3 ways a front door impacts your home's energy efficiency

By Masonite

Whether you want to keep the air in or out of your home, fiberglass exterior doors from Masonite can help.

A family sitting in the living room of their home with wainscotting on the walls and a black exterior door with a full-glass panel insert

Did you know your front door can drastically impact your home’s overall energy efficiency? According to the U.S. Department of Energy, air leaks from the front door can account for up to 20 percent of heat loss in a typical home. 
Learn more about what causes your front door to fail—and how you can stop it. 

How a front door impacts your home’s energy efficiency 

When your home is energy-efficient, not only do you save on your heating bill and cooling costs, but you actually keep outside air out and inside air in, making your home more comfortable. 
Learn more about how front doors can influence the efficiency of your home: 

Front doors can leak air

Front doors that are poorly sealed or have gaps around the edges can allow for air (and sometimes even water) leaks, resulting in energy loss. In fact, even a small, 1/8-inch gap under an exterior door lets as much cold air in as a 2.5-inch hole punched in the wall!

The inside of an black exterior door with one full length glass pane and the view of a person in a raincoat holding an umbrella outside
Masonite Performance Door System VistaGrande Full-Lite Exterior Fiberglass Door

So how do you fix a drafty door and prevent water from seeping in? The weatherstripping around your front door helps form a tight seal to prevent air from leaking in or out.  
However, weatherstripping does wear down over time. Sometimes replacing the weatherstripping will fix the issue. But for more serious leaks, you may need to replace the whole door system. 

Front door insulation matters 

How your front door is constructed also plays a crucial role in energy efficiency. Wood front doors are generally considered the least energy-efficient choice. Wood is porous and thus a poor insulator, meaning it absorbs heat easily.  
Steel doors are slightly more energy efficient than wood doors. However, since they are metal, they conduct heat.  When you touch a steel door, you’ll be able to feel the outside cold or heat.

An ocean blue front door with decorative glass on a modern home with stone façade
Masonite Performance Door System VistaGrande Full-Lite Exterior Fiberglass Door with Decorative Glass

Fiberglass is the most energy-efficient front door material. Fiberglass doors do not conduct heat and they are also designed with polyurethane cores to further reduce heat loss during the winter. They also combat sweltering temperatures during the summer. This helps you enjoy comfortable indoor temperatures all year round, reducing the workload on your heating and cooling systems. 

Front door glass allows temperature transfer

Does your front door have glass, side lites or a transom? Any type of glass in or around your front door can play a role in your home’s energy efficiency, depending on what type of glass it is.

An orange exterior door with a single pane of glass on a midcentury modern home with full-length windows and a wood deck
Masonite Performance Door System VistaGrande 3/4-Lite Exterior Fiberglass Door

Single-pane glass is not particularly energy-efficient as it can allow heat to transfer. Double or triple-pane glass that has low-emissivity (low-e) coating is often paired with front doors that are considered energy efficient. These coatings help to reduce heat transfer while also blocking harmful UV rays. 
If your front door has a serious leak, is not made from an energy-efficient material or has single-pane glass, you should consider replacing the entire door system.

What is a door system?

A door system refers to all the components associated with the operation of a door, including the door itself, frame, sill, weatherstripping, corner pads, hinges and trim. When these components are designed and tested to work together, it results in the best possible protection against air and water leaks.

The Masonite Performance Door System was designed to do what doors are meant to do – keep the outside out and the inside in – but do it better than any before. We tested our system against the leading competitor and found that it’s 64% better at keeping air and water out. That means no more drafts coming in from under your door – or heat heading out. And no more precious A/C escaping during that summer heat wave.  

