Throughout the years, the construction of exterior doors has improved to increase efficiency. Limiting airflow from doors can lower heating and cooling costs. Whether you're purchasing new or addressing existing, door upgrades can help you seal in the savings.
The front door of your home has a lot of meaning. It sets the stage for the home and provides the first impression for your guests. Beyond curb appeal, the front door is a good place to look for energy savings.
Efficient exterior doors seal tightly and don’t allow air to pass through. Limiting airflow from exterior doors can lower heating and cooling costs. Throughout the years, the construction of exterior doors has improved to increase their efficiency. If your door is older, it likely is not insulated.
There are two strategies to address an inefficient front door: purchase a new one or work with what you have.
If you want to replace your front door for aesthetic purposes, make it more functional, or improve its efficiency, consider upgrading to an ENERGY STAR-certified model. The ENERGY STAR certification ensures the door you buy meets efficiency criteria for your local area. Certification requires any windows in the door to be double- or triple-paned to reduce heat flow. While windows in doors offer aesthetics, more glass means less efficiency. The bigger the windows in a door, the lower the efficiency. The most efficient doors have no glass or windows.
U-factor is the primary rating for efficiency on doors and windows. U-factor is the inverse of R-value, which is the rating used for insulation. Unlike R-value where higher is better, the lower the U-factor, the more energy-efficient the door. Check the U-factor to help choose the most efficient door in your preferred style.
ENERGY STAR-certified doors are made of the most efficient materials, such as fiberglass, wood cladding, and steel with polyurethane foam core. They are built to fit snugly into their frames, reducing drafts and airflow.
When completely replacing a door and the frame, you can use expanding foam or caulk to fill the space between the door jamb and structural framing. ENERGY STAR doors have specific installation instructions to ensure the desired efficiency.
If a new door isn’t in your budget, less expensive options can reduce air leakage and improve your home’s efficiency.
Years of use can wear out weatherstripping. If you can see daylight around the edges of the door or underneath it, it’s time to stop those air leaks.
Weatherstripping around the door jamb can be adjusted to make a snug seal or replaced if it’s too far gone. Apply one continuous strip along each side, and make sure it meets tightly at the corners. Don’t forget the door sweep at the bottom of the door.
Adding a storm door can also help. Most storm doors have options for using a screen or glass. Swapping the screen for the glass insert can help save energy in both the winter and in the summer, if you use air conditioning.
Open the door to energy savings by improving the efficiency of your exterior doors, without compromising the aesthetics of your home.