If you want to insulate your house, doors and windows are the primary elements you need to pay attention to. In most cases, they are a reason when your home uncontrollably loses or gains heat depending on the season. When it comes to the energy efficiency of the house, you should also check the garage, attic, basement, and every room door.
One of the best ways to check for the air leak is to light an incense stick or a candle and move around the door frame. You will quickly able to find the gaps. The insulation method you should apply will depend on the door model you have, as well as the existing glass surfaces. I will list you the best ways to insulate the door and reduce your energy bills.
1. Door sweeps for winter-proof
Door sweeps are easy to install on the bottom of the door, from the inside. It will seal the gap between the door and the threshold. For the aluminum or steel door, the sweep comes in U-shape and slides underneath them.
You can also choose a form of metal strip attached to the bottom of the door and the rubber, brush vinyl, or felt seal attached to the strip.
2. Threshold and door seal
If the source of the draft comes from the bottom, and you have a door sweep, then the reason can be the threshold. Check the adjustable screws and tighten them if they are loose. That will keep the threshold fixed and reduce the draft. If it is necessary, replace the door seal as well.
There are different types of insulating thresholds, such as:
- Bulb threshold made from vinyl or aluminum.
- Frost – brake threshold made of wood on the inside and aluminum on the outside. It is an effective solution, but it not easy to install.
3. The weather-strip for the exterior door
There are several types of weather-strips, and you should choose the best one according to the climate you live in. Make sure to have correct measures and apply the strips to a clean, dry surface. Also, check for any cracks or gaps in the walls around the door and caulk them properly.
- V strip – These strips made of aluminum, stainless steel, or vinyl go on the top and sides of the door. They are long-lasting, easy to install, and not too visible after mounting.
- Felt – It is not too complicated to install this type of strip all around the door and in the door jamb. It is made of wool or synthetic fibers and can have additional flexible metal tape for strength. This material is inexpensive, but you should know that it is neither durable nor moisture resistant. Also, it is visible when you install it.
- Foam tape – This tape comes in various thicknesses and width. You can also pick out the desired material, including foam, vinyl, PVC, or rubber. Nowadays, you can find two types of foam tape on the market. One is an open-cell strip that controls the temperature. Another is a closed-cell, which is suitable to control both temperature and humidity. It is inexpensive and easy to install, but the downside is that it is visible.
- Tubular rubber and vinyl – You can install them around the door by attaching them on the wooden or metal mounting strip. The rubber tubes often come with an adhesive back, so you should just peel the protective strip and be ready to install it. They are useful to prevent the draft.
- Reinforced silicone – When you install it on the door jamb, it will offer excellent insulation. However, it is quite complicated to install.
Once you compare weather-strip materials, you will find out that the rubber is long-lasting and more efficient than felt, although it is much harder to install it.
On the other hand, foam is more efficient than rubber but also harder to install. Rubber and vinyl strips will give similar results. They can be pliable or stiff, have an adhesive back or not, and both won’t cost much.
Check for cracks or gaps in the walls around the door and in the line between the door and walls. Then, clean the residue of previous work and caulk the holes properly.
5. Backer rods
Backer rods are a form of insulation that you should use when the gaps are too big, and you can’t solve the problem by fixing it with caulk. Make sure to cut the correct size, and place it in the holes carefully, so it doesn’t lose its form. After that, caulk the rest of the gaps.
6. Storm doors
A storm door will additionally help to protect the existing front door and your home. It will help you keep the house fresh in summer since most of them have a screen. In the winter, it will protect your home from the wind, rain, and cold. They are easy to install, and you can find various models on the market.
If you live in a mild climate, consider placing a screen door. It is an efficient option since it cools down the house with the fresh air from outside and saves on the air conditioning costs.
7. Insulate the glass on the exterior door
If a part of your door has a door window, you can insulate it by using the same insulation kit as for the windows. It is fast and easy to apply from the exterior side of the door.
Ensure the door is clean before you use the tape and place it on the grid between glass panes if there is enough space. That way, it will give the film additional support. Once you stick and dry that layer, it will become tight and barely visible.
8. Insulation film
If your doors have only one larger glass surface, you can improve its performance by placing an insulation film. It will reduce heat loss and affect the penetration of UV and infrared rays through the glass.
9. Improve the efficiency of the sliding glass door
Sliding glass doors can be a big reason for heat loss due to its size. Some of the insulation steps will be the same as for any regular doors, but you also need to check the door track and always keep it clean.
You can vacuum it since accumulated dirt can slightly move the door from the track and enable a draft or water leak. The next step is to add plastic insulation film on the whole glass. Setting thermal insulation curtains can also be helpful.
10. Interior door insulation
When it comes to the interior doors, there are several spots that you can improve:
If you feel the draft from the hallway coming into the room, check if it is from the bottom of the door or the side. In case of the bottom door draft, use a door snake.
It is a creative solution to insulate your door. Use various cloths, sew your own door snake, and fill it with the material of your choices, such as cotton balls, paper, and rice.
If the leak is on the side, it might mean that the foam insulation between the door frame and the wall is no longer efficient. Remove the trim and check, and if it is necessary, clean the area and add new foam. Ensure that you use a proper expanding foam, which won’t pressure the door frame.
The doors between the garage and house or the attic and basement
In this case, you should place weather stripping around these doors.
With the attic, make sure to check the building codes for your area, because some insulation techniques may violate safety and fire hazard rules. With the basement, pay attention not to place a high threshold to avoid the accident because someone can fall down the stairs.
11. Garage doors
If your garage is connected to the house, the garage door will influence the temperature in both areas. When you decide to insulate it, you should use the same technique as for any other doors.
So, you should purchase an insulation kit made specifically for garage doors. It’s up to you to insulate the door by mounting insulating panels or placing foam panels into the door channels.
Garage doors insulation will reduce the amount of heat or cold coming from the outside, but it may not be as much as you expect. The best way to finish this particular job successfully is to do proper research and make a calculation on time.
If you live in a climate with cold winters, insulating doors will improve your home’s general energy efficiency, especially when you need a temporary solution for a few seasons.
Even though the DIY door insulating is a less expensive and more accessible option, sometimes it is better to hire a professional. It is particularly crucial when the extent of damage is significant. In that case, you may consider removing the old door and installing the new one for a long-lasting effect.