Latest Discussions : HVAC

kellyyouse

06:57PM | 09/21/04
Member Since: 09/11/02
78 lifetime posts
Hi,

I read something recently that said using electrical outlet safety caps can help save energy by reducing drafts through vacant outlet receptacles.

How true is this? I'd like to figure out whether it's a valuable source of energy conservation or mere extremism.

Thanks!

Kelly

Anonymous

09:37AM | 09/23/04
This, in my opinion, is an energy idea taken to the extreme.

If you have an old house without insulation in the walls, the air stopped by outlet caps is insignificant compaired to all the other leaks such as: switch plates, baseboards, light fixtures, windows & frames, doors & frames, the edge of the plug plate itself, etc. You would do more good concentrating your efforts on more productive areas.

New homes with insulation and wall moisture barriers inherently have little leakage through electric plugs. Additionally, there are recent concerns that the newer homes are too air-tight. Commercial buildings are required to add fresh air to the ventilation systems but there is no such requirement for residences. Heretofore this was not a concern since fresh air was introduced by inherent leakage.

To discover your biggest problems, have an energy audit performed. Then determine what you can afford to fix. Many power companies offer free audits for customers.

A good thing about those outlet caps is that they reduce the hazard of little kids inserting metal objects into the plugs.

Anonymous

10:59AM | 09/24/04
It somewhat depends upon the part of the country you live in. For the south (Texas), this is a energy saving idea taken to the extreme.

In an old house without insulation, the amount of air stopped by the caps is insignificant compaired to other sources of leakage such as doors & frames, windows & frames, wall plates, light fixtures, switches, attic access panels, dryer vents, etc. You might do better to work on more productive areas.

In newer homes with properly installed insulation, moisture barriers, and many other energy saving features, the amount of air getting to the outlets is vey small. In fact, in recent years, constructing houses too "tight" has been a concern. Commercial buildings are required to introduce outside air into the ventilation system in quantities varying from about 5% to 15% of the air volume. This requirement is not currently applied to residences which heretofore leaked enough to provide outside air.

Your best option is to have an energy audit performed on your home. You will get a list of deficiencies that you can evaluate and tackle the most productive. Many power companies offer free or inexpensive energy audits for their customers.

Aside from the energy aspect, one definite plus to installing caps is that they reduce the chances of a child inserting a metal object into the outlet.

bravey

11:01AM | 09/24/04
Member Since: 06/23/04
161 lifetime posts
It somewhat depends upon the part of the country you live in. For the south (Texas), this is a energy saving idea taken to the extreme.

In an old house without insulation, the amount of air stopped by the caps is insignificant compaired to other sources of leakage such as doors & frames, windows & frames, wall plates, light fixtures, switches, attic access panels, dryer vents, etc. You might do better to work on more productive areas.

In newer homes with properly installed insulation, moisture barriers, and many other energy saving features, the amount of air getting to the outlets is vey small. In fact, in recent years, constructing houses too "tight" has been a concern. Commercial buildings are required to introduce outside air into the ventilation system in quantities varying from about 5% to 15% of the air volume. This requirement is not currently applied to residences which heretofore leaked enough to provide outside air.

Your best option is to have an energy audit performed on your home. You will get a list of deficiencies that you can evaluate and tackle the most productive. Many power companies offer free or inexpensive energy audits for their customers.

Aside from the energy aspect, one definite plus to installing caps is that they reduce the chances of a child inserting a metal object into the outlet.


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