Helpful Hints For Your Sliding Glass Door

With Jack Frost well into his favorite time of year, maybe you have noticed that your home is not beating the odds with the cold. Here at your St Charles Vinyl Wood Windows we understand how Chicagoland winter's can be. The sliding glass door is one of the biggest places for air leaks and heat loss. Try some of these simple methods for making your home warmer and also telling Jack Frost he has lost this round.

Seven tips for winterizing your sliding glass doors

By Sommer Poquette

Winter has arrived, and it came in with a bang! If you're from the Midwest, you're probably accustomed to cold and snowy winters. You're also probably familiar with trying to cut your heating bill to save money. Homes are not cheap to heat during a long winter. Unless you're using alternative methods of heating such as wood, solar panels, pellet stoves or electric heat to offset the cost, your monthly bill during the frigid months can be brutal.

Over the years, I've learned a few tips on keeping the cold out and the heat in. Here are a few of my top tips for winterizing your sliding glass doors and keeping your home a little warmer this winter.

  • Have a professional energy audit. Find out if your doors are leaking air and need to have the weather strips replaced (or if you need all new doors). Professionals also look at other areas of your home, such as your outside water faucets and outlet covers to find any place in your home that might be leaking air. We discovered that we needed new weather stripping on all of our 20-year-old sliding glass doors. Replacing our weather stripping was costly for six doors, but we could feel the difference on our toes–no more cold air leaking into the house and heat leaking out!
  • Keep your blinds closed. When we first moved into our home, I wanted all of the blinds open because it felt dark if they were closed. Now I deal with the darkness and shut the blinds. It traps the cold air between the windows and the blinds and our home is warmer. Plus, it costs nothing to shut our blinds and I'm all about doing whatever I can to save money and not do extra work.
  • Purchase or make thermal curtains. These special curtains keep the cold out and the warmth in, or you can make your own, if you're a DIY type. This can be costly if you have six sliding glass doors like I do. However, in the long run the investment might be worth it. They come in a variety of colors and styles.
  • Use patio weather proofing kits. We've used these over the years with great success, and they make them for windows, too! The kits include everything you need for one patio door and they're under $15 per door. They take less than 30 minutes to put up. You'll just need a hair dryer to essentially shrink wrap your patio door. This traps the cold and prevents the heat from leaking out. We always notice a difference in our heating bill and the feel of our home. Unfortunately, I haven't had success at re-using the plastic each year. This means you spend money each year or leave the plastic wrap up year around. If you use your sliding glass doors, this might not be the best option.
  • DIY energy audit. Energy.gov has some great DIY tips on doing an assessment of your home for air leaks. We also purchased an energy audit IR thermometer. This allowed us to see the temperature of surfaces, such as our sliding glass doors and where we had air leaks. This handy tool will cost anywhere from $20 to a couple hundred dollars, depending on the brand and quality.
  • Use insulated foam board. This method is far from pretty, and the insulated board can be expensive, but it's effective. Two pieces that are measured to fit your sliding glass door can cost upwards of $50. You can, however, use these year after year. We use the pink insulated foam board from Home Depot that is rated R-75 and is 1.5-in. thick. After only a few minutes, we can feel the difference. Using our IR thermometer to compare the before and after temperature, we found a 10 degree increase over 24 hours. The top of the door was 50 degrees Fahrenheit and increased to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The boards might not be pretty, but they work!
  • Use draft protectors. They're also not the prettiest and you might have to have several of them, but they stop the drafts. You can buy draft protectors or make them, and if you make your own, you can choose fabrics that you like and they'll be more attractive. I've found rolling up towels and placing them at the bottom of each sliding glass door and then shutting our blinds helps stop some of the draft. Again, this is not fool-proof but it helps a little!


Hopefully, you stay warmer this winter with these tips for winterizing your sliding glass doors. Every penny saved counts and helps the environment! Of course, lowering your thermostat and bundling up is helpful, too! When the temperature drops to 20 below zero, you need every bit of heat you can get!

Courtesy of Eco Seed

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