Thus far in my “Weather this” series of posts, I’ve tackled caulk, draft stoppers, and plastic shrink wrap for windows — all cheap, DIY remedies for leaky abodes. Today, I’m featuring a simple, often overlooked home winterization tool that’s also a breeze to install and easy on the wallet: foam outlet gaskets, also called outlet sealers or insulators.

With so much ado about proper home insulation, it's easy to forget that an electrical outlet is basically a giant hole punched in the wall and needs some kind of insulation itself, particularly on outside walls. Sealers made from fire retardant foam — you can find ‘em at home improvement stores — fit like a cozy undershirt in between a wall and an outlet or light switch cover and are effective at preventing unwanted drafts.

The installation of a foam outlet gasket is simple and only requires a screw driver: turn the power off, unscrew the outlet cover/switch plate, apply sealer as directed, replace the cover/switch plate, and you’re done. If you’ve installed gaskets around unused outlets and still notice a chill, use plastic child safety plugs to nip the problem in the bud.

A total no brainer. In upcoming “Weatherize this” posts, I’ll be featuring weatherstripping and sweaters. Yes, sweaters. Are there are any thrifty DIY home winterization tips or tidbits that you’d like to share? 


Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Weatherize this: Foam outlet gaskets
A tisket, a tasket, a draft-reducing foam outlet gasket ... dress your electrical outlets in these "undershirts" for greater energy efficiency.