Energy Efficiency: Receptacles & Switches

In a previous post, I discussed the importance of air sealing in addition to insulating for improved energy efficiency. In this post, we’ll look into that in more detail with receptacles and switches.

Believe it or not, receptacles (outlets) and switches are one of the main culprits for leaking air in most homes. This makes sense really, considering that there are usually many receptacles and switches in a house and that the wall areas surrounding them are usually insulated while these areas usually aren’t. Air can easily enter and exit the house through these many small areas, and the toll this takes on efficiency is much greater than you might assume.

A common remedy to this problem is installing foam gaskets made for the receptacle or switch plates, but unfortunately these easy fixes don’t always do the best job. A better option (and one you can do in addition to the foam) is spray foaming around the boxes that contain the receptacles or switches. This is very effective at air sealing these small spaces and helps more than you might think in stopping air leakage and improving the energy efficiency of your home.

When you can spare about half a day, take the time to complete this simple but very helpful project. It’s cheap and easy and the rewards will really pay off.

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Author: hillinspections

I am a Certified Master Inspector (CMI) and the owner and operator of Hill Property Inspections LLC, the top-rated inspection company in the greater Johnstown, PA area, based out of western Pennsylvania. I specialize in property inspections and environmental testing services and have a passion for helping my own clients and other families in learning to properly maintain their homes. I’m also the owner of Hill Pest Control, LLC and a pest management professional committed to helping our clients rid their homes and businesses of unwanted pests. I am an Army veteran, former State Farm Insurance Agent, and real estate investor with experience in all facets of real estate construction, transaction and insurance. I am also the founder and President of the Southwestern PA Chapter of the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) and an affiliate member of the Cambria-Somerset Association of Realtors (CSAR).

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