Conserving Winter Energy Costs

Save Winter Energy Costs with Your Doors

Do you remember your parents yelling: “Shut the door, you’re heating the outside!” or “Shut the door, you don’t live in a barn!” Well, all those yelling parents have a point. It’s cold outside and expensive to heat the house. Your facilities are no different, and now it’s your responsibility to conserve energy and prevent the warm air from getting out.

Tip #1: Install Long Lasting Weather Stripping on Doors

One way to conserve that precious energy is to include long lasting weather stripping on doors. Here are few tips for weather stripping:

1)  Ensure your weather stripping does not prevent your door from freely opening and closing.

  • If the weather stripping is loose or detached from the frame, it may prevent the door from tightly latching, leaving gaps in the seal allowing energy to escape.

2)  Inspect the weather stripping to ensure it is properly installed.

  • Look for open holes along the perimeter of the opening. If you can see light around the door, the strip may need to be removed, reattached or replaced using proper installation techniques.
  • Many surface applied weather stripping are manufactured with slotted screw holes. You may be able to adjust your existing weather stripping to improve the seal

3)  Verify with a local supplier that the weather stripping on your door is the best product for your needs and door application.

  • There are many types of weather stripping such as Vinyl, Neoprene, Silicon, and Brush. The various weather stripping comes in many different configurations and attachment styles, allowing you to select and install a weather strip that best fits your application. If the wrong type is used in a specific application, energy can be lost through the gaps.

Do you know how much energy is lost through the gaps in your stripping?

Tip #2: Use Properly Installed Door Closers

A second way that energy leaves the building is through poorly installed door hardware. Here are some ideas using door closers to make your doors more efficient during the cold winter months.

1) Be sure the door is equipped with a door closer.

  • A closer allows the door to close and latch on its own, instead of relying on the person using the door to manually close and secure the door.
  • If the door is equipped with a door closer, check that it is being used as efficiently as possible:
    • Be sure the closer has enough force to fully close the door and engage the latch.
    • Be sure that the closer has enough force to hold the door in the closed position if the door does not latch each time the door is used.

2) Be aware of the speed of the door closer.

  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires doors to have a minimum closing time of five seconds to move the door from an open position of 90 degrees to a point of three inches from the latch position.

If the closer is not working properly, you could be losing more energy than you think.

Do you know much energy is lost every time your doors are used?

Tip #3: Inspect Door Hardware for Needed Maintenance

Now that you have a closer installed and/or properly working and the door’s weather stripping is functioning correctly, the door and frame hardware should be inspected to ensure energy is not being lost through gaps. Do a little hardware maintenance to prevent your money from slipping through the cracks.

1)  Inspect the hinges for wear. If there are any gaps between the knuckles of the hinge, the hinge should be replaced. If the hinges require lubrication, remove the hinge pin and apply a light coating of lithium grease.

2)  Ensure that the lock is securely installed on the door by tightening any loose screws or fasteners. If there is any binding, you may need to adjust the lock in the door. The latch bolt should be lubricated once a year with a graphite or Teflon spray.

3)  Check the latch bolt for wear and ease of use. Be to be sure that the latch engages and secures the door with each use. Verify the latch does not get hung up on the strike which would prevent the door from fully closing.

Do you know how much energy is lost through the gaps caused by your hardware?