It’s a new year, which means Sacramento residents are ready for hot chocolate, cozy fires, and college basketball. But while we may not see snow, energy bill spikes are a given every winter.

The good news is, you can minimize the bill increase that comes with cold weather. In fact, the biggest culprit may be as close as your patio door, but few families identify this as a problem.

Here’s how to make sure this feature isn’t costing you more than it should:

What state are they in? If your patio doors are difficult to open or make any kind of noise while opening and closing, chances are good they aren’t up to the task of insulating your home this winter.

Take the candle test. Pass a lit candle around your doorframes. Be sure to cover every angle and corner. If you find that the candle flickers (or even worse, blows out), it’s typically a good indication that a draft is present.

Of course, it’s impossible to stop all the air leakage around the weather stripping on a sliding glass door and still be able to use the door. Know, too, that weather stripping naturally wears down, so your air leakage will increase as the door ages. With some manufacturers, it is possible that we can help you replace the stripping. We’re also glad to help you explore whether swinging doors will fit your structure, as these often offer a tighter seal.

The Department of Energy suggests hanging insulated drapes and make sure to close them at night as an extra layer against any air leaks.

Check the glass. If you can see condensation on the glass, it’s likely your patio doors have absorbed moisture within the frames. This can cause major damage like rotting or frame distortion, which will quickly lead to drafts and gaps. Unfortunately, this is a never- ending problem that will require repairs year after year.

If you’ve noticed one or more of these signs, add new “patio doors” to your new year’s resolutions. At Hall’s Window Center, we’ll help you find quality patio doors in Sacramento that will properly insulate your home through any season while saving you hundreds of dollars on your annual energy expenses. Call 916-669-1469 or head to our showroom at 11297 White Rock Road, Rancho Cordova, CA 95742.