A desperate single father has been forced to insulate his freezing home with cardboard after his energy bills spiralled to more than £1,000-a-month.
Nigel Cleall, 51, said he even considered moving into his garden shed with his 12-year-old son Oliver as it is warmer than the ground-floor flat.
In a desperate bid to keep warm this winter, Mr Cleall bought 330ft (100m) of industrial packing cardboard for just £1 off eBay.
He has now used it to cover the walls and ceilings of the 1950s prefabricated property in Martley, Worcestershire.
The lorry driver says he was forced to take action after Platform Housing Association, which owns the flat, failed to fix the heating system or provide adequate insulation.
Nigel Cleall, 51, (pictured) has covered the walls and ceilings of his 1950s prefabricated two-bedroom property in Martley, Worcestershire with cardboard
The lorry driver says he was forced to take action after Platform Housing Association, which owns the flat, failed to fix the heating system or provide adequate insulation
The father-of-two bought 330ft (100m) of industrial packing cardboard for just £1 off eBay
Mr Cleall said he even considered moving into his garden shed as it is warmer than his ground-floor flat (pictured)
Mr Cleall explained that his flat is fitted with a heat air source pump system which is supposed to switch off when a room reaches a certain temperature.
But the father-of-two said that because the insulation is so poor in his home, the temperature is never reached meaning the system stays on all day and, at £1.92-an-hour, costs him a fortune.
He said if it was allowed to run for 20 hours, which he said it would on account of his poor insulation, his daily bill would be around £39.
Does using cardboard as insulation really work?
Cardboard is a surprisingly good, low-cost insulator as its corrugated structure traps air in its little pockets.
Materials with a low thermal conductivity, like cardboard, are good for blocking heat transfer.
Cardboard is often recommended as a temporary solution to covering up a broken window as it keeps cold and warm air out.
The thicker the cardboard, the better its insulation qualities, so using heavy-duty corrugated cardboard would be the best way to keep your house warmer over the winter.
The corrugated structure prevents conduction of energy from one object to another, even with a significant temperature difference.
However, cardboard is not as durable as other insulators and can become mouldy or break apart if it becomes wet. It could also present a fire hazard.
Mr Cleall said: ‘I’m basically heating Martley when I put my heating on – it goes through the ceiling. The roof is over 27 years old.
‘I’m heating up my street, not my house. The heating just goes through the house because there is no insulation.
‘It’s a prefab flat with a concrete floor built in the 1950s and is simply no longer fit for purpose. It’s basically a garage.
‘Platform Building came out with a thermal imaging camera to see how insulated it was and you could see heat leaking out everywhere.
‘The windows are 18 years old, the roof leaks when it rains and it’s so cold I have to wear a coat while I watch TV.
‘My plan of action is to cardboard up my walls in the front room.
‘Obviously, I will have to use my other rooms but I will live in my front room during the winter.’
Mr Cleall, who has separated from his wife – who lives with their other son Christopher, 10 – said he can no longer afford to put the heating on.
He said: ‘I come home from work and can’t put the heating on. I can’t afford it, I’m a single dad.
‘Last year, I could only afford to put the heating on when my boys were coming down to stay with me. But I can’t even afford that now.’
‘If I did that now, it would cost me £78 just for two days.’
He said for electricity alone the cost has gone up from £120-a-week to £192 in the past year, while his total energy bills would now be more than £1,000-a-month if he were to keep the heating on.
‘I can’t afford nearly £200-a-week on my electric, so basically we will be living in my front room,’ he said.
‘All I want is a comfy home for me and my son, Oliver.
‘I go to work, and I keep my nose clean and I am not a criminal.
‘I do everything by the book and you just don’t get anywhere, it is just wrong.’
Mr Cleall lives in the flat with his 12-year-old son Oliver. He also has another child, Christopher, who lives with his mother
He has covered the walls and ceiling of his front room with cardboard and plans to live in this room during the winter
Mr Cleall has also used clear plastic to insulate his windows, which he says are 18 years old
The single father said the roof leaks when it rains and it’s so cold he has to wear a coat. Pictured: black mould in his bathroom
Mr Cleall said the cost of his electricity alone has shot up from £130-a-week to £192-a-week in the past year and his total energy bills are now more than £1,000-a-month
Dennis Evans, executive director at Platform Housing Group said: ‘We are sorry to hear of Mr Cleall’s concerns; we are pleased to report that a replacement bath is due to be installed later this month.
‘With regards to the customer’s heating, we have no outstanding jobs at his home.
‘However, we are due to attend a routine heating service as part of our yearly cycle.
‘Earlier this month we also sent one of our surveyors to visit Mr Cleall to discuss his concerns.’