DIY Energy Savings

Outlets and light switches are everywhere in our homes, but no one considers them in the scheme of having their design play a part of air loss in buildings.

Electrical outlets are made by cutting a hole in the interior of a wall and installing electrical wire intrusions that help operate lights, devices, utilities, and more. Interestingly enough, they are also a source of cold and warm air entering and exiting the home through their gaps and holes.

By their very design, electrical outlets often allow air to pass back and forth, thus allowing warm air to go outside in the winter, and hotter air from outside to come inside in the summer. Both instances create an unhealthy environment in addition to drastically causing increased energy bills.  Energy agencies like The U.S. Department of Energy reports that we can reduce our heating and cooling needs by 30% if we smartly insulate our homes.

Even though insulation is usually used in the initial installation of outlets or boxes, over time, it wears down or the initial insulation is limited. That is why it is advisable for you as a home owner that you take extra time to check your outlets, and install proper insulation as necessary, making sure that there’s no way for air to pass back and forth.

Proper insulation can be done in many ways, often in a matter of minutes.


Seal Your Outlets

Insulating an electrical outlet is quite easy, and can be a DIY project, if you are comfortable around electricity. Otherwise, contact your local electrical contractor.

Here are a few insulation options for electrical boxes or outlets.

1. Foam and pre-cut gaskets
The Environmental Protection Agency strongly suggests using fire retardant insulation foam or pre-cut insulation gaskets that can fit around the outlets. Foam gaskets are designed to insulate traditional two-outlet sockets and single toggle light switches. Gaskets can be used for insulating cable outlets and telephone jack outlets at very affordable process. They can be purchased in any big box or hardware store in multiple packs and are pre-cut for various sized electrical wall boxes and configurations. Quality rated foam insulating gaskets create an air-tight seal between the wall and the faceplate that matches the appearance of the electrical socket.

2. Caulking
The Natural Resources Defense Council suggests sealing draft-prone electrical outlets with putty or a caulking solution that has a compatibility rating for electrical works. Just a small electrical caulking tip – caulk the perimeter of the outlet boxes to the surrounding drywall. Just this small step also helps to better eliminate drafts.



How to Insulate Electrical Boxes

TURN OFF THE POWER TO THE OUTLET – please! We don’t want any electrical shocks!
Take your screwdriver and remove the outlet cover faceplate that holds the outlet or light switch in place.
Press out the appropriately sized insulation gasket and place it over the exposed faceplate. Line up the socket holes. If you need to cut the foam gasket to fit the outlet so that the sockets are exposed, just simply trim it.
Place the screws back into the faceplate.
Voila! you’ve accomplished a DIY project and helped lower your power bill.


In a majority of the cases, you do not have to spend a lot of time or money on expensive home insulation supplies nor do you need to hire professionals to insulate outlets and switches. Insulating various types of outlets or switch plates is the easiest task to help eliminate heat loss without insulating your whole house. Completing the above insulation tips will, over time, reveal the difference that insulating your outlets makes.

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