Cold weather will be here soon and the wind will be blowing cold air through outlets again. While it’s still just cool weather, this is a good time to stock up on supplies before the prices jump and stores run out of them.
The items you should buy are foam wall plate insulators/outlet gaskets, and child safety outlet plugs as shown in this image. The are economical, usually just a few dollars for a package of ten or more. You can also buy them in larger sizes for over-sized outlets and you can buy them in bulk (50 or 100/pkg) to share with another homeowner in the family. You can buy them at any hardware, home store or big-box retailer.
These items are easy for anyone to install and they really do work. Your heating bill should be lower by avoiding heat loss, and your home will feel more comfortable without those drafts.
Normally the cold air only comes into outlets and switches on exterior walls, so that is the place to start. You just unscrew the cover plate, place the foam over the receptacle, and screw the plate back on. Then plug in either an appliance cord or a child safety plug into each slot. If you don’t fill the slots, the cold air will probably come directly out of them. Repeat a similar process for switch covers. You can use multiple gaskets for switch outlets with multiple switches side by side.
If you want assistance with this task, we will be glad to do it for you; however, most homeowners can do this on their own. As long as you keep your fingers and the screwdriver outside the electrical box, this should be a quick and easy project that saves money and keeps your family warmer.