Alaskan winters are long and cold, so the State of Alaska is offering a rebate of up to $10,000 for improving the energy effeciency of homes. We had our initial energy rating done, and our home was energy rated as four stars, with 78.4 points. 83 points is the BEES standard, so we qualify for up to $4000 in rebates for raising our home to a 4 Plus star rating with 86 points.
Our energy rating certificate listed the steps that can be taken to make our home more air tight and minimize our energy loss, and a few of their recommendations are very simple and easy to do! One such remedy was to use foam gaskets and child protector plugs to seal our outlet and switch plates. Off we went to Fred Meyer and Lowes to purchase our home improvement winterizing materials, and this review will focus on our Frost King foam Electric Outlet and Switch Sealers.
We purchased a variety pack of foam gaskets to put behind our wallplates. These are made of 1/8″ thick white foam, measuring 2 1/2″ wide and 4″ high. They resemble a standard wallplate, but go behind them to help insulate and reduce drafts and heat loss.
I purchased the 14 pack, giving us enough for 8 outlets, 4 switches, and 2 decorative outlet switches, which work well for those sliding dimmer switches. The foam is fire retardant. It does have a plastic odor to it, but is not at all noticeable after they have been covered by the nylon wallplates.
These gaskets fit into the electrical boxes, behind the wall sockets, and penetrate slightly into the wall cavity, which in cold climates are obvious sources of air leakage. They install behind electric outlet plate covers to reduce drafts. If you have double or triple gang boxes, you can use several of the foam gaskets, overlapping them and trimming if need be, to fit the area.
Simply remove the existing cover plate, place the foam sealers in position around the out or switch, and screw the cover plate back on.
Wow! What a great little invention these are. When I took the cover plates off on our outside walls, I couldn’t believe how much cold air was making it’s way into our home. Cold air was leaking through the electrical boxes and outlets and switches right into our home. It was worse, obviously, on windy days, but all homes are subject to such drafts. These foam gaskets fit very snugly over the outlets and switches, so they assure you they are indeed plugging up the holes to keep drafts at bay.
I’ve only found these foam gaskets in the standard 2 1/2″ by 4″ size, and some of our switches in our newly remodeled kitchen were double switches. I found that I could still use these gaskets, but one of them needed to be trimmed on both edges, and this worked well to insulate these larger outlets. This was a snap to do, I simply took a standard scissors and cut the foam on both side edges until it was the right size for the area.
When I screwed the wallplates back on, I broke a few of them by over tightening the screws. This is because the foam does indeed take up some space in a small area, but I felt I needed to tighten the wallplate very snugly in order to get the most effeciency out of these items. After I broke a few of my wallplates, I headed back to the store and found a great wallplate made by GE, out of Nylon, which are unbreakable. I wrote a review on these wallplates as well, but these worked wonderfully! I was able to screw the wallplates very tightly and they did not crack or break!
I can’t believe how well these simple foam sealers work! Before I installed them, I could feel a definite draft coming through out electrical outlets, but now that they are in place, most of that cold air is reduced, and when you consider how many outside outlets we have in our home, that is a lot of energy savings! We also put the child protector plugs into the outlets, sealing up the remaining holes to keep cold air out. Installation is so easy! If you have a screw driver on hand, you can put these energy saving foam gaskets behind your outlets.
The cost is very minimal, I purchased this package of foam sealers for around $3.00. Frost King products are made by Thermwell Products Co., Inc.