7 Ways Your Garage Doors and Windows Can Save You Money

March 17, 2011

Garages are often a lot colder or a lot hotter than the home to which they're attached. If your garage walls are insulated and finished with drywall or paneling, and the ceiling has insulation, one big culprit remains--your garage door. Of course your HVAC system usually doesn't include the garage, but having a big hot box or cold box adjacent to interior rooms allows a certain amount of thermal transfer.

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Improving Garage Doors and Windows

A law of thermodynamics is that heat travels towards cold. In the summer your hot garage air penetrates your air conditioned living areas. In winter your warmed home air seeps into the garage. Even some car parts may last longer in more stable temperatures. Here are steps you can take to improve that situation:

  1. Insulate the garage's walls and ceiling.
  2. Replace an uninsulated side door with an insulated one.
  3. Get insulated replacement windows for any single-pane windows.
  4. Your uninsulated garage door is a poor thermal barrier in any weather. Clean, lubricate, or replace the weather stripping.
  5. Inspect the rubber bottom seal of your garage door. If it is cracked or chewed by rodents, slide it out and cut off a piece to take it to a garage door shop to match its replacement.
  6. Buy an insulation kit designed for garage doors. These may be rolls of foil with an insulating material sandwiched in between. They may be rigid sheets of polystyrene, polyurethane, or other materials. Polyurethane has a higher R-value than polystyrene. Some rigid sheets have a smooth panel laminated to the side facing into the garage. All are easy to install. These kits can improve R-values up to R-6 or more--ask before purchasing. If your current uninsulated garage door has windows, you'll have to carefully cut out the insulation around the windows. Make a template and measure carefully before cutting.
  7. Replace the garage door. Garage doors with insulation sandwiched between its outside panels can improve thermal efficiency to R-9 or as high as R-17.5. This is very desirable if the garage is also used for a hobby shop, laundry area, or storage of temperature-sensitive items like photos or old vinyl records. If you're purchasing a replacement garage door, some manufacturers have doors with insulated windows.

As you can see, there's a lot you can do to improve the temperature swings, dirt, and rodent resistance of your garage. Insulation, windows and doors are key. You may even gain an area that's pleasant for hobbies, or extend the number of months the garage is pleasant to use.






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