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Old 11.01.2021, 17:58
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Plugs, insulation and cold weather

Hi Ive got an unusual problem any help appreciated.

When its cold, like now, I have cold air coming in through my plugs into the house. Now I have read plenty of DIY help articles about sealing around the plugs and so forth and thats all done and its great.

Whats a bit difficult about this, is that they are coming in literally through the plug points themselves, i.e. the female part of the plug that the male part inserts into. Im at a loss as to whether this is:

1) Expected in that in the cavity we have cold air circulating, because there is some room around the fibre glass insulation in there. I am told this is normal, i.e. there should be some ventilation in the cavities as well as the insulation.

2) Not expected, i.e. is there a gap somewhere ? I have foamed in any gaps I can find in the house but there is still a strong amount of cold air coming in through the plug "holes".

In teh event its number 2, how can I fix this ? Ive seen baby plug protectors to be used (and tried it and it works but it looks ridiculous) or is there a plug device I can buy out here which will insulate a plug against this kind of gap ? Or do i need to find the source of the cold air assuming this is not the expected behaviour...

thanks
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Old 11.01.2021, 18:05
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Re: Plugs, insulation and cold weather

I don't think a lot of air should be circulating in the wall cavity ..
Plus the air should only blow in if there's somewhere for it to blow out too? else the house would inflate .

Got a real fire in there? a chimney? that would suck air out of the house thus in through any gap, even small like a plug..

Only thing I can think of is sealing the box behind the socket? They normally have quite a few holes. The wall cavity itself will be vented in many places.
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Old 11.01.2021, 18:09
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Re: Plugs, insulation and cold weather

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I don't think a lot of air should be circulating in the wall cavity ..
Plus the air should only blow in if there's somewhere for it to blow out too? else the house would inflate .

Got a real fire in there? a chimney? that would suck air out of the house thus in through any gap, even small like a plug..

Only thing I can think of is sealing the box behind the socket? They normally have quite a few holes. The wall cavity itself will be vented in many places.
Thanks John. Yes im pretty sure there shouldnt be that much air in the cavity, but ive searched around the outside of the house and im buggered if I can find where its getting in. the chimney is an insert so there's no negative airflow in that sense, its fully sealed. Im thinking of sealing the box behind the socket, but im hoping someone could point me to what to buy to do this properly for an internal plug socket, I need someone with a bit more experience than a numpty like me.
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Old 11.01.2021, 18:10
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Re: Plugs, insulation and cold weather

We had this in our first Swiss flat.

Actually we didn't notice it with winter air but with the kitchen extractor, where the only air inlet seemed to be a few sockets on the external walls. And the patio door nearly knocked you over when opening it with the extractor on.

There should be ventilation in the cavitities, but there's clearly no need for that to enter through sockets. I'd seal them somehow, but not sure how - will be interested on feedback.

It's low on my list of things to fix, other parts of our house have gaps you can see daylight through...
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Old 11.01.2021, 18:34
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Re: Plugs, insulation and cold weather

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Thanks John. Yes im pretty sure there shouldnt be that much air in the cavity, but ive searched around the outside of the house and im buggered if I can find where its getting in. the chimney is an insert so there's no negative airflow in that sense, its fully sealed. Im thinking of sealing the box behind the socket, but im hoping someone could point me to what to buy to do this properly for an internal plug socket, I need someone with a bit more experience than a numpty like me.
I think you might end up playing whack-a-mole right enough .. As newtoswitz mentions .. If you have something like an extractor or a fire venting air out.. Then air is going to want back in .. Seal up one socket and the air will come from somewhere else maybe.
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Old 11.01.2021, 20:40
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Re: Plugs, insulation and cold weather

Since Aristotle we have known that nature abhors a vacuum.
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Old 11.01.2021, 21:37
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Re: Plugs, insulation and cold weather

One small fix would be to turn off the electricity at the fusebox and then undo the plug socket, normally two small screws on each side. You'll find the mounting box inside and look for any gaps you can seal as a temporary solution, perhaps with duct tape etc.
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Old 11.01.2021, 22:08
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Re: Plugs, insulation and cold weather

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One small fix would be to turn off the electricity at the fusebox and then undo the plug socket, normally two small screws on each side. You'll find the mounting box inside and look for any gaps you can seal as a temporary solution, perhaps with duct tape etc.
The challenge here is all the cables in the back - it's pretty hard to seal that and still have enough space/movement to get it back it and not break the seal again.

For the extractor, what you need is an inlet point with a electromechanical flap that opens when the extractor is on, like this: https://www.conrad.ch/de/p/schabus-2...m-2110517.html

Another thing on my list of stuff to do...
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Old 12.01.2021, 10:14
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Re: Plugs, insulation and cold weather

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Hi Ive got an unusual problem any help appreciated.

When its cold, like now, I have cold air coming in through my plugs into the house. Now I have read plenty of DIY help articles about sealing around the plugs and so forth and thats all done and its great.

Whats a bit difficult about this, is that they are coming in literally through the plug points themselves, i.e. the female part of the plug that the male part inserts into. Im at a loss as to whether this is:

1) Expected in that in the cavity we have cold air circulating, because there is some room around the fibre glass insulation in there. I am told this is normal, i.e. there should be some ventilation in the cavities as well as the insulation.

2) Not expected, i.e. is there a gap somewhere ? I have foamed in any gaps I can find in the house but there is still a strong amount of cold air coming in through the plug "holes".

In teh event its number 2, how can I fix this ? Ive seen baby plug protectors to be used (and tried it and it works but it looks ridiculous) or is there a plug device I can buy out here which will insulate a plug against this kind of gap ? Or do i need to find the source of the cold air assuming this is not the expected behaviour...

thanks
Once you've isolated the socket and taken the cover off (I always plug a lamp in, switch it on then switch off the circuit at the consumer unit and make sure the lamp is out to be sure I have the right circuit before starting work). My suggestion:
Fill any small holes in the back of the box or around the box with flexible sealant (regular silicone sealant like you use in a bathroom would be fine or even a flexible decorative sealant if you have that around).
Give it time to cure (otherwise the next part might get messy)
Then use scrunched up plastic to pack out the larger holes and around where the cable(s) enter the box (this should cope with movement when you put the socket back on). Thin plastic bags like the ones you get veggies in at the supermarket or maybe bubble-wrap would work best.
You might be tempted to take the simple approach to just pack out the whole back of the box with scrunched up plastic. I would not recommend this but, either way, don't pack plastic in there so tightly that you put pressure on the socket or terminals that you can feel when screwing it back on.
I would take the opportunity with the socket off to make sure the wires are nice and secure in the terminals before putting it back on but that might just be me being a bit anal.

This is just a suggestion and you MUST ALWAYS ensure there is no live feed going to the socket before taking the cover off.
Stay warm
Tim
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