How to Insulate Electrical Outlets & Switches
by Damien Andrews
You might just be spending a lot of extra money to heat and cool your house. You may just have one of those houses or apartments that has a lot of outside air flow coming in through the electrical switches and outlets.
To see if air flow through your electrical switches and outlets is a problem, you should perform a simple test. This test can be performed with matches or a disposable lighter. The disposable lighter is preferable.
Testing: Make sure your furnace or central air conditioning system is running. Now, hold the flame an inch or so away, and directly in front of, your electrical switches and outlets and watch to see if the flame is flickering. If the flame flickers, then you have air leaks. If the flame does not flicker, then the checked switch or outlet is okay. Often, the air flow from leaks around electrical switches and outlets is so string that you can feel it with your hands.
Hardware stores sell preformed foam insulators for electrical switches and outlets. Purchase the number you will need for your home.
#1 – Turn the power off to the electrical switch or outlet that you will be insulating.
#2 – Remove the cover plate on the electrical switch or outlet. This is a good time to clean this, especially the inside where dirt collects.
#3 – Use a vacuum nozzle to clean the dirt from inside the small box the electrical switch or outlet is secured in. If you’ve had air flow, there will be a lot of dirt.
#4 – Install your preformed foam insulator snugly around the electrical switch or outlet.
#5 – Replace the cover onto the electrical switch or outlet.
#6 – Turn the power back on.
Installing preformed insulation in your electrical switches and outlets will not only help contain your conditioned air – hot or cold – it will also keep your house cleaner.