Reduce Home Energy Costs by Sealing Electrical Outlets

On the first cold night after we moved into our new home I quickly noticed cold air blowing out of our 1st floor electrical outlets.

My father suggested buying foam sealers for the electrical outlets and using the foam cut-out holes to create a seal around the front of the outlets.

I only needed two things:
-Electrical Outlet Foam Sealers - I picked them up a 6 pack at Lowes for $1.47
-Electrical Outlet Caps - I picked them up a 12 pack at Walmart for $0.88

I used the outlet foam sealers as instructed on the package. I then took the foam pre-cut punch outs and pushed each one onto an outlet cap.

When the outlet cap is inserted into an outlet the punch out should create a nice seal around the outlet holes preventing the cold air from entering the house through the outlet. Its a quick and inexpensive way to save a little energy.

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Comments (7)

Thanks for the advice. I would have never considered this.

I wonder if anyone has been able to estimate how much money is actually saved by doing this.

I think if I was taking the cover plates off, I would have sealed the edges of the outlet box and the wall with expanding foam instead. Would the plastic plugs alone not be enough to stop airflow from the prong holes?

Where did you buy this house? Which neighborhood? Who was the builder? For what you paid...this should not happen. The price range you guys were in are usually very nice homes...this sounds like poor building? (which we have in a much lower valued home)

I have never heard of cold air blowing through electrical outlets. Granted, I don't really pay attention to that sort of thing. I'm more concerned with my appliances and electronics being the energy vampires. That's why I use the fancy power strips that shut themselves off after a period of inactivity. Tonight's supposed to be a cold night here in Austin, though. I'll try to remember to check my outlets and see if this is occurring.

Interesting that this should only be happening on your first floor. I would imagine that this would happen on all floors if at all. Have you checked the others and found nothing, then?

Wow! I didn't know such a sealer exists. I always wonder why despite the insulations on the wall, I still feel the cold air coming through those outlets. Thank you so much for this info. Got to run to lowes now.

Gosh, is that safe?

Looking at better ways to turn the current off might also pay dividends. I was looking at plugs that cut power at the mains when an item isn't in use, or similar (I forget the details).

One of the selling points was a statistic that the average microwave oven *clock* uses more power than the microwave itself in a typical year of operation.

If an toaster - not switched on - draws power constantly.

Cutting all that done has to help.

Electrical Outlet Switch Cover Sealers/Gaskets really do work. They can reduce your heating and cooling bill by as much as 20%. They are a cheap way 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 air blowing through them. So the purpose is to seal off the outlets & switches from the living space. I found a local energy audit firm to conduct what is called a blower door test on my home. Before the sealers were installed, the outlets 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. What good is a high efficiency or geo-thermal system if your home cannot retain what is generated?

I went to Home Depot and paid a fortune in small Frost King packs to do my entire home. (It cost me over $100). A couple years later I built a new home, which I had more modern switches and receptacles. I found a company that sells the "Decorator" or "Decora" Leviton switch and outlet sealers/gaskets in bulk, costing a fraction compared to those retail Frost King packs that you find at Home Depot or Lowes. I looked all over for these foam gaskets. For those of you don't know, the Decora are the fat, contemporary rocker style switches found in newer homes. They will also work on bathroom GFI outlets. I ordered them from 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.

Here is a link that might be useful:

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