Having a nice looking entry to your house is important, but equally important is making sure that your front door is well insulated. Your front door is a significant barrier to both hot and cold air entering your home, so choosing the right door can help you reduce energy costs, and keep your home more comfortable.
If your home is new, most likely it has been fitted with an energy-efficient door, but if your home is older, it might be worth considering replacing your front door with a newer, energy-saver model.
Many people choose wood doors for their beauty, but insulated steel and fiberglass doors are more energy efficient. The R-value (energy efficiency value) of a steel and fiberglass door 1.5 inches thick without a window is typically R-5 or R-6–five times that of a solid wood door. Having a window in a fiberglass/steel door does lower the R-value somewhat, depending on the size of the window, but the door remains highly energy-efficient overall.
Typically, today’s energy-efficient doors have a steel skin with a polyurethane foam insulation core. They are usually also outfitted with a magnetic strip (like those on refrigerators) as weatherstripping; this provides a tight seal when the door is closed. If the door is installed properly, it should need no further weather stripping.
Here in New England, most homes have storm doors. If your home does not, and your door is older, then adding a storm door is a good investment. If your home is new, and your door is already a highly energy efficient, then a storm door may not be needed.
Today’s metal-framed storm doors are often insulated and have low emissivity (low-e) glass or glazing, adding a good layer of protection to your home.
One thing to be careful of: If your front door gets a lot of direct sun, do not add a glass storm door. Heat will build up between the storm door and the regular door and eventually damage the regular door.
Many homes also have glass doors, often opening to a deck or patio. These can let a lot of cold or warm air in as glass is a poor insulator. Most modern glass doors with a metal frame now come with a “thermal break”–which is a plastic insulator between the inner and outer parts of the frame. If you want glass doors, the types with several layers of glass, low emissivity coatings, and/or low conductivity gases between the panes will be your best investment–especially in our rugged New England climate.
Another fact to consider if you want to enjoy the beauty of glass doors but also be more energy efficient, is choose swinging glass doors versus sliding. It is impossible to fully weatherstrip a sliding glass door and have the door be used. Although some sliding glass doors come with some weatherstripping on them, as the doors are used, this weatherstripping wears down. In some cases, it can be replaced, but not always.
A good way to insulate around glass doors is to hang insulated curtains. These can help block cold air in winter and hot air in summer.
For more information about doors, visit our Windows and Doors page. We sell a full line of doors and storm doors and are happy to answer all of your questions.Share post