Curb Energy Loss By Insulating Around Your Home's Electrical Boxes

You may be losing money month after month, as energy is lost in the cracks and crevices throughout your home. One area that could be running up your energy costs is your home's electrical boxes. On your exterior walls and ceilings, even small gaps and cracks could be costing you more than you realize.

Reduce drafts and the cost of heating your home with these electrical box insulation tips:

Use fire-resistant materials. Be sure to only buy intumescent fire-safe foam and caulking for the electrical boxes on your ceilings. This material swells when used, so it helps to fill in the cracks around your home's utility boxes. Use regular caulking and insulation materials on wall-mounted electrical boxes.

Add a box extender. If the boxes aren't flush with the surface of your wall, consider investing in a box extender. It is much easier to seal and fill-in around the box once it is level with your wall. These are easy to install, requiring that you simply twist-free the receptacle and slide the extender in place before straightening the unit up and tightening the screws.

Spray foam around flush-mounted boxes. Use spray-foam insulation material to fill in the small cracks around the perimeter of your electric boxes that are flush-mounted to the walls of your home. The foam will harden, which makes it easy to then trim the excess with a sharp utility knife.

Warm up the wire intrusions.

Use the straw-style fitting for your spray foam applicator and align it with the wires that come from your utility boxes. Gently squeeze a small amount near the area where the wire intrudes and comes from the electrical box, near the opening. Go easy or you may have to go back later to remove the excess that gets into your electrical box.

Invest in bigger plates. Don't worry if your caulking and insulating looks a bit shoddy; fill and seal the spaces, and don't fret about the need to repaint your walls. Instead, spend a couple bucks and buy a jumbo-sized plate to cover up the mess and further insulate around your electrical box.

Don't be fooled into believing that the small cracks around the many electrical boxes in your home aren't wasting energy. Even if you are diligent enough to install foam gaskets in between the receptacle and your cover plate, these gaskets don't always seal tightly and heat can sneak out. Invest in some aerosol foam and a caulking gun and seal your home's boxes simply and inexpensively—and watch for savings on your future energy bills! If you don't feel comfortable insulating your electrical boxes on your own, contact an electrician to do the work instead.

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