When it comes to window and door performance, it can be a technical minefield to understand how and why the doors are tested as well as what the results actually mean. So let’s take a closer look.
Why test doors?
To establish a standard of performance for homeowners to ensure you have a quality product you can trust. Reputable window and door companies conduct both in-house testing as well as independent testing to verify the product will consistently out-perform the standards established by testing organizations, such as the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) and their high standard, the Energy Star Label. These standards are in place to ensure you can choose windows and doors that will protect the home from outside weather conditions to contribute to an overall comfortable and energy-efficient home.
So what is tested?
Thermal efficiency. In other words the door systems’ resistance to the transfer of temperature between the exterior of the home to the interior. Doors with higher thermal efficiency ratings will keep homes warmer in winter and cooler in summer, saving on household heating and cooling bills.
Air and water infiltration. Though no door system is 100% waterproof, save that of a submarine door, there are standards that help to assure that in normal weather conditions you can be confident that your home is safe from air and water leaks. Testing is done with both air compressed (pushed) against and also vacuum (pulled) towards a testing door system while an amount of moisture is directed at the entire surface of the door.
Structural. These tests determine how strong the systems are against high wind loads and the impact of objects against the doors. Throughout the United States regulations for structural integrity varies from location to location. For example, in areas impacted by hurricanes, strict guidelines on structural performance of windows and doors are mandated.
How do I interpret the results?
When it comes to thermal efficiency, look for a window or door that has an Energy Star Label. This means it has a thermal rating or U-factor value lower than 0.27, meaning it can virtually be sold in all regions of North America. This will be particularly important for northern states, which are exposed to extreme seasonal variations.
For air and water ratings, it’s best to consult your local county for the regulations that apply to your home.
Structural performance results will depend upon the size of your door and different standards apply to different states. Again, it’s best to contact your local county for guidance on the requirements for your area.
What’s the purpose of these tests?
Independent window and door testing establishes an equal playing field for a door’s performance to be measured against. It also helps protect homeowners against substandard products. Make sure you’re aware of what these ratings mean and what standards your local county requires.
Can I rely on these tests?
Absolutely. The testing is carried out under very strict conditions and is done by external organizations to the window and door industry. The results of these tests also need to be verified by a third party to ensure they are valid.
Let me close by saying that Centor does not test to meet requirements of the industry. Centor embraces testing as a method to prove our performance and quality, and go beyond what is expected. We strive to always produce door systems with only the best materials using superior craftsmanship. Centor’s standard in testing today means we always meet the true test tomorrow. That is, the test of time.