Introduction: Free Outlet Gaskets to Save Energy and Avoid Moisture Problems

About: Long time bicyclist, bike commuter, bike tourer, recent bike builder/experimenter. I'm an energy consultant for hydro electric, solar and other renewable energy generation.
You can easily re-purpose that thin plastic foam packing sheet into free wall outlet gaskets that keep warm air in your home where it belongs.  

This will save you some utility costs and keep moisture from condensing in your walls and attic. 

It only take about 3 minutes per outlet because there is no measuring or transferring of dimensions required.

This is a fun, satisfying, no cost, energy saving project.  Cutting this stuff is a little like popping bubble-wrap.  It's mildly addictive.  I can quit any time I want. 

Step 1: Simple Tools and Material

We re-purpose that thin (1-2 mm thickness) foamy plastic wrapping sheet that frequently is found around electronic products in the box.

It's made of HDPE (High Density Poly Etheline) or LDPE  (Low Density Poly Etheline)

Tools:  Scissors, Exacto or utility knife, Screwdriver

For safety you can turn off the circuit breakers.  (So I hear.)  [ Mrs. Woodenbikes calls me "Sparky"]  But I digress....

Thrill-seekers can leave the circuit breakers on and stand in a bucket of water while doing the project blindfolded.

I'm kind of middle of the road on the safety spectrum.

Step 2: Find an Outlet

This time we mean it literally. 

Step 3: Take Off the Outlet Face Plate

Use scissors to cut a rectangle of the foamy packing sheet (aka gasket material) about an inch or more larger than the size of the cover plate. 

Hold it up to the back of the cover plate and poke the screw through it.

Step 4: Re-attach the Cover Plate

Re-attach it gently at first and straighten out any big wrinkles in the gasket material.

Then tighten the screw normally.

Step 5: Trim the Excess Gasket Material

You can be gentle because the gasket material is so soft.  no need to scratch the wallpaper or cover plate.

Step 6: Peel Away the Excess Material

Step 7: All Done. Now You Have a Happy and Healthy Outlet.

You can peel the little grins off their faces.

Repeat on all the other outlets in your home. 

Even the ones on the interior walls that can act as chimneys for warm air entering through the outlets and rising into the attic via small unseen framing passages.

Step 8: Now Do All the Switch Cover Plates the Same Way.

Instead of pushing the screws through, it's easier to just make a small slit to push the gaskets over the light switch and then re-attach the cover plate.  The screws easily push through the soft gasket when re-attaching the plate.