ALMOST 60,000 homes across Bolton risk losing around £50 per year because of wasted heat disappearing up unused chimneys, according to new figures.

Chimney Sheep Limited, who commissioned the nationwide analysis, say that up to 58,469 properties in the borough can lose an average of 80 cubic metres of precious warm air each hour through a typical chimney when it is not in use.

Sally Phillips, managing director of Chimney Sheep Limited, believes that the problem is too often overlooked by homeowners.

She said: “People often spend thousands of pounds on expensive measures to save energy and keep out draughts, including features like double glazing and cavity wall insulation.

“However, they often overlook the simple fact that an unused chimney is effectively a large hole in the roof.

“Blocking that hole has an instant effect.”

The figures are based on analysis that maps the government’s estimate of the total number of houses across England with chimneys against the population in each area.