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How A Properly Sealed and Hung Door Can Save You Money

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Energy prices are reaching record highs and a lot of people are seeing their monthly utility bills increase.

This is especially worse in the summer when the air conditioning just can’t seem to keep the house cool enough and in the winter when heaters seem ineffective.

The solution to this energy crisis, in many cases, is properly hung and sealed doors.

An exterior door can have a major impact on the temperature regulation of your home. If that door is hung improperly or doesn’t have the right kind of weather-proofing and sealing, the air inside the home quickly escapes through the gaps.

It doesn’t matter if this is double doors or wood doors or a pre-hung door. The important thing is that you make sure that your exterior door is working to its fullest potential and saving you money.

We can’t control everything about our utility bills from month to month, but we can make sure that our home is as energy efficient as possible.

Energy Savings From a Sealed Door

There are a lot of ways to get energy savings in your home.

This includes everything from adjusting your thermostat to turning down your water heater to taking advantage of off-peak energy rates.

Your doors and windows are the number one place where you’re going to be losing money through energy loss. They act as the barriers between the cold air and the hot air.

The amount of money that can be saved can be as little as $20 to $30 per month on your utility bills. It soon adds up: $20 or $30 a month grows to $240 to $360 a year.

That’s big money just seeping out of your door, through the cracks and under the threshold. If you can save that much money with just an afternoon’s worth of work and a couple of dozen dollars at the hardware store, wouldn’t it be worth it?

How to Properly Hang an Exterior Door

Properly Installing a Pre-Hung Door

Pre-hung doors are the most commonly purchased doors at the home improvement store, and that’s because they make everything so much easier for you. A pre-hung door already comes in a door frame and should be hanging perfectly straight and true.

The first thing you need to do with a pre-hung door is to prepare the rough opening of the door. You’ll want to know things like the “handedness” of the door. That means which side of the door has the doorknob and which way you want the door to swing.

You’ll need to measure the pre-hung door and measure the rough opening to make sure that it’s the correct size.

When you get the door home, center and test-fit the door to make sure it fits in the opening. Use a level on both the horizontals and verticals to ensure it’s perfectly true, and, if necessary, use shims to get it exactly even.

Next, trace the outline of the molding onto the siding. Remove the door and cut along the outline down to the sheathing, making sure not to damage the siding that will remain. Finish the corners with a sharp chisel.

Then – with the door opening prepared – check the fit with the pre-hung door. Center the door, always checking the levels, and once you’re satisfied with the fit, remove the door and apply caulk to the bottom of the doorsill.

Now, from inside the house, you can begin the process of shimming the door to get it perfectly in place. Install the hinges provided by the manufacturer, and install the new anchor screws at the bottom of the door.

Trim the shims flush with the door, apply caulk around the entire exterior door frame, and then replace the casing on the inside of the door.

All you have to do from there is install a knob and deadbolt and you’ve got a perfectly hung door.

Properly Hanging an Existing Door

Properly hanging an existing door is a much easier affair, because the door is already in an installed frame. You want to make sure that the door is hanging perfectly to seal off any cracks where air may leak in and out.

To do this, remove the door from the door frame by taking it off its hinges. Inspect the hinges to make sure that they’re solidly in place, and use the level to ensure that the door frame itself is straight.

If there’s a problem with the hinges, you can reinstall new ones, but often the problem is not with the hinge but with the screws. They may be stripped and aren’t anchoring the door properly into the frame. You may need to drill out the screw holes, replace them with wood plugs, and drill new screw holes.

Then, being careful to keep everything level, reinstall the door to the hinges.

Properly Sealing an Exterior Door

A properly hung door isn’t good enough to ensure that things are energy efficient. You need to ensure that it is properly sealed as well. To do that, you need rubber seal weatherstripping, a good threshold, and a door sweep.

How to Weatherproof An Exterior Door

The first step in weatherproofing an existing exterior door is to clear out any existing weather stripping, which may have deteriorated or cracked.

This is done easily enough, as weather stripping tends to be installed with either screws or staples, and both can be removed from a door frame without much fuss.

When the old weatherstripping is out you can begin to address any problems that your door frame has, like splintered wood or nails that are not pounded in flush. Clean up the entire weather stripping area, and then it’s time to replace your weather stripping with new.

This is going to be either vinyl or rubber (we’ll talk about metal when we get to door sweeps and thresholds in a moment). Simply roll out the weather stripping along the inside of the door frame and we recommend attaching it with screws.

Go all the way around your door, starting in one bottom corner and going up all the way around and back down to the other bottom corner. Affix it in place, and cut the extra loose.

Check to make sure the door opens and shuts firmly and tightly. It shouldn’t be hard to close but it should feel tight and secure.

Now comes the door sweep.

This is a small piece of metal with a rubber or vinyl flange. Cut the door sweep to the width of your door using a hacksaw, and then simply screw it into place, with that flange touching the floor.

This is the final bit of weatherproofing that you need to do on your door.

Saving Money with Properly Sealed and Hung Doors

Now that your door is properly sealed and hung, you will almost immediately begin to see changes in your utility bills. If you don’t, then you might want to look into properly weatherproofing your windows.

You’ll find that these repairs are simple with easy-to-follow directions, and they’ll save you hundreds or thousands of dollars over the life of your door.

To order everything you’ll need to seal your door and save money on utility bills, visit our online store at Trademark Hardware.

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