Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Switch Plates - Saving Money And Resources Made Easy

If your energy bills are going through the roof and you're wondering what to do about it, switch plates may be the answer. These small and inexpensive items may make the difference between cold, draughty rooms that cost you an arm and a leg to heat, and a well-insulated house where temperate air circulates in the correct fashion.

The first thing to find out is what is causing the problem. Start with the obvious. You probably wouldn't leave windows open in the middle of winter, but check to see if the windows shut properly and whether or not they are double-glazed. Roof insulation is also worth verifying. All done? If you have had your windows replaced recently with better insulated ones, then you can move on to the next step; switch plates.

Time to get down on your hands and knees to check your electrical outlets. Each electrical outlet is a prime suspect for the leakage of warmth out of your house. You can test for cold air movement by putting your face close to the outlet. Your cheeks and eyes are typically very sensitive to cold air moving across them. Otherwise a standard candle will soon show air currents by a fluttering flame or smoke being blown across. If this happens, it's time to make a (modest) investment in insulating your switchplates.

The reason why it's worth taking the time to check out your switch plates is because although each one may seem small, there are likely to be a lot of them in your house. In addition, switchplates often cover quite sizable holes going back behind plasterboard or supporting walls. Multiplying energy leakage per switch plate by the number of outlets soon adds up to a big drain on resources.

So how can you insulate your switch plates? The good news is that the solution can be quick, effective and inexpensive. The product that is required is called a foam gasket. This is an expanded polystyrene-type of foam cover that fits in and around the electrical outlet hole to block off the passage of air currents. To fit them, you unscrew the switch plate. You then fit the foam cover over the aperture where the electrical outlet arrives, and finally screw back on the switch plate.

Make sure that you do this for electrical outlets that were never meant to be part of the ventilation, rather than air vents that were designed into vent the house. It's important to leave these purpose-installed air vents in an operational state, because you need some movement of air to mix the cooler, dryer outside air with the warmer, moister inside air. If you blocked up every single hole possible, the warm, moist air would stay trapped inside your house and lead to problems of dampness, mold and associated conditions.

However, by targeting the electrical outlets whose sole purpose should be to bring you electricity and not cold air, insulating behind your switch plates can mean a major difference in comfort and reduction of energy bills.

Author Jennifer Akre is an owner of a wide variety of online specialty shops that offer both products and information on how you can easily furnish and decorate your space. Whether it's your living, bedroom, or even your deck or patio, there are many tips you can use to make your space both functional and beautiful. Today, she offers advice on how to create a fabulous outdoor area by using colorful switchplate covers, sophisticated switch plates and an illuminating light switch plate.

Article Source: