary for long-term success.” I see that sense of passion in many of you who I have gotten to
know over the years, so it got me thinking; what does true passion in business look like? How do you know when you have it? If you have it, how do you keep it? I did some research on the topic, and thought I’d share with you some interesting writings I ran across. In an online from 2006 article titled “The Passion Behind Business,” Ryan Hoback describes the look and feel of professional passion incredibly. “When I get excited about a new venture that I have been developing, I feel excitement run deep through my body. A feeling of invigoration comes across me. When a new idea comes to my mind, I begin to get happy like a little child opening a present on their birthday. You see, this is passion, and this is what successful business organizations are built on. Passion is the driving force and inner desire among entrepreneurs and leaders across the world which makes you want to continually pursue going above and beyond.” How many of you reading this column still pursue your innate desire to go above and beyond in your business. I say “innate” because passion cannot be manufactured…It is either there or it is not. In an article titled “Building Your Business From Passion,” Jack Funderburk shares his perspective in this way. “Passion cannot be FEBRUARY/MARCH 10 SWEEPING 33
bought, traded or congealed. It must be real. You will know it and those working with you will recognize it. When you are intent upon bringing value to the world there is no complaining about the economy, the political situation or sorry contractors – excuses are not in the vocabulary of one who truly carries the passion of a mission fueled by a commitment to bring quality value to the marketplace. One can have a passion for success and/or making money or any number of desires. These are different, though, than your commitment to the value you bring to the world. When your passion is for what you do and not for what you get out of it, then true success can be attained.” These are the sweeps I relish speaking to, who have a complete awareness of the competition and the market factors around them, yet possess a remarkable lack of concern for those same things. In other words, they do what they do out of a pure love for it and don’t let others bring them down. From a book called “The Truth About Starting a Business,” author Bruce Barringer discusses the key characteristics of successful business owners. “Passion is the enthusiasm, joy and zeal that emerges when business owners are doing something they feel is important and truly enjoy. Passion is needed to infuse a business with excitement and drive. It’s a source of motivation and a reward. The payoff that many business owners receive from their passion
and hard work is the extreme satisfaction they experience as they work in their business and watch customers benefit from the products and services they sell.” So if you have true passion, how do you keep it? Or worse yet, if you’re afraid you’ve lost the passion, how do you get it back? Do you remember the excitement and passion you had when you were first contemplating the idea of starting your own business? Do you recall the passion that first ignited your imagination and fervor? Do you have that same passion or zeal? From the International Business Academies of Learning, in her article titled “Finding the Passion in your Business,” Kathleen Smart provides tips to help re-ignite that passion and help you keep your dream alive. “Commit to passionate living. You have a choice each day to live passionately. Commit to do whatever it takes to participate in the process of finding and following your passion and vision! Study. Immerse yourself in material related to your industry. Read articles. Join clubs or associations in your community or related to your industry. Seek continuing education. Team with passion. Find other business owners who are passionate about what they are doing and can support your vision. They can inspire you. Find people who have the same target market but are a compliment to your line of work. Commit to the process of success. Make a commitment to see yourself through every situation you encounter. Commit yourself mentally, financially and emotionally to ensure that you keep your dream alive.” I do hope that throughout this next year you are able to hone your professional and personal passions. Just researching some of this inspired me, and perhaps it may do the same for you. I leave you this month with one final quote on the subject that I ran across from author T. Alan Armstrong. “If there is no passion in your life, then have you really lived? Find your passion, whatever it may be. Become it, and let it become you and you will find great things happen FOR you, TO you and BECAUSE of you.” Until next time, I wish you and yours all the best!
34 SWEEPING FEBRUARY/MARCH 10
Darwin Awards Have you snapped a photo of a peculiar chimney in your area that made you shake your head in disbelief? Send it to Melissa Heeke at email@example.com for publication in Sweeping. Or, mail it to NCSG, 2155 Commercial Drive, Plainfield, IN 46168.
Submitted by Steve Pavlin of Lindemann Chimney Service in Lake Bluff, IL
Display Ad Index Page #
Email or Website Address
Ahrens Chimney Technique
Cobra Chimney Caps, Inc.
Firesafe Industries, Inc.
Golden Flue, Inc.
