Draft proofing doorways can have almost as much of an impact as installing a new energy-efficient front door. In fact, if your new energy-efficient door is not well installed, you may have little improvement on drafts with your new door. Before Draft Proofing Doorwaysyou spend the money on a new door it may be worth it to try to draft proof the existing door first!  New doors can cost up words of $1000 to $2000! Why not spend $10 and try draft proofing your door first.

You can use either caulk or weather strips that will seal your door and avoid letting in cold air into your home. Even if you have to also spend $50 on a can of paint to give your door that new fresh look it is well worth it. Compared to spending over $1000 on a brand new door that may still have some of the same problems!

Draft Proofing Doorways – Check for Drafts

The first step is to check for drafts around all windows and doors.  You should even check for drafts around electrical outlets and electrical switches that are on outside walls.  You may feel a lot of cold coming through your front door, windows, or outlets in the winter. A few simple steps can cut both your heating costs in winter and your cooling costs in summer.

A snug fit is key

The first step in draft proofing a door is to make sure the main door fits relatively snugly against the door frame. If there are gaps at the sides or top or bottom, you’ll likely get drafts there.

Check the molding around the interior when draft proofing a door. You may have a good seal in the doorway itself but air may be sneaking through the walls and out the edges of the molding.

On a cold day, or even on a windy day, try turning on any indoor exhaust fans you have to draw warm air out of the house and cold air in. Use your fingers or a piece of paper held to the area you are checking to feel for any strong drafts in the molding and around the door; seal them as well.  This should make a big difference not only to the drafts. If you do not have insulation in the wall around the door you may want to reconsider how you will seal the doorway and how you can inject insulation around the door.

Seal up Mail Slots – Remove the Mail Slot!

If you have a mail slot in your door, or even one of those pet doors as many older homes do in climates that are only moderately cold, one of the best ways of draft proofing a door is to seal the mail slot opening off altogether. Place a small block of insulating material in the mail slot and seal it off so no air can pass. You will want to place an outdoor mailbox on your outside wall instead. Homes in very cold climates do not seem to have these mail slots which is a good thing.

Windows inside doors

If you have a window in the door itself you’re likely losing quite a bit of heat through the frame for the window, or, if the glass is leaded, through the gaps in the lead. Draft proofing a door with an old window in it really starts with the window.

For leaded glass, the first thing you should do is look for places in the lead came where it’s not snug against the glass. You can often just push the came back in place by rubbing back and forth with the end of a wooden spoon. Even placing a little transparent caulking in gaps can help. If there’s room in the window frame within the door, consider adding a piece of glass cut to the size of the opening, and use 3/8″ molding to hold the glass in place (and use clear caulk around the molding). You now have an insulating pocket of air between the two pieces of glass.

The door latch

Make sure your door closes tightly. This is an absolute must-do. No matter how much weatherstripping you add, if the door does not close tightly, you are going to have drafts. Correct any loose-fitting latches prior to adding any weather stripping around the door. In some cases, this might be the main reason for allowing cold air into your home.

Weatherstripping and a threshold

Draft proofing a door can make a big difference to your front door energy efficiency if you include installing a door threshold (sometimes called a bumper threshold) at the base of the doorway, and a weatherproofing door kit for the sides and top. The threshold screws into the bottom of the door frame, and provides a strip of rubber or another flexible weatherstripping across the base of the door. You install it so that when the door is closed the weatherstripping presses against the door and seals the bottom off.

The weatherproofing door kit does the same thing for the top and sides. The bumper threshold is almost always sold separately from the weatherstripping. You can also get a door sweep instead of a bumper threshold – it attaches to the underside of the door instead of to the base of the door frame. The only problem with door sweeps is that because they are rubbing against the floor every time the door opens or closes, they are more quickly worn out (on the other hand, people don’t step on them every time they walk through the door!)

Payback in as little as two months!

With the price of heating fuel continuing to go up in many parts of the country, draft proofing a door can have a very quick payback. In general, draft proofing a door and giving it a facelift with some new paint is a much better approach and lower cost solution than buying a new ENERGY STAR door. If your door has major structural problems, or you want to replace it for aesthetic or security reasons then you may have no choice but to replace it. For $50 or less in materials and a half hour or so of your own time draft proofing a door, you can wipe out most of this air leakage, leading to a big difference in your home comfort and home heating bills.

And you’ll have $1,000 or more left over to spend on something you really need. For more energy-saving ideas, click here.