Winter Tips for Glass Patio Doors

When cold weather hits, most people crank the heat up and pull the window curtains closed. But what should you do about your glass patio doors?

In winter, patio doors often let in drafts or freeze shut—which is especially annoying when you need to let the dog out. Over time, poor insulation and moisture can even result in warped and hard-to-open doors year-round.

Today, we’re giving winter tips for glass patio doors. Keep reading to learn how to winterize your patio doors and keep your home cozy this season.

#1 Check the Weatherstripping

Weatherstripping is important for doors and windows. It prevents air leaks, which does a few things: avoids drafts, improves energy efficiency, and keeps the doors from freezing.

If the weatherstripping around your glass patio doors is old, cracked, or worn away in places, it’s not doing its job. You can replace it by cutting away the old weatherstripping and putting in the new weatherstripping, cut to size.

#2 Seal Cracks and Gaps

Cracks and gaps let in drafts and decrease the energy efficiency of your home. To avoid this, seal in cracks and gaps around the patio doors with caulk.

#3 Clean and Lubricate the Door Tracks

A sliding patio door is more easily opened when the door tracks are clean, free of debris, and lubricated. A lubricant like WD-40, which has a much lower freezing temperature than water, can help you prevent ice accumulation around the track and frame.

#4 Get Rid of Excess Moisture

Frost and ice build up on glass patio doors because of the temperature and humidity difference between your home and the outdoors. Moisture in the humid indoor air is drawn to the cold glass, where it cools and becomes liquid. When it’s cold enough, the condensation ices over.

To prevent this, you can use a dehumidifier and exhaust fans (particularly when showering or cooking). These appliances help you remove excess moisture from the air.

#5 Install Heavy Curtains

Heavier curtains can improve the insulation of your patio doors and prevent some of the moisture from accumulating. To really take advantage of your curtains, make sure to leave them open on sunny days and closed on overcast ones. Doing this will help regulate your home’s temperature.

#6 Consider Plastic Film

Shrink-to-fit plastic wrap designed for windows and doors can help to reduce drafts and make your house feel warmer.

#7 Use a Draft Snake

If there are drafts coming in under your patio doors, try a draft snake. This long fabric tube blocks the air.

#8 Open and Close the Door Regularly

To prevent your glass patio doors from freezing over and getting damaged, try to open and close the door regularly. Opening the door for a few minutes helps break off any ice forming and equalizes the humidity inside and outside your home.

What Should You Do If Your Door Is Frozen Shut?

If you find your door frozen solid, remember one thing: never try to force it open. You’re likely to damage the frame or lock that way.

Instead, you can gently apply a bit of pressure around the outside of the door to cause cracks in the ice. Then you can chip away the ice with an ice scraper. (Even a plastic spatula or credit card will do—just avoid anything metal, which can scratch glass.)

You can use rubbing alcohol or a vinegar mixture to get rid of small amounts of ice. Just be careful with these, since they can damage some door seals or glass.

Whatever you do, never use hot water to thaw the ice: the sudden temperature change can shatter glass patio doors.

Jack’s Glass Can Help

If your drafty patio doors can’t be fixed by weatherstripping, caulk, curtains, or film, or if your doors are so warped you can’t let your pet outside, it might be time for a replacement.

Call Jack’s Glass today to talk to one of our residential glass experts!