DIY Foam Electrical Switch Plate Sealers & Electrical Outlet Plate
Sealers (Also known
as Switch Plate Insulators / Switch Plate Gaskets / Switch
by Darren Lombardo
In my personal home, a blower door test was
used to check the air infiltration rate of my home. Before the switch
sealers were installed, the switches whistled; they leaked so bad. The
tech conducted a post test after the sealers were installed and they
were not only sealed, but I reduced my home's over-all air infiltration
rate. Simply stated, I am now retaining my heating and cooling. I was
finding that even with a high efficiency geothermal heat pump, I still
had high energy bills. What good is a high efficiency geo-thermal system
if your home cannot retain what is generated?
If your looking for a cheap easy way to save energy in your home, one of the best DIY improvements is to install foam switch plate sealers. These wall plate sealers really do work. They can reduce your heating and cooling bill by as much as 20% by helping to retain heating and cooling in your home. If you place your hand over your outlets in the Winter on a windy day, you will feel cold air blowing through them. The purpose of foam gaskets is to seal off the wall cavity behind outlets & switch areas from the living space. If an energy audit firm conducts what is called a "blower door test," you will be amazed to find a generous amount of outside air blowing out at you from these points. A blower door test depressurizes the home to expose air entering the home from the outside. In other words, it turns the house into a giant vacuum chamber. Some people will tell you that you only need to insulate outlets and switches on outside walls. Conducting a blower door tests confirms that this is not true. Inside wall receptacles and switches need to be sealed since electrical wires run across walls allowing outside air to enter the inner-wall cavities. Inner-wall cavities are also fed by pipes and exposed to crawlspace/attic air (and other unconditioned areas) making the inner wall cavities subject to cold air.
I installed sealers all throughout my home. I went to Home Depot and paid a fortune to buy enough small retail packs to do my entire home. (It cost me over $100). A couple years later I built a new home, which I had the more modern switches and receptacles. For those of you don't know, the Leviton Decora are the fat, contemporary rocker style switches found in all new construction. They are also the same size as the bathroom Kitchen GFI outlets. I found a company that sells the "Decorator" or "Decora Leviton" switch and outlet sealers/gaskets in bulk which cost a fraction (about 70% less) compared to the retail "Frost King" packs that you find at Ace, Home Depot or Lowes. I looked all over for these foam gaskets. I ordered them from ReduceMyEnergy.com and installed them in my home. What a BIG difference. My rooms are cozy and more comfortable too. They have already more than paid for themselves.
If you are installing switch sealers in an entire home, then you want checkout these websites: