Author Topic: electrical outlet gaskets  (Read 10298 times)

badman70

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electrical outlet gaskets
« on: July 03, 2008, 11:33:05 AM »
What kind of STC rating do outlet gaskets have.  Assuming that one is not going to be able to break through the drywall to putty up the back of the electrical outlet, are these gaskets going to reasonably plug a leak? 

I read you can caulk the gasket to get a better seal.  I understand caulking the corner of the drywall and floor behind the molding, but can't really imagine what to do with caulk around an electrical outlet.  I guess the caulk is supposed to be between the drywall and gasket and you hope the gasket doesn't stick out too far so you can't put the plate back on.  Please forgive my ignorance here.   

What other areas should I be checking to caulk up leaks besides outlets, light switches and the drywall/floor corner?

johnbergstromslc

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Re: electrical outlet gaskets
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2008, 11:42:39 PM »
After the drywall is installed, there will be a gap between it and the electrical box - 1/8" - 1/4", depending on how neat and professional the installer is.  That's what you'll want to seal - the perimeter of the electrical box.  Otherwise the wall cavity is open, and leaky. 

The best thing to do is cover the thin plastic boxes with some mass, like putty pads, separate 'sub-boxes', or simply butter them up with a lot of caulking.  But realistically, if you can get to the job site when the rough electrical work is being done, see if you can seal up the holes and gaps in the back of the boxes with some good silicone caulk.  It  won't take much time or money to seal them, but plugging those leaks will pay big dividends later...

The gaskets work well.  Installed properly, they stop air infiltration and hence most of the noise transfer.  Couldn't give you an STC rating, but bought in bulk, the gaskets are only about a dime each, so there's not much to lose by using them.

I like to say that you should caulk anywhere there is a discontinuity in the drywall panel.  Seams, corners, cutouts, electrical boxes, penetrations, etc.  Anywhere sound could 'short circuit' around the mass of the drywall.  Since you're not doing the work, most of this is probably not practical but do as much as you can.       

badman70

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Re: electrical outlet gaskets
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2008, 02:43:41 AM »
thanks for the info again John.  I feel like we all should be paying you for your advice or something.


One other question. 

The builder made a mistake in installing R13 insulation on both sides of the double studded wall.  The plans only call for one side.  So by the time they get to my unit, they will only install the insulation on one side.  They said I could go in after hours and purchase some insulation myself and install in on the 2nd side.   In you opinion, is it worth it or is one side going to do most of the job anyway?

Thanks again.

johnbergstromslc

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Re: electrical outlet gaskets
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2008, 09:26:52 PM »
OK, you could pay me - my checking account number is 280....

Yeah, I wish I could make a living giving soundproofing advice, flying around the country doing Quality Assurance on jobs.  It would be a lot easier on my back...

As for insulation, you'll want to do both sides.  If you have 75% of the cavity thickness filled with insulation, you'll get approximately 90% the absorption compared to a full cavity - roughly 5-6 dB.  With one batt (less than 50% full) you'll get some effect, but probably only 2-3 dB.

I personally think it's worth it.  Might as well get it in there before they close up the wall...
     

badman70

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Re: electrical outlet gaskets
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2008, 11:27:05 AM »

Thanks,  I suppose a 2dB -3dB change would barely be detectable but, I agree that I mine as well try to get it in before the wall is closed up.  It's a big job for someone who sits in front of a computer all day, so I'll probably just do the most important areas (bedroom, living room etc).  For the areas I might not get to, is there a preference I should have as to which side of the wall the batt should be installed if there was only one?  Or does a few inches actually not matter?

johnbergstromslc

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Re: electrical outlet gaskets
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2008, 09:24:44 PM »
I haven't seen any definitive studies on the subject, but I doubt it would matter what side a lone batt would be on. 

If you don't get around to it, probably not a big deal.  The party wall he's building probably has an STC rating in the mid 50's, so another 2-3 points won't make a huge difference.

joel

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Re: electrical outlet gaskets
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2008, 06:26:20 PM »
You can also use 1/8" thick Super Soundproofing Mat on the inside face of the outlet cover.  It works.  Here's a link  - see the first product discussed at
http://www.soundproofing.org/sales/prices.html

johnbergstromslc

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Re: electrical outlet gaskets
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2008, 12:56:39 AM »
You can also use 1/8" thick Super Soundproofing Mat on the inside face of the outlet cover.  It works.  Here's a link  - see the first product discussed at
http://www.soundproofing.org/sales/prices.html

At hundreds of dollars per roll, plus shipping?  Uh, no...

Randy S

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Re: electrical outlet gaskets
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2008, 03:49:19 PM »
You dont need a whole roll to do electrical outlet gaskets. 1 or 2 running feet at most will be more than enough...
Randy Sieg

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www.soundproofing.org
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Ph. 760-752-3030
Fax.760-752-3040

johnbergstromslc

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Re: electrical outlet gaskets
« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2008, 11:38:26 PM »
Nope, not gonna change my advice.  Keep it simple, get the gaskets cheaply at the local home center.  The difference in performance versus other suggested materials is too infinitesimal to lose even one seconds sleep over...
 

joel

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Re: electrical outlet gaskets
« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2008, 07:36:17 PM »
Putty pads work best.  Here is a link which shows how they work:
http://www.firestop.com/productssheets/installationputtypads.pdf
You can get them from an electrical supply store locally.

Lethdorr

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Re: electrical outlet gaskets
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2008, 09:13:04 AM »
What an excellent idea. After reading this thread, I just went out and put some in.

In that same vein, what would provide the best sound protection on the outside of the gasket: a steel or plastic switchplate? I'm not exactly sure on which material sound waves travel more easily through, and at roughly the same price for a painted steel outlet cover as a plastic one, I might as well do this one right.

Any suggestions?

joel

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Re: electrical outlet gaskets
« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2008, 06:00:22 PM »
Go with the plastic cover - they resonate less than metal.  You can also use the ones with rubber gaskets like those for exterior use.
Glad to hear you liked the putty pads.

 

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