At the efireplacestore, we often talk about the trustworthiness of our NFI certified techs. Their experience in the hearth industry is unparalleled, so their knowledge is behind every piece of content we put online.
- NFI Logo
Though, many of you may be wondering what makes an NFI certification so special and why should you trust it? To answer those questions and give you a deeper understanding of what makes these technicians stand out, we decided to write this article. So, continue reading for more information on what NFI is and how they certify their techs.
What is NFI?
NFI is an acronym for The National Fireplace Institute. NFI is a certification agency within HPBEF or the Hearth Patio BBQ Education Foundation. The objective of the HBP (for short) is to increase public safety by establishing a credible, nationally recognized system for hearth professionals involved in installation.
- installation tech
There are so many things that go into installing a fireplace – like location, sizing, BTU threshold, venting, etc – The NFI was created to make sure installers go through rigorous training before being called “professionals” so that you have peace of mind during the installation.
Many manufacturers of wood burning and gas fireplaces encourage the installation of their products by NFI certified technicians. So, this should tell you that if these companies trust NFI techs with their products, you can too.
Types of NFI Certification
The National Fireplace Institute not only wanted to make sure technicians were prepared to install pellet, gas and wood burning fireplaces, they wanted to give them an edge in hearth design. Being a top-notch installer isn't only about doing the basics.
- Napoleon High Country Wood Burning Fireplace
It is also about bringing style and ambiance to a living space. So, they created four types of certifications for a technician to specialize in, that focus on a specific topic in addition to general knowledge and course work.
There is also a Master Hearth Professional Certification for those who certify in all three fuel type categories. These individuals reach the highest accreditation NFI has to offer.
- Gas Burning Fireplace
The foundation of this certification is learning about the characteristics of gas and the basics of combustion. Understanding the basics of the fuel itself is critical to learning how to properly install a gas fireplace. From there a technician moves onto fuel delivery and gas piping systems.
Installers learn and assume the responsibility for the proper operation of all units they install. To round out their education technicians are also trained in codes and standards, heat protection and troubleshooting. By the time this certification is complete, you can be certain these people are well versed in every aspect of every type of gas heater.
Wood Burning Certification
- Wood Burning Fireplace
For wood heaters, a similar but separate certification is required. The basics of heat transfer and safety guidelines drive studies on efficiency, codes, venting systems and construction fundamentals.
Like the gas fireplace certification, building up from a foundational level makes the teaching that much more well rounded. Examinations are administered to assure all information is obtained and also includes knowledge in wood burning inserts and stoves.
- Wood Stove
The challenge with pellet certification is providing a comprehensive overview of the fuel and appliances while studying the many variations in design the industry continues to see. Many state and local governments have codes that dictate rules of installation in addition to the National Fire Protection Association.
So, pellet certified techs have to stay informed on current codes and how they apply to each individual model a manufacturer makes. Pellet professionals study fuel combustion, fuel delivery systems, venting systems and installation planning as a whole. They can complete their certifications by also mastering combustibles and floor protection, troubleshooting and fuel corn characteristics.
Hearth Design Certification
The Hearth Design certification is unique because these technicians learn about all three fuel types plus how to match a client with the best heating appliance for their space. Their focus is to be a resource for the client and have a broad enough range of education to install an appliance based on style and functionality.
- fireplace set up
The hearth design specialist trains in technical and safety courses, installation, client support and planning and many others. This certification is the “one stop shop” that encompasses everything there is to know in the hearth industry.
Because technology and the hearth industry are constantly evolving, NFI techs have to renew their certifications every three years. They have two options to do this. One is to take an exam every three years. The second is to earn class credits over the course of the three years between expiration dates.
A person with one certification must earn twenty-four credits spread out over several categories. They have to have twelve credits in technical courses, four related to safety and liability and eight can be electives. A person with two or more certifications has to earn thirty-two credits with sixteen focused on technical topics, four on safety and liability then twelve on electives.
- taking an exam
This continuing education and examination ensures that every tech is up to date on the latest regulations, health and safety initiatives and general awareness of product.
The ever-growing knowledge of NFI certified techs is what makes the specialists at the efireplacestore capable of handling anything you throw at them. Our techs have a combined 122 years of experience in the hearth industry with 70 years of that time being specialized in NFI training. The efireplacestore prides itself not only on employing techs that are certified, but also, continuing to grow and master new skills in their field.
We hope that you now understand what makes an NFI tech stand out from other installers in the industry. Our technicians thrive on creating hearth solutions for every customers heating needs. Should you have any other questions about this certification or any of our products, please call our techs at 800.203.1642.