Simple Ways to Weatherize: Electrical Outlet Insulation Prevents Outlet Drafts

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Outlet Gaskets
Electrical Outlet Insulation

Electrical outlets are small in size, yet can have a significant impact on the way a home feels, and the amount of money spent on energy throughout the year. When it is cold outside, if you press your hand to an outlet located on an exterior wall you can sometimes feel cold air coming through electrical outlets into the home. Outlets located on exterior walls are responsible for as much as 5 percent of all energy loss in the average home. Electrical outlet insulation is a simple and very cost-effective way to combat this problem.

Outlet gaskets are made of polyethylene foam that is placed behind the wall plate to prevent cold air from coming into the home, and the warmer air from leaving. Foam gaskets are made to insulate standard two-outlet sockets and single toggle light switches. For insulating a decora-style wall plate, use either of these foam gaskets and simply cut the foam into the desired shape, and place it behind the wall plate. The same can be done for insulating cable and telephone jack outlets. These get the job done for about 10 cents each.

Electrical outlet insulation is also available with the outlet gaskets pre-installed into the wall plate, whether for a wall switch, outlet, phone, or cable jack. As a result, all that needs to be done is remove the existing wall plate, and place the insulated one into the wall. This lessens the amount of work necessary for installation on walls that have decora-style, double, or triple outlets and switches. Electrical outlet insulation of this type is available from 2 dollars to 11 dollars, paying for itself in savings on energy bills, and saving money long after.

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