KEIRON Shatwell has shaved nearly £500 off his energy bills over the past five years just by using a “chimney sheep” draught excluder in his home in Fort William in Scotland.This is one of a number of measures which he has used to draught-proof his home.
3Keiron Shatwell has shaved nearly £500 off his energy bills over the past five years
3He bought a chimney draught excluder for £50 in 2016
The 50-year-old, who lives with partner Lucy, has set himself the challenge of stopping energy from being wasted in his property – and is trying to do as much as he can on a budget.
Keiron, who works as a geologist, paid around £50 for a “sheep” from Chimney Sheep back in 2016 after seeing an advert on Facebook.
According to the Energy Saving Trust, a chimney draught excluder can knock around £90 a year off bills.
Keiron told The Sun: “This draught excluder, made of coarse Herdwick wool, keeps warmth in when we’ve got the heating on, and has totally eradicated the huge draught from the chimney in our living room.
“It also prevents the wind from howling down the chimney.
“As the sheep wasn’t too costly, I’ve made my money back pretty quickly.”
According to Chimney Sheep, a huge 80 cubic metres of air travel up a chimney per hour.
“As the volume of air which escapes needs to be replaced, cold air is pulled in from other leaky parts of your home.
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A nifty chimney sheep can put a stop to this by plugging the passage.
This also means Keiron isn’t tempted to turn up the thermostat.
Crucially, though, never light a fire without first removing any plug that’s been placed in the chimney.
Other draught-proofing measures by Keiron
Keiron started implementing draught-proofing measures back in 2016.
He is very glad he’s taken these steps to keep bills down, given the current energy crisis.
This includes him double-insulating the whole house.
Keiron said: “I have added insulation at every point where I can physically crawl into spaces.
“I have also lagged over 250m of hot water pipes which were not covered by under-floor or roof insulation.
“I bought basic foam lagging from plumbers’ merchant, Plumbase, for around £1 per metre.”
This lagging keeps the heat in the water flowing to the radiators.
It also reduces the risk of pipes getting too cold, helping to prevent them from bursting during the winter months.
According to British Gas, insulating your pipes can mean savings of £15 a year on your bills.
In addition, Keiron has fitted reflective foil behind all external wall radiators.
This foil reflects heat from the radiator back into the room, as opposed to allowing it to escape through an external wall.
He said: “I remember doing this as a kid – sticking baking foil to sheets of cardboard.”
3Keiron and his partner Lucy pictured mountain biking in Telluride, Colorado
As part of his drive to draught-proof his home, Keiron contacted the local Lochaber Environmental community group which offers free energy surveys.
He said: “As part of this, a thermal camera was brought into the house to check for cold spots and draughts.
“These are draughts I would never have found on my own.
“It helped me to identify areas where roof insulation was completely absent, and where under-floor insulation was missing.”
This survey also prompted Keiron to try and eradicate every draught he could find through the house.
He said: “This included a really strong draught due to a gap between floor and wall in one room, and a cold spot where the extractor fan had been removed and not sealed.”
Simple steps, such as covering tiny gaps around windows, keyholes and letterboxes could save you around £45, according to home heating manufacturer Worcester Bosch.
As a household, the Shatwells use around 2,500 KWh (kilowatt hours) of electricity per year – or around 7KWh per day.
In recent months, their electricity bill has gone up from £35 a month to £85.
“This is partly due to the price cap,” said Keiron. “But it was also partly to do with our old supplier going bust.”
What about oil and water costs?
Keiron’s central heating and hot water are fuelled by oil.
The household uses around 2,500 litres per year, and oil costs between 40p and £1.05 per litre.
Keiron said: “Oil costs have also gone up by as much as double in the last year.”
The Shatwells are very careful to ensure that rooms in the house are only heated when they are being used.
“A smart heating control system was installed five years ago,” said Keiron.
“This has a master computer which wirelessly talks to every radiator in the house, each of which is fitted with a digital thermostatic valve.
“It allows us to con …