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In relation to my previous question, Does a storm door help prevent heat loss?, where I learned that a storm door helps prevent energy loss, because of the air pocket between the two doors, now I am going to ask for guidance selecting a specific type of storm door.

My house was built in the 40's in upstate NY near the PA border. The insulation isn't the greatest. It would be silly to spend a lot of money getting the best possible R-value when the walls themselves don't insulate terribly well.

I'm just trying to make SOME improvement.

In that context, is it okay to select the cheapest storm door from a big box store? That will give me the air pocket.

If not, what are the key features I should be looking for?

I would like to avoid replacing the door itself if possible, because it's already fitting well and I'm trying to minimize what I spend in this area. But I have to do something because of the single pane glass in the existing door. My kitchen is not fun to work in because of three problems. (There's this single pane glass problem, plus drafty exhaust fan improperly installed, and improper windows above the sink, both of which I am working on in parallel.) Of course, if I put in the storm door and solve the other two problems, and I'm still significantly colder in the kitchen than in the other rooms, then I guess I'll know I have to replace the door itself.

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  • Are the glass panels in the existing door a regular (rectangular/square) shape? Is the door thick enough to take double glazed inserts? You might be able to get some made up to replace the single panes without replacing the existing door, or even removing for fitting, depending on the means of retaining the existing panes. I have a single glazed door at the front of my house where the glass is retained by substantial quarter-round moldings that could be replaced with smaller for double glazing. That or some secondary glazing over the inside or outside of the door - polycarbonate sheets? – Phil G Dec 5 '19 at 21:07
  • @PhilG - I put some temporary plexiglass over an existing single pane kitchen window and it actually helped! Maybe I'll do the same for this door. Thanks very much for the idea. I just checked the shape and I think I can caulk the plexiglass in place as I did for the window. Then I can focus on my other urgent repairs and figure out what to do with that door later. Also, replacing a door would be more fun in warmer weather. – aparente001 Dec 6 '19 at 0:02

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