Garage door efficiency

If you have an attached garage, the efficiency of your garage door can impact your whole house. Learn what options are available and how to make sure your garage door is keeping out the winter air.

Start saving at your front door

A great place to start saving energy is right at your front door. If your door is old, doesn't seal properly, or is drafty maybe it's time to consider a new one. Doors today have foam insulation built into them to improve their R-value, but it's all in the proper installation to ensure your door performs well.

Types of exterior doors

If you have an older wood exterior door, it probably has an R-value of only two - and it could be leaking air due to warping.

New materials and insulation help new models stand up to weather and humidity, and keep heat where it belongs.

  • Steel doors, starting around $150, offer good insulation at a low cost. The paintable steel surface holds up well to normal wear and tear, and any dents can be repaired easily with auto-body putty. A steel door with a polyurethane foam core offers an insulating value of about R-11.
  • Fiberglass doors offer a wood-grain look that can be stained using special materials. At about $300, prices for fiberglass doors reflected the upscale appearance. Insulation values range from R-5 to R-10.
  • Composite doors achieve a true wood appearance with a wood veneer laminated over a steel door with a one-inch foam core. Another style available features a wood panel exterior with a ½-inch foam core. These models are the most expensive, typically $300 and up. Insulation values range from R-5 to R-10.

And don't forget to check with your utility company about rebates and other incentives.

Garage doors

The R-value of garage doors has increased over the years as well, so when it's time to replace your garage door you could be increasing the energy efficiency of the garage itself.

Most garage doors today feature a steel sandwich construction. It's a layer of steel over a urethane foam-filled core with R values up to R-12 or greater. In addition, new garage doors should be installed with a tight fitting weather seal which prevents air infiltration, and eliminates drafts.

When considering a new garage door purchase, you may also need to update your garage door opener. The current safety standard for garage door openers is a photo eye sensor. A light beam is projected parallel to the garage door and if the beam is broken, the door will not close.

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