The Story of Chimella, The Chimney Umbrella

Every good idea starts with humble beginnings and Chimella – The Chimney Umbrella, is no exception.

Ever since my children where very little they always used to get scared of the howling from the chimney. There were many sleepless nights where all of the kids squeezed into our bed for comfort with the usual outcome of ‘lucky dad’ getting out and sleeping in one of their beds.

One particularly cold and blustery night I decided that there must be some way of preventing the chimney from howling. I sat and stared at the chimney when I remembered something I had heard the day before.

“What goes up a chimney but won’t come down?”

The answer is an umbrella.

With sleep depravation kicking in I went and grabbed my wife’s umbrella and fired it up the chimney. This obviously didn’t work very well but there was definitely a reduction in the howling.

When I awoke the next morning I found myself thinking ‘I better put my wife’s umbrella back!”

After a bolting out of my daughter’s 4ft bed, I sneaked over to the fireplace to retrieve the umbrella, which was still hanging down from the chimney. One push of the button to release its hold, a quick dust off and back into my wife’s handbag it went.

‘Morning Dear,’ I said sheepishly whilst thinking ‘Phew! That was close.’

Whilst eating my breakfast and opening the post I suddenly gasped at the hefty energy bill I held in my hand and the news of huge price increases to come.

Something needed to be done to reduce our energy bills, otherwise the tough times ahead where only going to get tougher.

That day I got the dreaded phone call that my builders, who had been doing our loft extension, had run out of money and gone out of business. This then left us with a great big hole in the roof so I went up onto the roof to investigate what needed to be done.

Whilst I was on the roof, trying to find as many derogatory words as possible to describe the builders, my phone rang from one of my clients asking me to take a brief for the GQ awards. The only flat area for me to write down the brief was on the chimney, so I lent over our 8 chimney pots with my pen and paper in hand… and that is when it happened – I nearly lost my eyebrows!

The intense heat rising from the chimney blasted into my face at a force that can only be described as ‘eyebrow singeing.’ It was literally like having a hair drier put into my face.
After the phone call I went back into the house and asked my wife why she had lit a fire. When she explained that she hadn’t, the penny dropped!

All the heat from our radiators was being sucked out from our house, up the chimney flue and into the atmosphere, and that was why our energy bills were so high.

Throughout the rest of the day I trawled the Internet to see if there was anything out there that could help temporarily block off the chimney flue when it was not in use.

After hours of research I found that the only product out there was a plastic inflatable chimney balloon. This product was no good for my situation as we used the open fires regularly and the thought of sticking my head up the chimney and blowing up a balloon every night was not very appealing.

Whilst reading an article on how much air is actually drawn out of your home through the chimney, I thought about my rising energy bills, singed eyebrows and sleep depravation, and the eureka moment happened – Chimella was born.

The name Chimella comes from my original concept the night before of a ‘chimney umbrella.’

If I could develop the chimney umbrella to be simple to use, efficient in its operation, stylish, and solve all the problems that an open chimney creates, then I could help millions of people drive down their energy bills and help fathers get a good night sleep.

Over the next few days the original concept was made from pieces of Lego glued together and lengths of plastic rods held with screws and wires. Little did I know then that this was where my life-changing journey would start, from the humble beginnings in my dinning room to the creation and worldwide distribution of Chimella – The Chimney Umbrella.

The journey from the initial design through to the final product has been by far the most challenging thing I have ever done in my life. But by having the good old British ‘never give up’ attitude, it has resulted in the creation of possibly one of the most innovative and cost effective energy saving devices that you will ever purchase.

Simon – Chimella Inventor

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