HELP with cold draft coming from electrical outlets


Old 09-12-05, 08:08 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: northeast
Posts: 32
Exclamation HELP with cold draft coming from electrical outlets

Hi. Since the nights are getting cold, we noticed (again) that there is a cold draft coming in from the electrical outlets in the kitchen, and the light switchplates by the front door.

Can someone please recommend the best way to insulate these little areas? Foam Insulation? Anything else? Should I be concerned that this is an electrical area?


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Old 09-12-05, 08:40 AM
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: USA
Posts: 1,873
Electric outlet/switch covers

You can purchase these at any home improvement store and they are relatively inexpensive. eg. 10 for a dollar. You remove the cover plate over the switch/outlet, place the foam panel cover and re-install the cover plate. Simple, easy and inexpensive.

However, the air you feel coming into the house is referred to as infiltration. When air leaves the house, it is called air leakage. To illustrate the importance of this is by blowing air into a balloon, it gets bigger. If you let air out of the balloon, the balloon gets smaller. Since you home cannot get bigger or smaller, the same volume of air you feel coming in around your outlet/switchs, must be leaving the house. Furthermore, air infiltration is a symptom or result of air leakage. In other words, the foam electric outlet/switch covers treat the symptom, air infiltration, but does not address the source of the problem, which is air leakage.

Common sources of air leakage are attic entrance ways, recess lights, bathroom exhausts, etc.
Old 09-13-05, 07:50 AM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 267
My experience is that the gaskets work OK, but not good enough. In our case, the "leakage" seems to be that we had 2 exterior outlets added in teh front of our house when the vinyl siding was installed. The wiring is run from the exterior outlet into the box of the interior outlet and the wires are tied together. So basically we're getting air directly in from the exterior box. I havent gone outside to fuss with it yet, but I figure a little caulk around the outlet plate should help (the outlets already have the weatherproof covers and gaskets on them).

What helped a decent amount was to get those plastic safety plugs for the outlets (the ones to keep a baby from getting their fingers in there). Once the gasket was installed the air was coming in through the prong holes. Once the safety plugs were in the infiltration was greatly reduced (but the leak was still there, because you could tell the stud cavity was cold by feeling the wall).

Every little bit helps! Give it a shot.


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