What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)


Sunday, November 1, 2009

More Electrical Outlet Sealing

Electrical outlets can result a considerable source of air leakage and infiltration. A couple of posts ago I discussed sealing and insulating electrical switches on outside walls. This is necessary to eliminate as much air infiltration as possible thus reducing drafts. If you take a good look at the actual metal or plastic box though it is quickly apparent that caulking around electrical box and adding insulating foam will only solve part of the problem. That is because electrical boxes have several holes in which you can choose where to run wires through. Ideally spraying expandable spray foam around the outside of the electrical box would seal around the box to the point that all drafts would be stopped. However, do not be tempted to use expandable spray foam insulation to seal electrical outlets. The expandable spray foam is flammable until cured and at some point that outlet may require work on it which the cured expandable spray foam would make almost impossible. There is a way to deal with any minor air filtration that comes through the plug holes though.

Safety PlugsSafety Plugs

All outer wall pugs must have something plugged into them to prevent air infiltration during the colder months. Now the natural choice for something to plug in is an electrical appliance but that is not always convenient. Onto the scene comes a nice product that cuts any air infiltration through the outlet holes yet it is usually sold as a safety device to prevent children from electrocuting themselves playing with electrical outlets. These safety plug protectors come in clear, white, ivory and brown. A pack of 10 will cost $1 at the dollar stores or you can pay a bit extra at the discount stores. They all work the same. I like the larger clear ones pictured as the tabs on the white ones pictured tend to break off after repeated removal. The main downside to these inexpensive safety plug protectors is removing them for using the plug. Once you get the knack of it you can pop them out anytime you need to use the plug.

installed safety plugsInstalled

No special tools are required for installation. Installation is as simple as plugging the plastic safety guard into each outlet. Unless you have small children and you are installing these safety guards for energy conservation then the only outlets you need to be concerned about are on your outside walls. For the most part aside of not having any drafts and the occasional having to remove them to use the outlet you won't even notice they are there. There is no need to remove the safety guards during nicer weather either unless you are using the outlet.

Garden Gnome
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