Insulate outlets and light switches

Why? Outlets and light switches in the walls that separate your home from the outdoors are often overlooked sources of heating or cooling loss. Insulating these areas can reduce drafts and keep your home more comfortable.
What to look for: An Underwriters Laboratories® (UL) listed fire-retardant plastic foam that is pre-shaped to fit an outlet or light switch gasket (covering or seal) precisely. This item is sometimes called the "foam gasket."

Step by step: Insulating an outlet or light switch gasket generally takes no more than 10 minutes. If you are comfortable with home improvement tasks, you should be able to do this work on your own.
  • Turn off the circuit attached to the outlet. Do this step using your circuit breaker box.
  • Remove the current plate. Unscrew the screws and pull the plate away from the wall.
  • Place the foam gasket in the wall opening. Put your pre-cut or self-cut foam gasket in the exposed area. Make certain the insulation fits snugly.
  • Replace the plate. Hold the plate in place and reattach the screws.
  • Turn the power back on.

Good to know: If you have a larger outlet or light switch gasket—with multiple places to plug in or with switches, for example—you can overlap and trim multiple insulation patches to fit the space.

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