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Published 11 Nov 2016

Over 13m households forced to ration their energy use this winter

According to a recent survey 13.6m* households in Britain are planning to ration their energy use this winter. The research, commissioned by Energy, found that 32% of homeowners will have to actively manage the amount of heating they use this winter, with one in 10 worried about how they will pay their fuels bills and 7% expecting to make cutbacks elsewhere to be able to afford to heat their homes.

Over three quarters (77%) of homeowners will take steps to ration the amount of energy they use this winter. Energy saving tactics will include leaving it as long as possible before turning on the central heating, leaving rooms unheated and reducing the use of energy-hungry appliances.

However, the survey also revealed that many homeowners are missing the opportunity to slash £100s off their gas and electricity bills by not shopping around for their energy. Nearly a third (30%) said they hadn’t changed supplier for three years or more, while 17% admitted they had never switched energy supplier.

Ways that homeowners will reduce the amount of energy they use this winter include:

  • Turning the thermostat down (41%);
  • Leaving it as long as possible before turning the heating on (33%);
  • Not heating unused rooms (27%);
  • Heating their home for less time than they would like (26%);
  • Using the shower rather than heating water for a bath (24%);
  • Stop using, or use less often, energy-hungry appliances such as tumble dryers and dishwashers (18%).

To combat the cold, just under a third (32%) of those surveyed, plan to snuggle up under blankets and duvets around the house, 24% will fill a hot water bottle and 12% will dig out their thermal underwear. To keep warm in bed, 38% will sleep in pyjamas or other sleepwear, a quarter will keep cold feet at bay with bed socks, while 11% say they will be forced to wear items of clothing to bed.

What many of these homeowners don’t know is that the average home loses around 4% of household heat through an open chimney – leading to unnecessary energy usage and an cold draughts indoors. There’s a great product on the market, made of a thick layer of felted UK Wool on a handle, that lodges in the throat of the chimney and effectively “closes” the open gap. Appropriately enough, it is called a Chimney Sheep®.

The payback on a Chimney Sheep® is around 6 months, compared to 142 years for Double Glazing! The benefits of a Chimney Sheep are:

  • It prevents warm air from your central heating from escaping up the chimney
  • It prevents cold air being pulled in from around doors and windows to replace the escaped warm air, noticeably reducing cold draughts
  • It stops dirt and debris from falling down the chimney
  • It prevents wildlife from finding its way down the chimney
  • It prevents hot air from coming down the chimney during the summer months
  • It prevents bad smells from wafting down the chimney.
  • It blocks out noise

Starting at just £16.00, The Chimney Sheep is available in nine different sizes, available from various online stores, including, and Amazon.

Sally Phillips

Inventor of Chimney Sheep

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