"Choosing and installing a hearth system without
is like playing with fire."
From the National Fireplace Institute Website:
A 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 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.
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.
Q: Why do I need help from a knowledgeable hearth professional?
A: 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 the designing and installation of them.
Q: How do I find a knowledgeable hearth professional?
A: 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.
Q:How do hearth professionals achieve Certification?
A: 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
1. NFI Gas Specialist
2. NFI Woodburning Specialist
3. NFI Pellet Specialist
Certification is renewed every three years. Maintaining certification requires substantial ongoing education.