$2 Fix for Drafty Houses

3 years ago

With the cooler temperatures rolling in I've been noticing a lot of drafts coming in around the windows. After weeks of freezing floors I decided to do something about it. I headed to the hardware store to pick up weatherstrip and caulk and while there I stumbled across these nifty little things.

Cool little outlet cover I found at the hardware store
Cool little outlet seals I found at the hardware store

Intrigued, I grabbed them off the shelf and started reading the package. Apparently, these seals are placed around the outlet and stop the outside air from coming in (as shown on the front of the package). A worker saw me reading the package and chimed in telling me these were an absolute must. They were "magic" and would completely change the temperature of my house. After that glowing review how could I not try them? I grabbed a couple of packs and decided what the heck - I'll give them a try. When I got home I got to work taking off the outlet plates so I could give the seals a try.

The "naked" plug
The "naked" plug

The next step was pressing the insulation around the covers. Because the seals come pre-cut, all I had to do was pop out the centers and place them around the outlet.

Insulation around outlet (excuse the bad paint job on my nails)
Insulation around outlet (excuse the bad paint job on my nails)

Next, I popped the cover back on and voila! Success! It is so simple that a two-year-old could have done it (although I would never EVER allow a two-year-old to mess with outlet covers). Immediately I noticed a huge difference. I also noticed a little bit of air still coming in through the prongs so I decided to pop in plug protectors (they aren't the best looking plug protectors, but almost all of my outside wall outlets are behind drapes or furniture).

Safety covers
Plug protectors

Once I added them to the outlets the air that was coming in was all but gone.

The final product
The final product (sorry for the dark photos but it is a bit dreary today)

I haven't been able to caulk or put on the weatherstrip but I'm starting to think I don't need to. Within minutes of adding the insulation and plug protectors the floor around the plugs went from freezing to room temperature. Not only do they work incredibly well but at only $3.97 a package, they are definitely worth purchasing.

Full disclosure: there is still a tad bit of air leaking through but I blame that on the outlet covers. They are the cheap, builder grade covers and barely cover the hole made for the outlet. An easy fix is to buy the decorative outlet covers. Most decorative covers are much bigger and much more substantial. They are also about $5.00/each so they can add up in cost quickly.

The difference between cheap builder grade and decorative covers is pretty significant.
The difference between cheap builder grade and decorative covers is pretty significant.

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