Posted: September 23, 2016
When determining how to save energy in their home, many homeowners tend to overlook the effect of a poorly installed or outdated door. Much like windows, exterior doors lower the insulating value of the surrounding wall. So, if a new front door is in your remodeling plans, consider an energy-efficient model. Here are some tips.
There are many different types of entry doors out there, but in general they fall into three types:
Wood: It’s the most traditional front door material, and one that other materials try to mimic because of its handsome, distinctive look. Modern wood doors have improved weather stripping, but in terms of insulating value, they’re not as efficient as other materials.
Steel: These are economical alternatives to wood doors, and come in large variety of different finishes. From an energy standpoint, steel-clad doors have an insulated core, which helps eliminate drafts and air leaks. They are also considered a good choice for home security.
Fiberglass: Much like steel doors, they have insulated cores and are available in a variety of different finishes, some of which that look remarkably like real wood. They can also withstand just about any climatic condition.
One way to be sure that you’re getting the most energy-efficient door available i to look for the energy star rating. Energy Star is a joint project of the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency that sets energy standards for a variety of items. Products that carry the Energy Star logo are more energy efficient than standard products. When rating a product, Energy Star considers the insulating value of the material, along with the performance of the glass on the door.
The map and table show Energy Star’s latest requirements for doors. The Country is divided into four areas based on heating and cooling requirements. The required U-factors depend on the amount of glazing on the door. U-factors measure the rate of heat transfer. The lower the U-factor, the better the material is at blocking heat transfer. You can convert U-factors into R-Values, a more common measure of thermal resistance, by dividing the U-factor into one (R-value = 1/U-value). For example, a U-factor of 0.25 corresponds to an R-value of four.
The Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) is a number between 0.0 and 1.0 that measures the ability of the glass to block heat from the sunlight. The requirements are more stringent for warmer parts of the country.
High quality doors will feature good weather stripping systems. Some may come with adjustable thresholds that keep drafts out and are designed to channel water away from the door. Most doors are now sold “pre-hung”, which means they already come built into the frame, but this doesn’t mean there isn’t any room for error. Installers must make sure that frame is settled in the opening; also making sure that it is level. The space between the house and door should also be insulated before adding any molding.
Knowing the options available will help you choose a door that fits your taste and conserves power. By properly installing an insulated front door, you wont overexert your heating and cooling systems, and your home will use less energy.
Source: Care2 Healthy Living
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