Frequently Asked Questions

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. The University of Liverpool calculated that we lose around 4% of our household heat up the chimney.

Where do you put it when it's not in use?

You can buy a wrap to put it in, or put it in a plastic bag. 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, and it will quickly become apparent that there is something blocking the chimney. The handle is also fire retardant so it won't burst into flames or cause a fire hazard.

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 retardant and the handles are made of fire retardant 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".

Download the full report here.

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.

What if it doesn't fit properly?

If you're not sure try it out in its plastic first. We're happy to exchange your sheep and don't mind re-packaging it. We don't much like getting sooty sheep back though.

If one of our standard sizes doesn't look right for your chimney opening, we can make you one that's a neat fit. Chimneys vary enormously, so rather than complicate things by carrying lots of different sizes, we're happy to do made to measure ones. The price is calculated on the area of the felt, so for example a sheep that was sized between the 12" x 20 and the 14" x 28 would be a price in the middle of these two sizes.

I ordered the wrong size - can I change it?

If you're not happy with your sheep then send it back in a re-sellable condition within 30 days for a full refund minus the postage costs. We appreciate that chimneys are hard to measure, but if you are not sure the sheep is going to fit please wrap it in a plastic covering first so it doesn't get all sooty (take the plastic off once you know it fits).

Partial refunds (50%) are available for sooty sheep. We are also happy to exchange sheep for larger or smaller ones. Please enclose a copy of the purchase order form with a note explaining whether you want a refund or replacement & specify what you want to exchange it for.

If you want to return a bespoke / odd sheep that has been tailor made to your specifications, we do not normally accept returns unless it is due to an error in the sizing on our part. However we want you to be happy with your sheep so if it doesn't fit let us know and we will see if an exchange can be arranged.

How much is a bespoke sheep?

We just work out the price according to the size of the sheep, it's not any more for being tailor made for your chimney. For example, if you needed a 14" square one it would be a bit more than the 13" square one but not as much as the 12" x 20" one.

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 should not cause any issues with damp.

Will it stop wind noise from coming down my chimney?

Yes it will stop wind noise from coming down the chimney. We can't gurantee that it will deaden all sound, but having a thick layer of felt in there will definitely muffle it.

Will it attract moths?

The wool is treated with Borax. This is a natural moth deterrent. It is "dyed in the wool" so that even if you wash the product, the Borax will remain attached to the individual strands of wool. It's a bit nasty for the moths, but it forms tiny very sharp crystals that are invisible to us but unpleasant for the moth. It's a much more environmentally friendly product than a lot of the other chemical moth deterrents on the market.

Do you ship abroad?

Yes! If you buy a sheep in the shop it will automatically add the required postage for shipping abroad. For all sizes less than 14 x 28 / 14 x 36 it is £5 for Europe and £8 for the rest of the world. The larger ones are £15 and £25. For shipments out of the EU 20% tax is automatically deducted (the prices are inclusive of 20% UK VAT)

Chimney Sheep products are available in:

Australia & New Zealand from and eBay:

USA from

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

If the throat is higher than 2ft