A Tale Of Two Doors

I had the recent pleasure of inspecting a 100+ year old house in Manassas, Virginia.  I love historic properties!

Sometimes on old houses the people want to retain the original historicity and keep original stuff.

Like these front doors.  This particular house had two gorgeous side-by-side wooden doors.  But they are not very efficient.  And the people know this.  They use the front door as little as possible.  Why?  Because on the inside they are covered with very thick, insulating, sliding drapes.  And one door has a "draft dodger" at the bottom.  In my day draft dodger meant something different!  But you know what this one is.  It is a fabric tube filled with sand and it sits in front of the bottom of the door, sealing any gaps and air flow. 

How inefficient are these doors?  Look at the two thermal images below.

The image on the left is taken from the outside.  The image on the right from the inside.

The darkest purple spot on the left is the light, and it is 13 degrees F.  The warmest spot on the upper left of the left door is 61F.  So these doors are transferring heat to the outside, DESPITE the heavy drapes.

The coolness coming in can be seen on the right.  The drapes can be seen somewhat on the side, pulled away.  The coolest spot is the lower right (where the draft dodger stays) and it is 31F.  The outdoor temp at this moment is 19ishF.  The lavender portions of the door are 42F.

The energy flowing through these doors goes WHOOSH... $$$

The sellers seem content to pay the electric company for the historical appearance of the doors (which I really like).  The buyers have a different idea.  A thermal exam inside the house revealed very good wall insulation and windows, both previously upgraded.  A new insulated door, with a side light window, can have a very historical appearance, yet be very efficient.  And usable!!  Different strokes for different folks.

My recommendation:  Appearance is one thing, efficiency another.  Sometimes there is a trade off.  Buyers and sellers make those decisions.  The window over the door (image on the left) is an efficient double pane upgrade and emits very little heat.  It is possible to gain efficiency, yet maintain appearance!  To a point...

 

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Comments

jay | Wed, 03/07/2012 - 13:01

It does Mesa. Some jurisdictions require that door and window replacements be made according to historically-accurate materials. But efficiency can be had.

max (not verified) | Sat, 02/04/2012 - 04:48

I think the article distinguishes two most important things with doors why people prefer one to another. Inspecting old houses is an interesting experience. Hope the discussion would enough clues to choose between appearance and efficiency. locksmith mesa

jay | Thu, 01/26/2012 - 12:02


Thank you Daily Guide! There are more thermal imaging posts, found on the left navigation. Enjoy!

Daily Guide (not verified) | Sat, 01/21/2012 - 06:30

Nice post.Thank you for taking the time to publish this information very useful! I've been looking for books of this nature for a way too long. I'm just glad that I found yours. Looking forward for your next post. Thanks :)

Daily Guide
www.0y7.net

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Jay performs inspections Monday through Saturday, throughout Northern Virginia, from his office in Bristow to Leesburg and Centreville, to Great Falls and Vienna and everywhere in between!