Dog doors give family pets the freedom to visit their yard or outdoor space to do their business, relax or just have a change of scenery. When they are ready to come back indoors, these flap-entrance doors allow easy access to the home.
There’s one issue that could concern homeowners with these convenient doggie portals, though. If the flaps that allow quick entrance and exit don’t properly seal, the door could become a portal for drafts and make the heating and cooling kick on more. An energy-efficient dog door keeps out the elements to minimize energy waste…and help keep those heating and cooling bills from soaring.
Air Leaks Could Add to the Energy Bill
The concern about dog or cat doors and energy waste was on one homeowner’s mind when they dropped a letter to columnist Umbra Fisk at Grist. The homeowner liked the convenience of the door but was worried that the door flap was also conveniently letting cold air into the home during winter.
Fisk’s response was probably one that the homeowner expected but maybe still didn’t want to have confirmed. That convenient escape and entrance for the family pet was likely contributing to energy waste. But just how much extra was added to the monthly bill wasn’t something Fisk could accurately project. However, Fisk cited an article on Green Builder Media about cat doors estimating that the airy door could bump the bill by almost $7 a month.
Fisk also explained that as cat doors are smaller, the homeowner with the doggie door dilemma was probably wasting even more energy because of the larger door.
Shut the Door?
Dog and cat doors are convenient for homeowners who want to provide their pets with easy access to the outside…and the inside of the home, too. If a homeowner has to work late, they may worry less about their pet if they know that their furry friend can easily go indoors and outdoors as they pleased and based on their needs.
Yet, if the door doesn’t provide a secure seal, energy waste is a concern. Homeowners don’t have to choose between taking down that door and dealing with higher bills. There are dog doors that can provide a more secure seal, making them more energy efficient.
While energy-efficient dog doors won’t be branded with a special label per-se (like ENERGY STAR), homeowners can look for doors that offer more insulation through their seals or unique composition and construction.
Energy-Efficient Dog Doors
There are several different brands and types of energy-efficient dog doors. Some include multiple flaps to provide greater insulation. These doors also could include special construction like magnetic stripping or certain trademarked technology.
Choosing the best one could be a matter of opinion, and prices for each brand vary. However, homeowners looking for a roundup of choices can check out The Spruce Pets list of best dog doors. Their list includes low-budget and higher-priced options. One can even be controlled with a smartphone!
For homeowners who want a dog door that is specifically designed to keep out the weather and to maximize energy efficiency, the cost might be much higher. However, price might also depend on the size of the door needed.
How to Make a Dog Door More Energy Efficient
Homeowners might already have their dog door installed and could have no desire to install a new door…or pay to upgrade to an energy-efficient option. Good news! Homeowners can make a few DIY updates to their current dog door to increase the energy-efficiency and help decrease air leaks.
Family Handyman offers a few tips for weatherproofing that dog door. The site recommends:
- Adding caulk can help seal gaps or holes
- Installing weatherstrip can add a better seal around the door
- Magnets also can be used to keep the door closed
- Homeowners also can add another flap or upgrade flimsier flaps with better material.
These DIY upgrades and projects could help create a more energy-efficient dog door and, hopefully, minimize the impact that the door might have on heating and cooling.
Don’t Forget Other Doors and Windows
When homeowners are looking at ways to maximize the energy efficiency of their dog’s door, they also might take time to examine other doors and windows in the home, too. Windows and doors could be the source of air leaks that cause the home to feel drafty during the winter or much warmer during hot summers.
Homeowners can help stop these energy drains by ensuring that the insulation around doors and windows is effective and not worn or weathered. Over time, homeowners might need to update weather stripping or even replace older windows. Homeowners also could upgrade standard doors to energy-efficient doors. Even new windows can be made even more energy efficient with clear film insulation that helps lock out the elements. This can be an easy—and inexpensive—DIY project. Sealing leaks around windows and doors or choosing energy-efficient options can make an impact on both energy use and the monthly energy bill.