Your home's envelope is made up of the surfaces of your home exposed to the outside. When you're evaluating the energy efficiency of your home, take a look at any openings in the envelope. Doors, windows, roof, and outer walls can all be sources of energy leaks. If the envelope is not sealed well, your home will experience energy loss and you'll spend more money on your utility bills.
Besides your windows, one of the most important areas to evaluate for leaks are entry doors. Front doors, sliding patio doors, and basement doors should be inspected to see how airtight they are. Entry doors take a lot of abuse with heavy daily use, battering from wind and rain, and fluctuations in air temperature. Some entry door repairs are fairly easy - replacing weatherstripping and caulking are pretty straightforward for the average DIYer. But sometimes the entry door damage is beyond repair. Especially if your door is old, installing a replacement entry door will eliminate air leaks and improve the energy efficiency of your home.
Material choices for entry doors include wood, steel, and fiberglass. Each has its own pros and cons. While wood is often most aesthetically pleasing and provides a high-end look, they usually aren't the most energy efficient. Fluctuations in temperatures cause wood to expand and contract, they require regular maintenance in the form of repainting, and they're typically the most expensive option.
Fiberglass doors come in a wide range of styles and finishes, some even mimicking a woodgrain texture. They require little maintenance, are much more resistant to wear and tear than wood doors, and are dent resistant as well. They can be painted to complement your home's design. And they're priced competitively and are an attractive option for most homeowners.
You can also purchase a steel entry door. Steel doors tend to be the most affordable while still offering many of the benefits of wood or fiberglass. Steel doors require little maintenance and stand up well to the impacts of the weather. One con to steel doors is they have the potential to get dents or dings compared to other door materials.
If you're shopping for a new entry door, look for one with the ENERGY STAR label. ENERGY STAR certification means that the door meets or exceeds performance ratings set forth by the independent National Fenestration Rating Council. Entry doors with the ENERGY STAR label are better at insulating, optimizing solar heat gain, and the best choice for minimizing air leakage.
To improve the energy efficiency of your home, consider a new replacement entry door. By installing a new energy efficient model, you protect your home from unnecessary air leaks while spending less money every month on utility bills.