The more outlets you seal, the lower the influence of the stack effect and the more money you’ll save.
Wait, what is “stack effect” and how will reducing its effects help air seal my home? As you know, homes are not perfectly sealed and there’ll always be some ground level air infiltration caused by the stack effect. During the winter months or the heating season, as the warmer indoor air rises up through your home; it escapes through open windows, ventilation openings, or other exposed areas in the ceiling, like ceiling fans and recessed lights. This rising warm air reduces the pressure in the base of the home, thus drawing cold air in through any openings where leakage can occur like your electrical outlets and light switches, this phenomenon is called the stack effect and drives air infiltration. During the summer months or the cooling season, the stack effect is reversed, but its effects are generally less noticeable because of lower temperature differences.
Foam seals designed to fit behind the cover plates of electrical receptacles and switches reduce air leakage into walls and attics. Electrical outlet seals are more effective when caulked and should be used in conjunction with safety plugs to reduce air leakage through the electrical sockets.
How to Install Electrical Outlet & Light Switch Seals Safely:
- Turn the off the breaker on the outlets you’ll be working on.
- Unscrew the cover plate (might be one or two screws).
- Place the outlet seal over the electrical receptacle ensuring a proper fit.
- Reinstall the cover plate using the previously removed screws.
- Once all the outlets have been retrofitted and complete, turn the breakers back on.
Learning is a do-it-yourself proposition.