Adjust Your Threshold and Save Energy

Saving energy can be really involved or it can be simple and inexpensive. Today we are going to talk about something that is very inexpensive to do and will save you energy which in turn will save you dollars.
How to adjust the threshold on your exterior door. The adjustable type thresholds we know today were patented around 1980 and are basically the same mechanically today as they were then. Of course the materials they are made of have changed substantially. To see if your threshold needs adjusting close the door and lay on the floor with your head sideways (ear to the ground) looking under the door. If you see any visible light at all it means you should adjust the threshold.

Open your door and look at the threshold. You should see 4 or 5 large screw heads on top of the threshold. There may be plastic caps or even a vinyl strip covering them. Be careful removing the vinyl strip, they can be very difficult to reinstall. You may want to try taking just one side of it out. If there isn’t anything protecting the actual screw heads the slots may be filled in with dirt. It is very important to clean them out completely so the screwdriver fits in correctly. The most effective way I have found is to use a utility knife to loosen the

debris in the slots and then a can of compressed air, the kind you would use to clean your computer keyboard out. If you don’t have any compressed air you can blow through a drinking straw to remove the loose dirt


Screwdrivers come in various sizes, so make sure to use the largest one that will fit. In this case will probably be a #3 (large) and most likely Phillips, although I have seen them in the slotted variety. When you are turning the screw make sure to put a lot of downward pressure on the screwdriver so it doesn’t slip out of the head and damage it. You will have to turn each screw about 3 full turns to get a 1/16” rise although this will vary depending on the manufacturer.

If the screw won’t turn, you can try these remedies. Set the screwdriver in the slot and tap the screwdriver handle with a hammer (tapping on a wooden handle screwdriver may cause it to crack) and try it again. You can hit the screw about ½ as hard as it would take to drive a nail into a block of wood. If this doesn’t work try spraying some WD-40 or penetrating oil onto the screw head and let it sit as per the instructions on the can. A tip to keep the oil on the screw head is to place a cotton ball on the top of the screw head and soak the cotton ball with the oil and let it sit. Of course you will have to wait until it gets warmer for that.
Adjust the screws turning them one at a time and closing the door and checking for light. Do not turn them too much as this will cause excessive wear on the weatherstripping and make the door hard to close. If you used penetrating oil of any kind make sure you wipe it up completely as it will attract more dirt. Remember to replace the caps or the protective vinyl strip over the screw heads.
Now that you have adjusted the front door and saved some energy don’t forget about the back door and if you have an attached garage check that door too.

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10 Responses to “Adjust Your Threshold and Save Energy”

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