Homeowners looking to save on energy bills can start right at the front door. Evaluating your main entry door at least once annually for its operational capabilities and energy efficiency features is good practice, say experts.
“Most homeowners can get years of service out of their front doors, but there will come a time when a door needs to be replaced,” says Derek Fielding, director of product management for Therma-Tru Corp., a leading manufacturer of entry doors. “It’s important to annually evaluate and maintain your main entryway.”
According to Fielding, there are several ways to determine when it’s time for a replacement.
• Open and close doors on both dry and wet, humid days to ensure components operate smoothly. If your door doesn’t close securely or fits tightly on humid days, it’s most likely leaking air on dry days.
Inspect weather stripping around the sides. On a bright day, stand inside and look for daylight flowing through the door perimeter. If light is coming in, then external air and possibly moisture also are likely to be entering. This means it’s time to determine if your foam-filled weatherstripping may have lost some of its compression, is cracked, or worn out.
• Examine locks to ensure they operate smoothly and are strong enough to help protect your home. Multi-point locking systems offer peace-of-mind.
• Touch your door on both hot and cold days. If you feel the exterior temperatures from the inside, you may not have adequate insulation. Consider upgrading to an ENERGY STAR-qualified door with a multi-point locking system that offers a tighter fit against weatherstripping.
• Check the appearance. For wood doors, check for warping or rotting. For steel, check for dings and rust. Check that the style matches the design of your home.
Replacing a front door
If it becomes apparent you’re in the market for a new door, consider fiberglass, which is known for energy efficiency, reliability, and style customization, according to the American Architectural Manufacturers Association.
“A solid fiberglass door is up to four times more energy efficient than solid wood, plus you get the benefits of resistance to rot, rust, dings and weather,” says Fielding.
Constructed as a complete system of components, Therma-Tru fiberglass doors are engineered to work together for lasting performance, security, and energy efficiency. Key factors in dependability are multi-point locking systems that engage a series of locks at several places on the frame, as well as an adjustable security strike plate that can withstand up to three times the force of standard strike plates.
Another factor to consider is the material inside your door. A dense polyurethane foam helps achieve high thermal performance values. If you choose to add decorative glass to fiberglass doors, you can also find energy-efficient features if you comparison shop.
For energy savings and peace-of-mind, consider your front door. An annual inspection can determine if it’s time for an upgrade.