The benefits of draftproofing, including plug insulators
Team Power Smart giveaway proves popular, launches swirl online
When Team Power Smart gave away 5,000 outlet insulator gaskets to team members to promote draftproofing last month, we expected the offer would be popular. What we didn't expect was the mad rush to grab them, and the online swirl that resulted.
"Outside air seeping in through outlets? Really???? Is this for like really old houses? Never heard of this problem before...," asked one person in a forum launched when redflagdeals.com got wind of the offer.
"I recently did an airflow test," wrote another. "Among other issues, they told me I need foams. Plus, air does go through the plugs. For those, I got the child safety plugs. 25 child safety plugs for $3.97."
"Dude, these are literally free and they're even covering the shipping cost," said another, responding to a complaint that there were only 5,000 insulator gaskets available.
Even as all 5,000 were grabbed almost immediately after October's Connected newsletter went out, the questions continued. So, we're here to offer some perspective on just how these inexpensive little insulators make a big difference.
Q: Is this just for old houses?
Even in newer homes, plug outlets in exterior walls can leak air and add to heating (and cooling) costs.
Both light switch boxes and electrical outlets can let in outside air if they are not insulated properly. And these leaks happen in the inverse in the summer, when warm air can move in through these cracks in your home.
Q: But how much can you save?
We turned to our engineers to investigate, and they produced the figure of up to 2% of air leaks in a home come from leaky plugs and light outlets on exterior walls.
Leaks in a home – including leaks through windows and doors – can significantly increase your energy bills. In a typical B.C. home, draftproofing can add up to savings on your energy bill, in addition to improving a home's comfort.
Yes, plugging leaky outlets is a small part of those draftproofing savings, but when it comes to heating costs, everything counts.
Did you know that a 14-piece insulator set, with foam insulators for both plugs and light switches, can cost $6 or less at your local hardware store?
Q: How easy are they to install?
Few efficiency upgrades are this easy. Check out our how-to guide and helpful video with Dave.
Q: Which draftproofing should I do first?
Leaks around windows and doors are usually the main culprit. We show you how to test for leaks and how to apply foam and V-seal weather stripping, again with videos to take you through the steps.
Until December 2, 2022, take advantage of our retail partner savings of up to $4 off draftproofing supplies at The Home Depot and Canadian Tire.
Q: What other 'hidden' leaks should I look for?
The places where air ducts, vents, pipes and cables enter or exit your home can leak air. Use caulk or spray foam to fill the gap for a tight, draft-blocking seal.
Check the seal around your microwave, and inside the microwave, too. If you're feeling cool air coming through, it's likely because the ductwork that connects the exhaust vent of your vented microwave to the outside of a house was either installed without a flap-style damper or that damper has been damaged and doesn't close properly.