How do we do it? A seal that’s superior:

  • Square edge door: Other manufacturers’ doors have round edges, which lead to an insufficient seal. Our square edge doors, however, fit perfectly into the door frame for a solid, energy-efficient seal. 
  • Self-adjusting sill: Most sills need to be manually adjusted, but our sills automatically adjust. This means advanced protection from air and water leaks without you having to think about it. 
  • Adaptive weatherstripping: Our adaptive weatherstripping is made of high-end, low-wick memory foam that stops both air and water in its tracks. 
  • Enhanced corner pads: Our enhanced corner pads are designed to stop water driven by wind and form a tight seal between the door and the frame. 
  • Rot-resistant frame: Our rot-resistant frame never wicks water, swells or molds. It’s immune to both the heat and cold, providing quality and durability.
  • Fiberglass construction: These strong, long lasting, weather resistant fiberglass doors won’t rust or rot, and resist dents better than steel or wood doors.  

Energy-efficient front doors FAQ

Review these FAQs about the energy-efficiency of front doors:

1. How do I fix a drafty door?

A drafty door is unpleasant to say the least. You can lose precious air to the outdoors or receive unpleasant air from the outside into your home. If you've been wondering how your energy bill is so high or why you're still cold even with the heat on, your front door can be the culprit. Consider these suggestions to fix your drafty door: 

  • Upgrade your glass panes to double-pane. We've mentioned why this is important, but it bears repeating. The insulation abilities of single-pane glass are just not as up to par as thicker panes.
  • Purchase a door snake. Door snakes are tubes of fabric that you place along the bottom of your front door to prevent air from entering your home--or leaving it. The downside of this is that when you open and close the door, the draft stopper will move, meaning you'll need to readjust every time.
  • Install weatherstripping. You can use weatherstripping all around your door (and windows!) to minimize drafts, and this method can work well. However, installation isn't always easy because a certain level of preciseness is required and to be most effective, you need flat surfaces around your door.
  • Opt for a new front door. While you can take certain steps to help your current front door work as it should, there is nothing that is going to do as much as a full replacement. Consider a Masonite Performance Door System exterior fiberglass door for its superior seal and ability to stop drafts and rain from coming into your home.

2. How do I stop rain from coming in the bottom of my door?

How you stop rain from entering through the bottom of your exterior door is similar to keeping drafts at bay: weatherstripping and a door sweep, to start. In many cases, it's actually easier to select a new front door than to work on solutions that may not work long-term. 

3. What if I want a Masonite Performance Door System with glass? 

The Masonite Performance Door System is available in many on-trend fiberglass designs, including options with glass. 
All Masonite doors with glass are outfitted with two panes of glass connected by a spacer. While other manufacturers use rigid metal spacers that tend not to adjust as needed when expanding and contracting occurs due to heat and cold, Masonite uses warm-edge non-metal spacers that provide superior durability and energy efficiency.  
As temperatures change, this unique, non-metal spacer flexes with the glass so that the seal connecting the two panes is not compromised. In addition to energy efficiency, warm-edge non-metal spacers also help prevent condensation and provide better sound insulation from outdoor noise.  

4. Do storm doors increase energy efficiency? 

In theory, storm doors provide an extra layer of protection against the elements. However, a storm door should only be an option if your front door is in poor condition. Adding a storm door to a newer, insulated, foam-core door is not usually worth the expense because you will not conserve much more energy.  
Additionally, adding a storm door can damage the new door and even void the warranty in some cases. The glass in the storm doors will trap heat, which could potentially cause damage to the entry door. Because of their construction, fiberglass and steel doors are especially prone to heat damage due to improperly ventilated storm doors.  
If your door is old and leaking air and/or water, it’s better to replace the door system rather than simply adding a storm door. If the door has been leaking for a while, there could be mold, rot and other issues that become even more costly the longer you wait.   

5. What is the tax credit for energy-efficient doors?

In the United States, the tax credit for exterior doors is currently 30% of project cost or $250 per door ($500 maximum). This tax credit is effective for products purchased and installed between January 1, 2023, and December 31, 2032. 
Front doors must be ENERGY Star certified to qualify for this tax credit.   
Learn more about the federal tax credit.  

Last Updated: June 28, 2023