Energy Efficient Doors
You may be spending more on home heating and cooling than you think. Almost half of the average home’s energy use goes to using the HVAC system, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The heater and air conditioner aren’t the only parts of your home that contribute to rising heating and cooling costs. Your entry doors also play a role in how efficient your home is.
What do your doors have to do with your heating and cooling costs? Take a look at the ways that entry doors affect energy efficiency and how they can help you to lower your HVAC-related costs.
The R-Value and Efficiency
You’re choosing a new entry door and keep seeing R-values. What is this number, and why should you pay attention to it? The R-value measures the door’s resistance to heat flow. Doors with a higher R-value are better insulated, making them more energy efficient.
Some doors are made from multiple layers of material, such as insulation sandwiched in between steel. To get the true R-value, you need to add the values of the insulation layer and the steel layer.
Doors made from fiberglass and steel (especially those that also contain insulation inside) tend to have the best energy efficiency properties. They’ll do better than a solid glass door or an uninsulated wood door at keeping the cold (or heat) out.
The Door Frame
You can have a well-insulated door with a high R-value and still feel a draft when you walk by. While the door itself is important when it comes to energy efficiency, it isn’t the only factor at play. Frames with cracks, gaps, and holes can cause air leaks. This lets the cold winter air in and your warm heated air out (as well as the opposite, warm air in and cold air out, in the summer months).
If you’re replacing the entry doors and the frames are in disrepair, have serious gaps, or are old, it’s time for them to go, too. Replacing the frames with new ones that are solid, don’t let air in/out, and fit the door snugly can improve your home’s energy efficiency.
Frames that are slightly worn may need repairs, not replacement. Small gaps that are under one-quarter of an inch are candidates for caulking. A professional door contractor can assess your frames and advise you on whether they’re salvageable or not. If they are, the pros can repair the gaps and cracks, making the doors more energy efficient.
You can add extra insulation by installing a storm door, weather-stripping, or both. Deciding to install a storm door isn’t always necessary, but doing so can boost the efficiency of an older entry door or one that doesn’t have an adequate amount of insulation inside of it. If you do choose to use a storm door, make sure that the glass is high quality.
Glass with a low-emissivity (or low-e) coating helps to stop the heat transfer from one side to the other. While this type of glass may cost you more, it can also save you money on energy costs. Doors that easily let heat transfer through the material can benefit from the addition of a low-e glass storm door.
If a storm door isn’t on your home improvement agenda, make sure that the weather stripping around the door is in good shape. If it’s falling off or falling apart, replace it. This will help to insulate your door and keep the air out.
Do you need a new entry door? Arch Design Window Door Co. has options that can increase your home’s energy efficiency.