Sunday, June 5, 2011

Episode 005 How to reduce energy costs by insulating your outlets

For this episode, I went to the home of my former landlord, Judy DiPanni in Johnston, RI.  She was feeling a draft come through her electrical outlets and switches on the perimeter walls of her house, so I came over and showed her how to nip that in the bud.   

When I lived upstairs from Judy, I had weatherized the apartment by putting weather stripping around the doors, adding windjammer sealant to the windows, repairing my storm windows, and putting these Socket Sealers (below) on all of my outlets.  Every month, we lose money on our utility bills because of all of the energy that we lose through drafts, cracks, and holes in our building envelope (house).  Well no more!   

Now for the Quick Project Rundown (QPR).

  • PROJECT: How to reduce energy costs by insulating your outlets
  • STEPS: 3
  • PROJECT LENGTH: 30 min
  • DIFFICULTLY LEVEL: Level 1 Wrench  
  • MATERIALS: (1) Box of insulating socket & switch sealers
  • TOOLS: Flat head screwdriver and paint scraper (if needed to pry plate cover)

STEP 1: COUNT ALL OF THE OUTLETS AND SWITCHES ON THE OUTSIDE WALL.  That will determine how many insulation covers you need.  We counted 10 total.
STEP 2: GET MATERIALS.  I picked up these Duck brand Socket Sealers from Ace Hardware for $3, but are available at any hardware store worth their salt.  Inside, there are 18 outlet covers, and 6 light switch covers.  You can also get them in a double light switch combo.

STEP 3: ADD INSULATING COVERS ONTO THE SOCKETS.  One at a time, go through and unscrew all of the plate covers off of the outlets.  Apply the Socket Sealer over the outlet (punch out the plugs 1st), press to fit in place, then put the plate back over the insulation and screw the plate back on.  You may notice that it is a snugger fit, and that's ok.  That just means that there's no air getting through here baby!
Quick fact: Every year, we lose an equivalent amount of energy from our homes just through cracks, holes, and gaps as we would if we had a 3 foot by 3 foot hole in the wall, according to the National Association of Energy Resources.  Can you believe all that hard earned money down the drain...or I guess out the wall when a couple of simple and inexpensive solutions can solve all of that?                                                                                                                                                                            For more information about how to reduce energy costs at home and how to be an all around better steward to the environment read: Ready, Set, Green: 8 Weeks to Modern Eco-Living, by Graham Hill and Meaghan O'Neill as well as The Green Book: The Everyday Guide to Saving the Planet One Simple Step at a Time, by Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas Kostigen.

1 comment:

  1. perfect timing for me to see this now - imma do this as soon as i move into my new place. and use caulk & maybe that spray gunk on all the windows.