Lifetime Chimney Supply LLC
Lindemann Chimney Supply
National Chimney Supply
Olympia Chimney Supply
Sand Hill Wholesale
Security Group International
Simpson Dura Vent
Sleepy Hollow Chimney Supply
Specialty Supply Company
U.S. Fireplace Products Inc.
FEBRUARY/MARCH 10 SWEEPING 35
Classifieds Gotta chimney question? Sizing? Codes? Call Royal Edwards! Make Royal your tech department. CALL NOW 813-982-0219 for on-call tech support. Continuing Education special bonus â€“ ask how you can get the Friday morning E-Blast for FREE. CALL NOW 813-982-0219
GasVent Software for Sizing Chimneys only $195 Call 1-800-648-9523 for more info and visit www.elitesoft.com to download a free trial version.
Classified Ads Free for NCSG Members Members can run one 35 word classified free each year! Regularly classified ads are $2/word or $1/word for NCSG Members Classified ads are non-commissionable and must be pre-paid. To place a classified ad, please contact Megan McMahon at firstname.lastname@example.org or (317) 837-1500.
36 SWEEPING FEBRUARY/MARCH 10
CHIMNEY SAFETY INSTITUTE OF AMERICA
National Chimney Sweep Training School
Inspection & Report Writing* Held Exclusively at the Technology Center * Dependent upon sufficient interest. Deposit required. Designed to enhance your inspection
process. During this session, our instructors will concentrate on helping you build the narrativestyle reports your customers demand. • June 2-4
Installing and Troubleshooting Gas Hearth Appliances * Held Exclusively at the Technology Center
* Dependent upon sufficient interest. Deposit required.
Service and installation, including appliance standards, combustion requirements, pipe sizing and installation, troubleshooting, carbon monoxide testing and fuel conversion. NFI exam included! • May 17-21
Installing and Troubleshooting Woodburning Hearth Appliances * Held Exclusively at the Technology Center
* Dependent upon sufficient interest. Deposit required.
Energy efficiency, appliance selection and sizing, installation of woodburning fireplaces and stoves, system operation, maintenance and troubleshooting. NFI exam included! • March 22-26
Chimney Physics Held Exclusively at the Technology Center Diagnosis and resolution of chimney performance problems, solving air pressure problems, identifying the symptoms of indoor air pollutants, determining combustion air requirements for vented appliances. • July 19-21 Schedule Subject to Change. Please contact CSIA prior to making travel arrangements.
Held Exclusively at the Technology Center Fundamentals of sweeping and inspection of chimney systems, equipment operation, health and safety considerations and step-by-step instruction in codes, clearances, standards and practices. • April 26 – May 1 • June14-19 • August 2-7 • September 27-October 2
CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep® Review & Exam Both exams will be offered after the review session. Please visit www.CSIA.org/CCS for important details on the exams and requirements for candidates. • January 15 - Philadelphia • February 23 – Indianapolis • March 12 - Orlando, FL • April 9 - Concord, NH • May 7 - Technology Center • May 14 - Milwaukee, WI • June 18 - Richmond, VA • July 12 - Reno, NV • July 30 - Technology Center • August 13 - Atlanta • September 10 - Atlantic City, NJ • October 22 - Albany, NY • November 5 - Technology Center CCS ALSO AVAILABLE ONLINE!
CSIA Certified Dryer Exhaust Technician® Review & Exam The examination evaluates a Dryer Exhaust Technician’s understanding of the basic info technicians must master to become competent dryer exhaust safety and fire prevention specialists. • February 23 -Indianapolis • July 29 - CSIA Technology Center CDET ALSO AVAILABLE ONLINE!
Just minutes southwest of the Indianapolis International Airport, the CSIA Technology Center is located at 2155 Commercial Drive, Plainfield, IN 46168. This institution is regulated by:The Indiana Commission on Proprietary Education, 302 W Washington St, Room E201, Indianapolis, IN 46204 Accreditation contact IN Toll Free 1(800) 227-5695 or (317) 232-1320. Schedule current as of 10/1/09
Visit www.CSIA.org or call 317-837-5362.
National Chimney Sweep Guild 2155 Commercial Drive Plainfield, IN 46168
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