Ups and downs for chimney sweep

17:00, Jul 31 2013
chimney
THE HIGH LIFE: Alan Campbell enjoys his work as a chimney sweep. "I'm self-employed and I love it."

It's dirty, sooty work – but someone's got to do it.

For the past 12 years Alan Campbell has run chimney sweeping and repair company Chimney Magic, and says he could not imagine doing anything else.

"Chimney sweeping is good, honest hard work. It might not be your standard job at the office, but that's what I like about it," he says.

A regular day for Campbell, of Lower Hutt, would see him clean, repair and check chimneys for any potential hazards.

He is at his busiest in winter, working on between 25 and 35 jobs a week.

"It's definitely a seasonal job. In winter it's always busy, but the workload dies down between October and February and it can get pretty tough."

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But being his own boss has its perks. "I'm self-employed and I love it. It means that if it's a lovely day, well, I can go fishing."

With a background in finance, and having owned a moving company, Campbell got involved in the wood-burning industry because it was an area with a lot of demand. "I saw it as a good opportunity to start a business in an industry where there wasn't much competition but had a lot of demand.

"I like to think of cleaning your chimney like getting a warrant of fitness for your car – it's something that needs to be done regularly."

A chimney should be cleaned and checked at least once a year, he says. He was trained by workers in the industry and says having sufficient training is important.

"Chimney sweeping is not easy, there's a lot more to it than just getting a bit dirty and sooty. You have to be trained and know what you're doing."

He invites other people to get involved in the trade. "It's a good job. If you don't mind getting your hands a bit sooty, then it could be the job for you."

The Dominion Post