How high is your power bill? When it’s time to turn on the air conditioning, do you shudder at the thought of a price spike? Do you spend a little too much time calculating how long you can stay warm in a coat before turning on the heat?
Energy conservation is important, and it’s commendable to wear your coat around the home to save energy. What else could you do? Are there any home improvements that could help, such as sealing cracks or fixing windows?
Think about your doors. There are a few different issues that doors — as well as windows–can create if they’re not installed and maintained properly. Here are 5 features that make entry doors more energy efficient while making wood entry doors and other exterior doors easier to compare.
Feature One: A Good Seal
Standard, modern doors protect the home from outdoor air due to a thin magnetic strip that provides a proper seal or enclosed space. This type of seal is called weather-stripping, because it’s a strip of material that reduces the impact of weather on your indoor climate.
Not all doors have weather-stripping, and it’s not just budget door buyers that need to worry. If you have a flair for the ornate or want to purchase a maximum security door, the weather-stripping isn’t always pre-installed.
Especially when buying used doors or recovering antique doors, many first-time homeowners and amateur remodelers fail to realize the gaps at their door frame. Those gaps allow cold air in during the winter and hot air in during the summer.
This isn’t just a comfort issue; your air conditioning and heating units must work harder to maintain the same temperature when outside air has free, wide gaps to enter. The solution is simple: contact a professional to install weather-stripping for your custom doors, or ask a window and door company to add weather-stripping if not already included.
Features 2 and 3: Outer Materials And Good Cores
Entry or exterior doors are often made of a steel outer shell with a polyurethane core. These doors can be painted or paneled with different materials for aesthetic and practicality purposes, and are sometimes mistaken for higher security steel doors.
Steel shells aren’t the only option, and shouldn’t be considered as durable as a solid steel or thick steel door. When dealing with simple shells and insulated cores, fiberglass doors offer a lot more variety.
Fiberglass doors, for example, can be designed with greater ease than steel. You’re more likely to get those fine wood grain appearances or unique surfaces with a manufactured fiberglass door, and durability can be built around the core.
Since not all doors have cores, be sure to check allegedly solid doors for gutted or hollow insides. Scammers may try to sell solid oak or solid mahogany doors that are actually scraped out on the inside, and may have deceptive varnish to hide the true wood type.
If in doubt, get a window and door specialist to check things out.
Feature 4: Windowed Doors? The Glass Type Matters
During the summer, open windows can heat up your home a lot faster than some people assume. Although comfortable sunlight on a sunny, air conditioned day can feel nice, you may be overworking your air conditioning unit.
Covering up windows with drapes is one option, but you may want to research the glass type. There is energy-efficient glazing that can redirect certain wavelengths for a cooler home, gas-injected glass that achieves the same effect, and even glass that has small incisions that change the light angle.
The glazing and injection do not necessarily darken your home. It’s not like adding a car tint to your home, but if you’d like that effect on certain windows and rooms, tinting can be installed.
Feature 5: Storm Doors
Even with the best seal and advanced insulation techniques, your door can’t do much if a hurricane or tornado rips it off your home.
Storm doors are designed for homes in hurricane and/or tornado alley. If you live or have a vacation home in one of those areas, getting a storm door can protect you from the ravages of nature.
Storm door installation is not just about thick and strong door materials. The door and frame are anchored into the home itself, and advanced weather-stripping techniques are designed to keep flood waters at bay as long as possible.
Contact a window and door expert to discuss door options, installation, and deliver options for local and vacation homes.