French doors are definitely a good addition to any home. They are beautiful and stylish, and the glass and muntins that often come with them just add to the elegance and sophistication these doors bring to the home. This type of door also offers excellent functionality. However, French doors are mostly composed of glass, which is a poor insulator. As a result, they can contribute towards boosting your utility costs.
In this post, we’ll discuss the ways you can improve the energy efficiency of your French doors to help you make the most of the elegance it lends to the home, while still saving on utility bills.
Change the Glass or Lites
One of the downsides of glass is that it has poor insulation properties. During summer, heat reflected from the pavement or other materials outside simply pass through the glass and go directly into your home. Inversely, during winter, the heat provided by your fireplace or heaters escapes your home through the glass.
Today, you have the option to choose French doors that have Low-E glass, which is more energy efficient than regular glass. There are several different types:
- Hard Coat Low-E insulated glass
- Soft Coat Low-E insulated glass
- Argon Filled Hard Coat Low-E insulated glass
- Argon Filled Soft Coat Low-E insulated glass
These glass types have different R values. Argon-filled soft coat low-e insulated glass has the highest R rating at 4.35. Soft coat low-e insulated glass comes in second, with an R rating of 3.50. Argon-filled hard coat low-e insulated glass has a value of 2.75, while soft coat low-e insulated glass weighs in with a value of 2.45.
All of these boast much higher R values than regular glass panels. A regular, single-pane glass panel has an R rating of just 0.85.
One of the major causes of heat loss is not the door itself, but the cracks between the door and the doorframe. Weatherstrips are devised to seal that space to prevent energy from escaping. However, weatherstrips aren’t all made equal – some have better quality than others. If you want your French doors to have a higher degree of energy efficiency, make sure that you install the best-quality weatherstrips.
Other than installing weatherstrips, a good way to ensure that heat does not escape through your French doors is to seal them with a removable sealant during winter, as you are less likely to swing the doors open during the entire season.
Avoid French Doors Made of Solid Wood
Solid wood doors tend to have poor insulating properties. Energy-efficient French doors are those that are made from engineered wood fiber. These have higher insulating properties, which can be enhanced further by using low-e insulated glass panels with them.
Doors made from engineered wood fibers are not only energy-efficient, they are also environmentally friendly. Wood fibers are waste products, which means that purchasing doors made from this material decreases the amount of trees that need to be cut down.
By enhancing the energy efficiency of your French doors, you’ll be able to enjoy the beauty and stylishness that they provide while reducing your energy costs significantly. You may need to invest a bit of money to make them more efficient, but you’ll actually be saving more in the end.
About the Author
Lauren Farver is Renewal by Andersen of Oklahoma’s Marketing Manager. While most of her experience focuses on marketing and promotion, she always finds the time to check out what happens in the field. She then shares her home improvement knowledge with clients and consumers through her informative and helpful articles and blog posts.