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 Weatherstripping on Doors

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

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

  • If the weatherstripping 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 weatherstripping 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 weatherstripping are manufactured with slotted screw holes. You may be able to adjust your existing weatherstripping to improve the seal

3)  Verify with a LaForce expert to make sure that the weatherstripping on your door is the best product for your needs and door application.

  • There are many types of weatherstripping such as Vinyl, Neoprene, Silicon, and Brush. The various weatherstripping comes in many different configurations and attachment styles, allowing you to select and install a weatherstrip 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 weatherstripping 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?

Tip #4: Add a Sweep, Shoe, or Threshold

After you have checked your weatherstipping, door closer and hardware, you can also add a sweep, shoe, or threshold to your door to prevent drafts.

1) A sweep is a piece of material, usually vinyl with a rubber or bristled bottom, that attaches to the bottom of the door on the exterior side. When the door is closed, the sweep seals the space between the door and the threshold to keep cold air out.

2) A shoe is a U-shaped piece of material, usually made of vinyl or plastic, that slides onto the bottom of the door. It cups the bottom of the door to prevent drafts.

3) You can also install a threshold with a rubber gasket that seals the door from the floor; this works well for larger gaps.

  • The ADA requires that thresholds are a maximum of 1/2 inch high for new construction, and anything higher than 1/4 inch must be beveled at a slope no steeper than 1:2.

When installing sweeps, shoes, or thresholds, make sure the product fits the width of the inside of the door to prevent gaps where cold air could come through. Also, make sure to install the product according to the manufacturer’s instructions and that it does not prevent the door from opening or closing properly to save the most money.

Do you know how much energy is slipping underneath your door?

Tip #5: Re-Caulk Doors & Windows

With normal use, caulking can degrade or peel off and let cold air into your facility. Re-caulk your door frames to help seal in the warm air. If any of the doors in your building have windows, you can also re-caulk the edges to prevent cold air from leaking out.

Do you know how much energy is slipping through the gaps in your frames and windows?

Whether you are constructing a new facility or upgrading an existing building, the experts at LaForce can supply you with the solutions and advice you need to be more energy-efficient all year long. Contact us today to get started!