Many homes feature fiberglass batt insulation that creates small gaps around electrical outlets and light switches. Along exterior walls, these gaps are prime places for air leaks that lessen the energy efficiency of your home. You can fill these gaps with small bits of fiberglass or a foam pad, but the best way to eliminate these air leaks is by spraying a foam insulator. This post will share how I insulated some electrical receptacles in my home.
Insulating outlets and switches is not that different from insulating a basement. You want to achieve a continuous envelope that prevents air leaks. Foam pads and fiberglass are better than nothing, but can’t compete with spray foam insulation. Foam has the advantage of expanding to fill all the gaps around adjacent objects.
Seal Air Leaks with DAPtex Plus
For this project, DAPtex Plus is exactly what you want to use. It can be used around windows, doors, ducts, pipes, and more. This latex foam comes in a pressurized can with a straw that attaches to the nozzle. The straw enables you to foam tight spaces like the outside perimeter of electrical receptacles. DAP was kind enough to send me a sample to better insulate my home.
How to Insulate Electric Outlets / Receptacles
Please note: under no circumstance is latex foam to be applied in the interior of an electrical switch, outlet box or any other electrical fixture/device.
Begin by locating outlets, switches and other electric fixtures that are mounted on exterior walls. One 12 oz. can of DAPtex Plus yeilds a 1/4″ bead for 510 feet. That translates into a lot of outlets.
Turn off the appropriate breaker and double check to ensure the power is off. Remove the cover and clean away any dirt or debris (like pieces of drywall).
Spray the foam along the outside of the fixture looking for gaps in insulation. Fill voids to 90% capacity and let the foam expand the additional 10%. DAPtex Plus is toolable while wet so you can mold it in place.
Remove any excess, uncured foam with soapy water. Cured foam can be scraped away.
Foam will be fully cured in about 24 hours and have a sponge-like consistency. After it’s fully cured, replace the cover.
What do you think? Have you detected air leaks around electric outlets?