Your garage door represents at least nine feet of open space. Even if the door is closed, a standard door with no insulation provides very little protection against the elements. Whether it’s an aluminum, steel or wood door, it provides only a minimal buffer against wind and temperature extremes. In the winter, your garage will feel like an icebox, and in the summer, you’ll feel like you could host your own sauna in your garage.
Not only does this poor insulation create very uncomfortable conditions in your garage, but it also sends your energy bills soaring. With all that cold air covering one side of your house in the winter, your heater will have to work overtime to compensate. Ditto for your air conditioner working to cool your home when it is partnered with a sweat box.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to make your garage door more energy efficient — therefore making your garage and your home more energy efficient also.
Buy an Insulated Garage Door
The easiest and most effective thing you can do to make your garage door more energy efficient is to buy an insulated garage door. These aluminum and steel doors have a layer of insulation inside. Sometimes the insulation is like the pink, fluffy stuff you see inside your walls, and sometimes it is a rigid, foam board. You can also get a spray-in insulation that sticks to the inside of the garage door.
Talk with your garage door professional about what kind of insulation is included and how much energy savings it provides. The higher the R value of the insulation, the more your savings will be.
Buying an insulated door doesn’t limit the styles available. Even rigid boards can be cut into sections to fit a rolling, overhead door. You should be able to get any look you want while also improving the overall energy efficiency of your home.
Install Barrier Insulation
If you already have a garage door that you love, or if you just don’t want to spend the money on a new, insulated door, you can simply install barrier insulation to the door you already have.
Barrier insulation is made of a variety of materials, including fiberglass and polystyrene.
Typically, barrier insulation is sold as a kit that you cut to size and then fasten to the garage door. Some insulation has a self-stick backing, while others have to be connected.
Installing insulation may seem like an easy job, but it’s one that’s best left to the professionals. Any mistakes could jeopardize the energy efficiency of your garage door, defeating the purpose of the upgrade. If you make mistakes, you could also end up paying more than you’d like in replacement materials.
Add Weather Stripping
The space where your garage door meets the concrete provides a huge window for air to get in or to escape. Just as you would for your exterior doors, you need to install weather stripping to close this gap and prevent the transfer of energy.
Most garage doors are sold with weather stripping. If yours came with weather stripping, inspect it for signs of damage and to determine if it needs to be replaced. If yours didn’t come with weather stripping, you need to add it. Talk with your garage door professional about the best options for the best protection.
Stick to a Maintenance Schedule
Maintaining your garage door can keep it in top condition so that it keeps offering the energy protection your home needs. If you don’t maintain your garage door, it could rust or crack, letting in air and bringing down your home’s energy efficiency.
Keep your garage door cleaned and sealed to protect the surface and maintain its energy efficiency.
Make sure you also check the hardware in your maintenance schedule. If bolts and other fasteners become loose, the door parts could form gaps that let in the air. Maintaining a tight connection will ensure your garage door maintains a tight facade that protects against the elements.
Your garage door is just one element influencing the energy efficiency of your garage. After you have worked through these solutions for improving the energy efficiency of your garage door, work with your contractor or garage professional to improve the energy efficiency of your garage with insulation and other solutions. You’ll create a more comfortable environment in your garage, and you’ll significantly lower your energy bills. You’ll also improve the overall value of your home.