Q: "What kind of energy savings am I likely to have if I replace my standard outlet covers with the ones that slide open and closed? Is it enough to insert those round plugs? Or should I put complete covers such as the CoverPlug onto outlets I am not using? I've noticed cold air coming in through the unused outlets in cold weather."--Jerry
Answer: Reducing air leakage would immediately improve your comfort. To get a dollars and cents number, you'd need to figure in costs of natural or propane gas, oil, etc. Get a professional energy audit: you may need more than outlet covers for significant savings. CareCovers will reduce leakage, though, as I personally learned.
The best and easiest way to childproof and reduce air leaks are to install the sliding door outlet covers, the Plug Guard Energy Saving Safety Outlet Cover
, the CareCover probably in warm white
or similar sliding door units. The PlugGuard outlet covers fit only standard three prong outlets and come only in white. The CareCover come in cream, brown, white, ivory and sometimes red depending upon if the duplex unit is a Decora or standard outlet. Carecovers also come in non-grounded two prong covers. These units insulate not only the plug holes but the outlet itself as each unit has a foam strip around the exterior to keep air leaks around the exterior of the cover, too.
The CoverPlugs fit over existing unused outlets. They can be painted or wallpapered. When you need the outlet, just pull out the cover as the original outlet is there.
The advantages of the Levitron units is that they are UL listed. The PlugGuard doors move up and down while the other sliding door covers move from side to side. A less expensive option that is more difficult for kids to remove are the Sockit Lockets. CareCovers were tested using the Minnesota Blower Door Test that showed a 15% decrease in air leakage with Carecovers. Family Handyman magazine in 2008 recommended CoverPlugs.
I quickly installed CareCovers on all my exterior wall outlets several years ago when I felt cold air coming through outlet holes one January day. (My house was built in 1990 with insulation updated in 1994). There was an immediate increase in comfort without raising the thermostat.
All these units will save on energy just by blocking unused outlet holes. If you use the round plug inserts, remember to install foam gaskets behind each outlet cover.
If you have other questions, please contact us.