“If one of your New Year’s resolutions pertains to saving money, you may want to consider replacing the front entry door of your home, as this project will have a positive impact on your home’s energy bill,” said Wendy Cline, owner of J&B Construction. “In addition to improved energy efficiency, a new front entry door can help prevent UV damage and increase the amount of natural light that enters the home.”
In winter, a home’s exterior functions as a thermal envelope. Naturally, any openings in the envelope, such as doors and windows, are susceptible to air leaks, especially older doors and windows. When these leaks are present, the HVAC system must work overtime to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature, resulting in a higher energy bill. “Newer doors combat this issue because they have significantly greater insulation properties compared to older doors,” said Wendy.
When selecting a new front entry door, you’ll want to examine energy performance ratings while keeping southeastern Wisconsin climate and your home’s design in mind. “You can reference the Energy Star rating and the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) label, which are often located on the product itself, to verify its energy efficiency,” she said. More specifically, Energy Star rating confirms that the product is energy-efficient, while the NFRC label provides an analysis of a product’s energy performance, allowing people to make comparisons between other energy-efficient products.
Along with a general product description and the surface area of the glass in the door, the NFRC label provides two important values, including the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) and the U-factor. The SHGC ranges from 0-1 and measures how well a product can withstand unwelcome solar radiation. “No matter the outside temperature, solar radiation can heat your home. The lower the SHGC value, the cooler a home will be, the higher the value, the more heat will enter your home,” Wendy said. “In other words, a lower SHGC will help keep your home cooler in the summer months, while a higher SHGC will help keep your home warmer in the winter.”
The U-factor ranges from 0-2 and measures how well a door or window retains heat inside a home. Lower U-factor numbers signify better insulating abilities.
“Another element to consider separate from the Energy Star rating and the NFRC label is the R-value, which measures how effective an insulating material is at resisting heat flow,” she said. The greater the R-value, the better the door’s insulating properties. Most insulated fiberglass and steel entry doors have an R-value that ranges from R-5-R-6, which does not take a glass window or insert into account, while a solid wood entry door typically has an R-value of R-2 or R-3.
Keep in mind UV radiation is emitted from the sun and over time it can seep through the glass of a front door and cause damage to flooring and various furnishings. Not only is UV radiation capable of fading colors, but it can also break down materials, including furniture. “So, if you are installing a new front entry door with windows, be sure the windows are equipped with UV protection or Low-E glass in order to significantly hinder this aging process,” Wendy said. “Moreover, consider applying UV-stabilized clear polyurethane coating to help protect the rest of the door from the sun’s powerful rays.”
If glass inserts are included with the front door, the amount of natural light that enters a home increases. “A well-lit room can save you money on your electricity bill as well as increase your home’s property value,” she said. “Not to mention, the presence of natural light has been shown to enhance people’s dispositions too.”
If you’re considering improving your home’s energy efficiency while saving money in the process, entry door replacement is an excellent option. “Unlike an old door, which will hurt your wallet, a new front entry door will help your bottom line because modern exterior doors are highly energy efficient, are better at blocking out UV radiation that could otherwise cause damage, and front doors that are fitted with glass inserts maximize the amount of natural light that enters your home, reducing your electricity use,” Wendy said. “Plus, a new front entry door will keep you warm and cozy in the winter and cool and comfortable in the summer as it plays a pivotal role in maintaining indoor temperature.”