Save Energy — Doors

Doors are not only ways to enter and exit your home but can also provide an accent to your home or provide a view of your yard and surroundings. But as you enter, with you is the cold or hot outside air. As you leave, with you goes the expensive conditioned air from inside.

Your Home Energy Living Plan

  • Seal and weather strip cracks and gaps.
  • Keep door tightly closed.
  • Consider upgrading door, especially sliding or french doors.
Impact of Your Energy Saving Actions

Low cost actions like weather stripping and sealing will have an impact. If replacing, the patio door has the greatest impact on energy use.

How Energy is Lost

The door provides a means of ingress and egress; a way to come and go. It is not practical for the door to have the insulating capacity of the wall. A gap is needed to be able to open and close the door. This gap must be sealed to prevent air passing through (infiltration). As time passes the door frame can move. Major movement would cause the door to not open or close properly. This gets your attention. Slight movement may result in the door sticking or more difficult to open or close. This tends to be ignored or repair put off to another time. However, on the opposite side of the rubbing, air is leaking in and out.

Old doors had minimal or no insulation. If there was any glass, then it was single pane. This results in excess energy use. The two main ways energy is used is the heat conducting through the door and the infiltration past the door.

Door Characteristics

Exterior doors are made of wood, steel, or fiberglass. In the case of the steel door, it is insulated inside since steel is a poor insulator. Steel and fiberglass doors provide better resistance to heat flow. However, many considerations are involved in selecting a door. Aspects of security, durability, and esthetics may override the energy aspects of the door.

The amount of glass in and around the door can affect the energy use more than the door itself. Glass on the side of the door are called sidelites and over the door is called transom lite. Glass in the door is called door lite. Since these lites do not open, they can be sealed. The size of the lites can affect the overall energy use due to the amount of glass.

The exterior door which losses the most energy is the patio door. Whether a sliding door or french door, these door have a large amount of glass. The large amount of glass increases heat gain and loss. Also they have more length that requires weather stripped. Drapes or shades over the patio door can help conserve energy.

Energy Solutions Explained

All gaps or cracks in the frame and trim should be sealed. Check weather stripping to assure a good seal at the door. The door may last many years, but weatherstrip needs to be replace every few years.

As the door ages, it may be more difficult to tightly close the door. Check every time it is closed or if severe make repairs.

If it is time to replace your door consider energy factor along with other factors like security and durability. Sliding doors and french doors will have a NFRC (National Fenestration Rating Council) rating for comparing energy use.

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