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If you live in a place that gets really cold in the winters, you’re probably going to spend a lot more time indoors than outdoors until spring finally starts. A large part of keeping your home warm and cozy during the winter months has to do with how well you winterize it. While a lot of people remember to take care to insulate their windows and doors, they forget all about the patio door. Here are some easy and effective tips on how to winterize a patio door.

Sliding patio doors are a great addition to any home. Even when treated for winter, these sliding glass doors are a great source of natural light. However, like all other entry and exit points in your home, they can let in drafts and let out much-needed warmth during the cold winter months unless they are insulated the right way. 

The problem is that glass is not a great natural insulator, which means that it isn’t particularly efficient in trapping heat or keeping the cold out. This is what makes winterizing so important. If poorly insulated, your patio door will not only make winter a lot colder for you, you will see a drastic increase in your utility bills. 

sliding patio doors

On the positive side of things, winterizing sliding patio doors is neither difficult nor expensive. Let’s walk you through the process.

How you can winterize your patio door?

1. Clear the debris

Considering that patio doors are large exterior doors, it is not surprising that they attract a lot of wind-swept debris, such as mulch, leaves, pebbles, dirt, and practically anything else that can be picked up by the wind. 

This debris tends to build up along the tracks of the sliding patio door. As the amount of debris increases, operating this door becomes more difficult, and is likely to cause a slight shift in the positioning of the door itself. This shift gives rise to gaps through which cold air can slip in, causing drafts.

An easy way to keep your sliding door in great working shape all year round is to clean out the tracks regularly. This will also make it easier to winterize the door itself.

The debris in the door tracks can be easily swept off using a broom or blown out using a leaf blower. 

2. Insulate with weather stripping

Weather stripping
Photo by theilr on flickr [CC BY-SA 2.0]

Once you’ve cleared the door of all debris, install weather stripping around any exposed edges. This will make sure that your patio door is well and truly sealed against the odd leak.

Weatherstripping is incredibly affordable and can be made from a variety of materials, including felt, foam tape, or V strip. 

3. Consider plastic insulation

While shrink wrapping windows is a fairly normal thing, the same kind of insulation can be applied to your patio doors as well. While you will not be able to use your patio door all winter, shrink wrapping is extremely affordable and energy efficient.

There are specific shrink wrap insulation kits available at hardware stores that are also very easy to install. 

The only downside to adding these kits to your patio doors for winter is that while your energy bills may be lower, these kits will definitely not be adding to the visual appeal of your home. 

4. Install rigid foam insulation

Poorly insulated glass can often lead to frost building up inside of the door. The most effective way to remediate the situation is to install panels of lightweight rigid foam insulation  either along the part of the door that does not open or across the entire door frame itself.

5. Invest in window treatments

patio door window treatments
Photo by Bill Wilson on flickr [CC BY 2.0]

Another way to keep cold winter drafts from entering your home through your patio door is by investing in window treatments. Solutions include cellular blinds, blackout curtains, and insulated drapes. 

While these solutions may not be as cost effective as the previous options, you are sure to see a sharp dip in your energy bills as well as feel warm and cozy inside.

6. Get a new patio door

We’ve saved the most effective and expensive option for last: replacing your patio door

Top-of-the-line insulated glass doors will offer you the protection of ¾ inch insulated glass with a sealant, guaranteed to protect you from the elements and prevent the loss of heat internally, at least from that external doorway.

Why is it important to winterize?

winterizing patio doors

It’s only natural that you may not want to spend a whole lot of money on winterizing your patio door. But here’s why you should.

Summers and winters are when our energy bills are at our highest. It’s at these times that our home’s heating and cooling systems are pushed to their limits. Properly insulating our homes to suit the weather is the only way to survive the seasons and keep a tab on our energy bills.

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Read more: DIY door jamb repair tips to tackle warping, nicks or dents

Easy and effective tips on how to winterize a patio door was last modified: May 10th, 2021 by Narayan Shrouthy
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