We discussed the potential for energy efficiency of sliding patio doors, particularly where daylighting and heat control are concerned. Today, we cover the issues they can contribute to and – more importantly – how you can limit the damage.
The way sliding doors are designed equips them for energy efficiency, but this design also makes them susceptible to some things. The good news is, you can do something about energy performance issues common among these doors.
Earlier models of sliding patio doors were notorious for the amount of heat loss; you can still find some of them on the market today, but newer models are better at reducing unwanted heat loss.
Low-emissivity glass coatings, for instance, have been instrumental in enhancing the heat efficiency of sliding patio doors. These coatings are engineered to reflect radiant energy, functioning much like the silver lining in a thermos does – by reflecting back the temperature of the room – while still allowing visible light to pass.
In addition, you can insulate your doors. There are many ways to do this. First, you can caulk around the edges of the doors to seal them properly. Or, you can use window treatments such as insulated drapes, cellular blinds, or blackout curtains to keep the heat in. Some doors can also be fitted with insulating panels.
Like sliding windows, sliding patio doors have high air leakage rates. Fortunately, as in the case of sliding windows, you can also seal them against infiltration and exfiltration. You can, first, remove old weatherstripping and replace it – choosing among foam-backed adhesive, felt, vinyl, tubular rubber, or silicone options. You can also caulk gaps between the trim and the door frames. If the draft is coming from the bottom of the door, however, check if your gaskets are still functional; if they are already worn out, replace them. If the damage is severe, you may need to have a new threshold with a taller gasket installed.
It is also important to conduct routine inspections and maintenance to make sure that your doors are performing like they should.
Enjoying your sliding patio door to the fullest, however, hinges upon proper installation. In the closing section of this three-part blog, we cover what you need to know to make sure you get what you pay for.