Are Sliding Glass Doors Energy Efficient?
Sliding glass doors look stunning, but are they energy efficient? Older doors could be letting a lot of heat escape from your home. Learn about the different frame types and glazing options and how they can affect energy efficiency.
Finding Energy Efficient Sliding Glass Doors
There are a few factors that impact the energy efficiency of your patio doors, including:
- The frame type
- Whether the door is double or triple glazed
- Any gas filling used inside the panes
- Glass coatings
So, it’s not a question of “are sliding glass doors energy-efficient,” because the insulating properties of different doors vary. Choose the right type of door, and you can enjoy a bright and airy room without worrying about wasting energy.
Sliding glass doors that are ENERGY STAR certified are more energy efficient than older doors with low-quality frames or single panes. Heat transfer rates are described using a figure known as the U-value, with higher U-values meaning poorer energy efficiency. A single pane of uncoated glass has a U-value that is more than 4x that of uncoated double glazing with argon gas filling.
What to Look for in Your Sliding Glass Doors
When you’re shopping for energy-efficient sliding glass doors, you should consider the material of the frame and the glazing of the door itself. Also, consider whether you really want sliding glass doors or if swinging French doors would suit your home’s architectural style.
Sliding doors certainly have a lot of benefits; they don’t take up a lot of space, are easy to open and close, and let in lots of natural light. But they do require careful maintenance.
With proper care, a modern sliding glass door can last up to 30 years. That means keeping the panes clean and taking care of the tracks and runners, as well as fitting screens to protect the doors during the colder winter months and removing those screens in the spring.
A good energy-efficient glass door frame design:
- Has a plastic thermal break inside the frame
- Is compatible with weather stripping
- Has foam insulation in the stiles, frame, and rails
In addition, look for a door with:
- Double glazing
- Argon or krypton gas filling
- A low-E window coating
Windows with Argon or Krypton gas fillings have very low thermal conductivity, making them a good choice for sliding glass doors.
Low-E coatings can come in two different forms. Hard coatings or soft coatings. Hard coatings are made using a fine layer of metallic partings on the outer surface of the gas, while soft coatings are applied in between the two panes of the window.
Both varieties of low-E coatings offer significant energy-efficiency improvements, but soft coatings typically offer the greatest benefits.
Thompson Creek Sliding Doors
If you’re renovating your home and looking to upgrade your patio doors or install new ones, take a look at the selection of sliding doors that we have at Thompson Creek. With a fusion-welded frame and multi-chambered construction, these doors block drafts and heat loss through radiation, so you can stay warm in the winter and let in some fresh air in the summer.
Contact us today to get a free, no-obligation estimate for patio doors, roofing, siding, or window installation.