Worcestershire man warned to 'stop' covering house in cardboard to insulate after rising bills

  • ITV Central speaks to Nigel Cleall who has taken the "necessary" step of using cardboard to insulate his home as he faces energy bills of £22 a day if his heating is used

A Worcestershire man who is using cardboard to insulate his home due to rising heating bills says it is "necessary" despite the fire service urging him to stop.

Nigel Cleall, from Martley, has put cardboard up as insulation around his living room and hallway, after his energy bills rose to £154 a week - over £600 a month.

He has taken the measures after, he claims, years waiting for his housing association to make vital improvements, including insulation.

Mr Cleall says that although people think he is crazy, it is "necessary" and he is using a layer of fire retardant to prevent the risk of a fire.

He said: "With my bills, if I put the electric heating system, it just goes through the roof."

"I put it on yesterday and it just goes up to roughly about £22 a day, which is £154 a week, £600 a month."

He adds: "When you hear homeless people, they're living under subways and living in cardboard boxes because it maintains the heat, so I thought 'right, I'll look into it'."

"No question, it's made a hell of a difference and it holds its temperature around 20 degrees, so it has worked, and that's without me having the heating system on."

Hereford and Worcester Fire Service has warned against the method as cardboard is flammable and using it as insulation poses a fire risk with dangerous consequences.

Nigel Cleall says people think he is "stupid" but he is taking reasonable precautions by using fire retardant. Credit: ITV

Hereford and Worcester Fire Service Station Commander, Sara Hall, said: "While we understand the very real concerns people have about heating their homes as the cost of living increases, we would not recommend lining your walls with non-standard materials."

"We want people to stay warm without increasing the risk of fire in their homes."

She recommends helping with heating prices by controlling the thermostats on radiators, using draft excluders or rolled up towels underneath doors and covering uncarpeted floors with rugs or blankets.

Nigel added: "People think I'm crazy putting up cardboard, it's going to set fire to this to that."

"No, I've taken precautionary measures," he said. "It's a risk I'm willing to take because I've got no choice. There is no insulation."

Dennis Evans, Executive Director at Platform Housing Group, Nigel's housing association, said: "We are continuing our conversations with Mr Cleall to tackle the issues he continues to raise and have already discussed possible ways forward and solutions with him.

"Work already planned in his home and scheduled for early 2023 includes, improved insulation, new heating controls and a new Air Source Heat Pump.

"We appreciate this doesn’t help with affordability in the depths of the current cost of living crisis and we have already supported Mr Cleall through our Wellbeing Fund.

"Our Successful Tenancies Team have also been in touch to offer assistance and will continue to reach out to see what they can do to help until the work is complete.

"Since April this year our Wellbeing Fund has already supported 680 customers in Worcester to the tune of over £150,000 to help with the cost of food, essential items such as school uniforms, and also energy and utility costs."