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Heating and cooling is the largest source of energy consumption in the American household. Heating and cooling isn't an eco-evil in and of itself, but most electric plants rely on coal or some type of non-renewable resource. We need to cut down on electricity usage in order to cut down on pollution. One of the things we can do is to make our homes energy efficient. Installing foam insulating gaskets in all our electrical outlets is a small, useful and oft-overlooked step towards home energy efficiency.

Foam insulating gaskets are insulators for your electrical outlets. Your electrical outlets are a source of heat loss in the winter. If left unattended, your uninsulated electrical sockets can really put a drain on your power bill.

These gaskets can be found at most home improvement stores. They shouldn't cost more than a couple dollars. Most models run for less than one buck. If you can't find them in your local store, order them online.

Once you've purchased your gaskets, all you will need is a screwdriver and maybe a knife. First, switch off the power to the electrical socket that you'll be working on. Remove the faceplate of the electrical socket with the screwdriver. Now put the foam on the inside of the faceplate. You might have to cut away some of the foam in order for the sockets to show through or to make the gasket flesh with the sides of the faceplate. Replace the faceplate. If you want to tamp down your thermal envelope even more, seal the faceplate with low or no VOC caulking.

You now have an energy-efficient electrical socket. I cannot, however, vouch for the things plugged into your sockets.