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When autumn's coldest winds blow, and winter's deep freeze settles in for a long stay, Michigan residents are thankful for the power of effective home heating. Nothing is better than a cozy, warm Michigan home to welcome you on the coldest days.
Your furnace, boiler or fireplace works hard to heat your home, and you want to enjoy every bit of comfort you pay for. While you double check the efficiency of your home's windows and attic insulation, don't forget that an entry door upgrade can have a measurable impact on energy efficiency for not a lot of cost. And with the advanced door materials available today, the energy-efficient door can look as good as it performs.
Your home's exterior door can contribute significantly to air leakage, especially if it's old, improperly installed or uninsulated, according to information from the U.S. Department of Energy. "New exterior doors often fit and insulate better than older types. If you have older doors in your home, replacing them might be a good investment, resulting in lower heating and cooling costs," says the Energy Department site.
Consider your home's unique needs when selecting just the right material for your replacement entry door. Begin by learning about ENERGY STAR qualification, which is an industry-recognized, third-party system for certifying residential doors and other building materials.
Keeping the warm air in
ENERGY STAR divides the United States into four distinct climate zones to help determine energy requirements. Because Michigan is in the northern zone, energy-efficient materials must to reduce the need for heating in particular. In order for your door to be ENERGY STAR efficient in our northern climate, the manufacturer must use materials that will have both an appropriate U-Factor, or insulating ability to prevent heat or cold transfers through the door and the door's windows, and a high solar heat gain coefficient, to allow the sun's rays to stream in on cold winter days. An ENERGY STAR-certified entry door can shrink your energy bill by an average of 12 percent, compared to a non-certified door.
"For the home that has a wooden door installed at the time it was built in the 1940s, simply by replacing the door, you will save money on energy bills," says Jeff Pagnier, millwork department head at Mans Lumber & Millwork in Trenton and Canton. "For door materials, there are three choices – wood, steel and fiberglass." Some customers will opt for builder-grade materials for the door, knowing that any replacement will be an upgrade from what is currently in the home.
Energy efficiency can be a beautiful thing
But if you are seeking maximum energy efficiency coupled with a bold aesthetic statement, your smart choice is a fiberglass Aurora entry door, says Pagnier. "Aurora has a better insulating value than their steel or fiberglass competition, because of the tightly compact core."
With a two-and-one-quarter inch thickness, the Aurora door, made by JELD-WEN IWP, provides ENERGY STAR-standard efficiency. "The polyurethane core and triple-pane glass, which we produce ourselves for a perfect fit, makes this door unique to the market," says Bruce Killeen, general manager, JELD-WEN IWP Division.
But even the most energy efficient door won't keep out the cold if it isn't properly installed into the entry space, so make sure the door and its frame work together as a system to keep your home snug and warm. "We have the most advanced jamb frame system in the industry," Killeen says. "Our frame system has a high-quality weather strip and sweep that allows for a tight fit for energy efficiency."
A new door will dress your home this holiday season
The best part about saving energy with a new entry door – in addition to lowering your heating bill, of course – is the upgrade to your home's curb appeal, which is always a smart investment. Our experts recommend a maintenance-free Aurora fiberglass door, with the authentic look and feel of real wood that even fools experts.
"Each year, we have at least six customers reach out to us after they receive their door, saying they are confused because they ordered a fiberglass door and believe they received a wood door," says Killeen. "Even top experts here at JELD-WEN have to look very closely at the door to determine whether it's our wood door, or our Aurora door. The weight and feel signals its quality."
With a patented manufacturing process, the Aurora door is built from a real wood mold, so it has the unique, natural grain of harvested oak, alder, mahogany, or cedar. Custom decorative glass and finishes add to the beauty and refined look of the door. "The lifetime warranty is a big plus for the Aurora, too," says Killeen.
When selecting your door, be sure to work with a retailer and installer with technical knowledge. Do some homework, then spend time talking with your retailer about different entry door materials and designs. Get a feel for their fluency and level of expertise, suggests Pagnier. Ask smart questions about the installation process, too. In addition to accurate measurements, you will need to consider whether you also want to replace the frame that surrounds the door.
"A good door installation company will know about the idiosyncrasies of fit and function," Pagnier says. "That's not the case wherever you go."
Whatever your choice of entry door, congratulate yourself on your smart, energy-saving move. Your family will appreciate the comfort your new door provides, friends will comment on your home's great new look…and you will love the money you save.
Learn more about keeping your home warm with a new entry door this winter. Contact Mans Lumber & Millwork at at 734-714-5800 or visit manslumber.com.
This story is provided and presented by our sponsor Mans Lumber & Millwork.
Members of the editorial and news staff of The Detroit News were not involved in the creation of this content.