According to Green America, drafty windows and doors can increase your heating bill during the winter months by around 20 percent. You don’t need to be a mathematician to know how that could take big bucks out of your pocket every month. However, there’s another type of door that can contribute to heat loss: your pet door. Yes, your pet door – you know the flap that you have installed in your back door so that Rover can go in and out of the house as he so pleases? Most pet doors are just that: flaps of plastic that work about as well as a poncho at keeping the cold out and the heat in, which leads to serious pet door drafts in winter.
What You Can Do to Stop the Drafts
When you go to assess your windows and doors for drafts, don’t forget about the pet door. Here are some ways to stop pet door drafts in the cold winter months:
- Size up your surroundings. Depending on your home’s layout, stopping those pet door drafts may not even require reinstalling your pet door. For instance, many older homes are designed so that the back door is positioned between the dining room and kitchen, and can be closed off from the two rooms by doors. If you intend to use your pet door during the winter months and have a similarly designed home, just make sure that the appropriate doors are shut when the pet door is in use, so the drafts stay confined around the back door area. You’ll still likely notice a slight increase in your heating bill during the winter, but it won’t be an alarming increase.
- Seal off the pet door. While this might not be convenient for your dog, temporarily sealing the pet door will reduce the pet door drafts in winter. Again, you’ll have to let Rover outside to do his business yourself if your pet door is disabled, but the minor inconvenience may be more desirable than the spike in your energy bill.
Buy a more efficient flap or pet door. Sometimes the answer to how to winterize dog door installations is to start over. Just as dual-pane windows are much more energy efficient than single-pane windows, the same concept applies to pet doors. There is already a dual-pane insulated glass panel pet door, known as the “Thermo Panel” on the market. It tends to be more expensive than a conventional pet door, but as with dual-pane windows, the up-front investment pays for itself in energy savings over time.
In short, following these suggestions could decrease your loss of heat in winter months, and help keep your energy bill expenses in check, in turn saving you money.