Many people steer clear of French patio doors because they're afraid that they'll raise their energy bills. Between the swinging action that pushes air in and out, and the large amounts of glass these doors typically contain, it does seem like they'd be a recipe for heat loss. Thankfully, if you're careful to choose the right French patio doors, it does not have to be so. Here's a look at four qualities that you should look for when choosing energy-efficient French patio doors.
A tight-fitting, rubber seal between the doors.
Look closely at the place where the two doors come together. There should be some sort of rubberized strip on one of the doors so that when they come together there is no space between them. Most styles of new doors will have this, but some don't if they're intended for a moderate climate where heating and air conditioning are rarely used. If you're looking at older, used French patio doors, be especially wary of this feature, as many older doors lack this sealing strip and will let your heat (or air conditioning) leak right out between them.
Low e-glass panels.
Most French patio doors feature large glass panels, or at least multiple small glass panels. This can lead to your home being heated by the sun in the summer (resulting in soaring AC bills) if you're not careful to choose the right glass. If you're buying new doors, low e-glass is your best option. This is glass that has been coated with a special material that reflects UV rays, rather than letting them shine in and heat up your room in the summer. Low e-glass also keeps the indoor heat inside from escaping through the glass in the winter.
If you're looking at older, used French patio doors for your home, low-e glass will probably not be an option, since it's a rather new invention. Focus on finding a door with as thick of glass as possible, as thicker glass allows for less heat transfer. Also, make sure the glass panels are all steady in their frames. If they wiggle about and seem loose, that means there's space around them through which heat can pass.
As your home settles, the way the doors sit in relation to themselves and the door frame may change, exposing some gaps through which heat can escape. If you have adjustable hinges, however, you can change the way the doors sit to close these gaps. Adjustable hinges also ensure that you can keep the doors operating smoothly. People are more likely to close the doors behind them properly if they swing and close easily.
A door frame that extends slightly past the bottom of the door.
If you start looking at the bottoms of various French patio doors, you'll notice that there are two ways for the door to come into contact with the frame and ground. Some doors have frames that are "flat" on the floor, and when the door is closed, it rests on top of the frame. Others have a "lip" on the frame, and the door closes up against this lip. For the best energy-efficiency, you want the style of door with the lip -- a door frame that extends past the bottom of the door. This way, you don't have to worry about drafty air blowing in under the door. It will be stopped by the lip.
Hinged, or French, patio doors are a stylish addition to your home. You don't have to choose between this style and maintaining an energy-efficient abode. As long as you choose doors with the features above, your energy bills should be minimally affected by your hinged doors. Look at this site for more information.