You can spend a fortune insulating your loft, walls, installing double glazing, putting in radiator reflectors and so on, but if you've got a square foot gap designed to suck air out of a building then you'll lose all that lovely expensive warm air out of a room within an hour. See how much you could save if you stuck a sheep in your chimney using our Savings Calculator.
Selecting your Chimney Sheep: Have a look up your chimney. See if it narrows just above the fireplace - not all do, but if it does, this is the bit you are measuring. Every chimney in the country seems to be different but luckily the wool compresses into a range of different shapes and sizes. Take a look at the measuring chart to help you choose the right one. Don’t forget that the Chimney Sheep size should be slightly bigger than the chimney flue. If you are unsure of how to measure your flue and choose the correct size take a look at the How to Use page and the Sizing Chart.
Environmental credentials: Wool is a naturally occurring, sustainable product.; It can be washed several times, but at the end of its life is compostable; The handle is made out of recycled plastic, and at the end of its life can be recycled again.
Won't it get all sooty? Yes it will. However, any soot that is dislodged will just fall into the fireplace. Any loose soot on the Sheep can be gently shaken off into the grate.The wool head will get sooty but when it is not in the chimney it is kept in the log basket or in a bag, so is self-contained. If it is used regularly the section of chimney it is pushed into will become relatively clean, so there will not be large amounts of soot to worry about. The wool head can be washed on a wool cycle in the washing machine, and if it becomes too dirty, it can be put in the compost heap and a new head purchased.
How does it work? It is made of a thick layer of felt. This will squash into a range of apertures, and so long as it fits closely enough, will stay where it is. Sometime it holds better if you push it in then pull it down slightly, so it goes like an inside out umbrella. But it is not difficult to use at all. The key is to make sure you have the right length of handle so you don't end up sticking your arm half way up the chimney. The insulation properties of the Chimney Sheep have been tested and proved to have good thermal insulating properties, with a tog rating of 4.43. 1 tog = 0.1 m²·K / W
How much heat do we lose up the chimney? Give yourself a fright by looking at the "stack effect" air flow calculator. CFM stands for Cubic Feet per Minute. However warm your air is, that's how much heat you're losing up your chimney. See how much you are losing up your chimney
Where do you put it when it's not in use? Hang it off the fireside companion set or keep it in a cupboard out of the way. Some people just put it in a coal bucket at the side of the fire.
What if I forget it's there and light the fire? Please don't do that. The Sheep comes with its own dangle, or you can buy more decorative ones, but always make sure there is a dangle visible in the fireplace to act as a reminder that there is an obstruction in the chimney. Remember, the person who put the Chimney Sheep ™ in place isn't necessarily going to be the person who lights the fire, especially if it is in place for a while. However, if the worst comes to the worst and a fire is lit with the Chimney Sheep™ in place, wool is naturally fire retardant. If it is exposed to a strong flame it will smoulder and give off a bad smell. The fire will not draw properly, the room will get smokey and it will quickly become apparent that there is something blocking the chimney. The handle may become hot so it must be removed carefully. If the Chimney Sheep™ is used somewhere where there may be multiple users, such as a holiday house, make sure the warning card is kept somewhere visible.
Is it safe? Wool is naturally fire retardent and the handles are made of fire retardent plastic. It has been tested by High Street Textile Testing Services Ltd. They found that the Chimney Sheep performed well and demonstrated a good level of resistance to flaming ignition sources "such that in the event that the chimney sheep was accidentally left in situ in a chimney breast and a fit lit beneath it, the chimney sheep would not represent a significant fire hazard"
Do I need one for my woodburning stove? Your woodburning stove should be properly insulated, and should not require a draught excluder. If the rope around the door doesn't fit properly then you may get draughts, which can be remedied by replacing the rope.
Can I use it in my gas flue? Gas Safe state that gas flues must not be blocked. Customers do purchase Chimney Sheep™ to insulate their chimneys above gas fires that are rarely used, and make sure that the tag is visible and the safety sheep card is on display. However Chimney Sheep Ltd cannot recommend that you use a Chimney Sheep™ in a gas flue.
I've got a damper – do I need a Chimney Sheep™? The damper mechanically closes the chimney, or can be partially closed to restrict the movement of air within the chimney. It will help to reduce draughts, but you will find that a lot of central heating air will still get up the chimney past the damper. We don't want to sell you something you don't need, but even with a damper you will benefit from having a Chimney Sheep™ in place.
My chimney throat is more than two feet / 60cm above the fireplace - can I still use a Chimney Sheep? You may find it easier to use a chimney balloon in this circumstance. However, a lot of customers prefer to use a chimney sheep. The sheep comes with a handle and one extension rod, making the total length 1 foot / 30cm. You can extend the length by adding one or two rods, making the total length 2ft / 60cm. If you add any more rods it starts to get a bit wobbly, and it is difficult to get enough pressure to push the sheep into the correct location. If you get a piece of plumbing pipe, vacuum cleaner pipe, or strong cardboard tube, you can fit this over the extended handle and use it to push the sheep in place.
Will it stop birds from nesting in my chimney? The Sheep goes in near the bottom of the chimney, and jackdaws nest at the top, though the nesting debris often finds its way to the bottom. You need a cowl that is wired into place in such a way that determined beaks can't un-pick it. A friend had her cowl pecked off, and a very determined jackdaw lined sticks up on the roof in readiness for when the fire was out. As soon as it was out, the jackdaw was in there busy blocking up the chimney. The only way she could be thwarted was by having a sweeps brush at the top of the chimney throughout the nesting season. If you leave the Sheep in all summer then be very careful about removing it, it could have a range of debris collected on it.
Will it cause problems with damp? The wool is naturally breathable and will allow moisture to permeate through. If you have a problem with damp in a chimney it may be that the warm damp air is rising into the flue then condensing on the cold walls higher up. A historical buildings expert has been consulted and confirmed that the Sheep would not cause any issues with damp.
I have a chimney cap – do I still need one? Even with the chimney capped a lot of warm air will rise into the chimney where it’s not needed. As we said, we don’t want to sell you something you don’t need, but the Sheep has been trialled in capped chimneys with favourable results. It also stops dirt and mortar from spilling into the room from older chimneys.
I've seen chimney balloons for sale – how do these compare with Chimney Sheep™? The chimney balloon is a good way of blocking a chimney if you don't want to use the fire. Once in place it's a bit fiddly to take out then put back in again. The Chimney Sheep™ is easy to put in and take out as many times as you like.
What saves more money - a Chimney Sheep or a Chimella chimney umbrella? Chimella claim that using their product can save up to £200 per year. This is based on the fact that the Building Research Establishment estimate that 40 cubic metres of air is lost up a flue per hour. Depending on how much has been spent heating that air, up to £200 worth of warmth can be lost. Chimney Sheep has been tested by the University of Liverpool. The Chimney Sheep will save around 4% of your heating costs, and often more. This is an average of around £64. Chimney Sheep chimney draught excluders are made of a thick layer of felted wool and will stop a greater amount of airflow than the Chimella. Chimney Sheeps could save up to £200 in some properties but we keep our claims to what we have tried and tested.