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Cut back on heat loss by insulating your outlets and light switches

Light switches and outlets are a larger source of heat loss than you think.

insulate light switches
Taylor Martin/CNET

Outlets and light switches are generally overlooked and not regarded as important areas to insulate.

Those cut-outs for power and light switches, however, can often be a source of significant heat loss in your home, particularly in older constructions.

If your outlets aren't insulated, the fix is very affordable and easy to do yourself in under an hour.

Tools and materials

The only tools you will need for this project are a screwdriver and a pair of scissors.

The insulation for outlets typically comes in the form of thin, white foam gaskets that perfectly fit inside the standard faceplate cover. These often come in a multi-pack and cost well below $1 per outlet.

Those looking to really pinch pennies turn to styrofoam egg carton lids or children's craft foam, which is manually cut to size.

Insulate your outlets

After determining which outlets or switches in your home should be insulated and purchasing the gaskets, your home will be better insulated in a matter of minutes.

Installing the gaskets is a breeze:

  • Cut off the breaker switches which correspond to the outlets you're going to be working on. Most likely, you will only need to insulate outlets and light switches located on external walls.
  • Use a screwdriver to remove the screw from the faceplate. Remove the cover.
  • Tear or cut apart a single gasket and remove the cut-outs for the light switch or outlets.
  • Line up the holes in the gasket with the hole in the electrical box.
  • Line up the faceplate and reinstall the screw.
  • Repeat these steps for each outlet and light switch on any external walls throughout the house.
  • Restore power to all outlets once you're finished.
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