Energy Efficient Exterior Doors And Storm Doors

Doors are a necessary part of a home for both access and ventilation as well as illumination. However, doors that are in poor condition due to age or other issues may cause serious air leaks in your home or building that can wind up costing you a lot in both energy and money. Here are some guidelines for exterior doors:

Weather Stripping: All doors should have very tight weather stripping. Many door frames have a magnetic weather stripping built in that helps to make a tight seal. This tighter seal will help to reduce air leaks and heat loss and your home will be more energy efficient.

Multiple Glass Panes: Energy Star doors will have double or even triple glass panes in windows. This has long been proven to help insulate against heat loss.

Core Material: Core material of doors can act as an insulation and prevent heat loss. A lot of doors have cores that are of fiberglass as well as wood and fiber and even polyurethane that can all provide great insulation properties.


When your door is closed, your home should be sealed and secure.


Exterior doors offer a lot of benefits to prevent air leaks and stop energy waste. Older and non-insulated doors or doors that aren’t properly installed or not properly sealed won’t help prevent air loss. Weather stripping can greatly help to prevent air loss.


New doors for exterior areas are a lot better than older doors. They are better insulated and tend to be of better construction. It’s a wise investment to replace doors. It may help to lower heating and cooling costs if you replace older doors. new homes should always have the most energy efficient doors that can be found.

When seeking doors that are energy efficient, it is wise to first find out what their energy performance ratings is when compared to the local climate and home design. This can help to narrow down the selection.


There are wood doors, steel skin doors with polyurethane foam insulation cores and all should have a magnetic strip that is similar to the magnetic action of a refrigerator door. When properly installed, they aren’t bent and won’t need further weather stripping.

R values of steel and fiberglass entry doors will range from an R-5 to R-6. This doesn’t include windows which can contribute to or take away from the R-value of a door. Some can offer up to five times or more of the insulation value of solid wood doors.


Glass doors should be checked for good seals and double pane glass.

Glass doors or patio doors, especially if they are sliders, often lose more heat than other doors due to the glass which is a poor insulator. Modern glass styled doors that have metal frames and a thermal break as a plastic insulator between the inner and of the outer parts of the framework well. The more layers of glass, the lower emissivity coatings or low conductivity gasses between the layers of glass are a wise investment. In extreme climates even more so. Keep this in mind and remember that a swinging door offers a tighter seal than a sliding door.

There is simply no way to stop all air leaks in a sliding glass door. Additionally, after years of usage, weather stripping tends to break down and the air leaks increase as the door ages. Always replace old and worn weather stripping.


When buying a door, it is likely going to be pre-hung. This means that it will usually have a wood or steel frame. Remove the existing doorframe from the opening prior to installation to ensure that you’re getting a tight fit. Door frames should also be square to ensure that they seal tightly and properly.

Prior to adding interior trim, be sure to apply expanding foam caulking to seal the doorframe to the rough opening and to the threshold. This can help to prevent any extra air from the door seal and from leaking into the house. Be sure to carefully apply the caulking to ensure that the frame is fully enclosed.

If needed, add extra weatherstripping. Be sure to check weatherstripping annually to ensure that doors are properly weatherized.


A storm door is a wise investment as well. Older doors that are still in good condition can greatly benefit from storm doors. Adding storm doors to newer doors isn’t usually necessary and won’t really save you much.

Storm doors are typically made from aluminum, steel, wood or fiberglass. Wooden storm doors will require more maintenance than other types of storm doors. Metal storm doors often have a foam insulation inside of the frame.

Higher quality storm doors will use a low-emissivity or low-E glass and or glazing. Many have self-storing pockets for the glass during the summer months. This allows for cross ventilation. Some have a half screen that can be stored as well. Many are removable to clean and some are stationary and can’t be removed at all. Each specific feature will adjust the cost slightly up or down.

Never put in a storm door if the exterior door has more than just a few hours of direct sunlight on a daily basis. The glass can trap the heat and cause damage.

Storm doors that are used as patio doors are difficult to find however, they are available. Adding one to a new multi-glazed Low-E door isn’t very economic however as it’s redundant. Consider insulated drapes when closing doors for winter or in the summer to block out weather if needed.

Check that the seals around any windows are not leaking and that your door is not warped after years of use to ensure your door seals tightly and is secure.

Weatherstripping that’s deteriorated or poorly installed can create leaks in your seal that let air in and out and make it nearly impossible to control indoor temperatures.