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Community and Q&A

Limiting Air Leakage Around Dog Door

braun247 | Posted in Energy Efficiency and Durability on

I am in the design phase of our home.  I would like a dog door that goes to a dog run.  Looking at all the dog doors, they leak air like no other, even when they are closed.

We will have casement windows and my thought is to install a casement window like a dog door that I can open and close when I want to.  This way, when it is closed, the home is sealed.  I know I will take a hit when its open and it is not automatic, but it is better than anything else out there that I have found.

The home will be in the mountains and the alternative is to take them out the front door, then to the door run.  This is fine in the warm months, but it will suck when it gets cold.

When I told my architect about this, he didn’t tell me no, but said he needed to think about whether this is a good idea or not.  He said I could use one of the RFID tag doors, but I have read that dogs sometimes sit by the door and they are unlocked and open.

I have found one door that might work,
but would still like to know anyone’s thoughts about using a casement window and why it would be a good or a bad idea.


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  1. Expert Member


    It depends whether you want your dogs to be able to go in and out on their own or not. That's why people usually install pet doors.

    If not, I'd be inclined to use a sealed, insulated hatch, which will be much more efficient than a glazed window.

    1. braun247 | | #3


      Thank you for your reply. I am not looking for anything that is automatic. We can open and close it manually.

      I like the hatch idea, but I don't this I could get it airtight like a casement window.

      1. Expert Member
        MALCOLM TAYLOR | | #5


        Thinking about it again, the slight energy penalty a window represents is probably offset by the ease of having a manufactured entrance rather than having to build a hatch. I don't see any real downsides. The glazing will have to be laminated or tempered depending on your code.

        You might consider a plastic flap inside for then you leave the window open.

        1. braun247 | | #11

          Because we will be living in a wildfire area, all the glass for the entire house must be tempered, it does not matter the location. As for the flap, that is a great idea, thanks!

  2. Expert Member
    AKOS TOTH | | #2

    You can also install either an awning with the crank removed or a hopper window. When unlatched the awning would allow the dog to go out on its own but you would have to let it in. The hopper would be opposite.

    1. braun247 | | #4


      Thank you for your reply. I like the idea of an awning window, but they typically do not open up far enough. With a casement window, I can get it at least 90 degrees out from the home.

      Thanks again!

      1. Expert Member
        AKOS TOTH | | #7

        The limit on the awning is from the crank arms, if you disconnect these, the window can go to 90 deg.

        Some manufacturers do offer awnings with latching handle instead of a crank which would work better for this.

  3. this_page_left_blank | | #6

    This sounds like a good idea to me, and one I wish I had thought of a few years ago. I'd even consider retrofitting one, but our dog pen is a ways from the house, so it would require a pretty major renovation of outdoor landscaping.

  4. Expert Member
    NICK KEENAN | | #8

    I think a dog would destroy the weatherstripping on a window in no time.

    1. braun247 | | #13

      That will be a problem. I am going to have to think about how to prevent that or at least find a way to prolong the replacement.

      Any thoughts?

      1. jameshowison | | #17

        Given that this is going to be manual, perhaps a little platform that bridges over the bottom weatherstripping, you'd have to put it in place and pull it out, but at least it would be replaceable. Wood or aluminum flashing? Maybe some aluminum replacement threshold would work?

        I do think this sort of magnetic strip dog doors do a good job of air-sealing. We've had one in place for nearly 10 years and no rips or problems. Ok, sometimes I do find it leaking air when the dogs have dragged a toy/stick through and given up. discussed on GBA here:

        1. braun247 | | #21

          After reading this article, I think I will go with the Freedom Pet Pass door. I like the double flap and looking at how its build, I could add some insulation to fill the void when its not in use.

          Thanks again for the link.

  5. walta100 | | #9

    With a casement it seems like the crank handle would be at ankle height and no fun to operate.

    It seems like a double hung window mounted low with a fixed window over it would be easy to operate and look strange but not to strange.


    1. Expert Member
      MALCOLM TAYLOR | | #10


      But you would need twice the sized window to get the same opening.

      1. braun247 | | #12

        We have large/giant bred dogs, so a double-hung window would be huge. Plus, double-hung windows tend to leak air.

        You do make a good point that the crank will be too low. I would say I could install it 180 degrees, but then the drain won't be there. Maybe I can get one of those auto hand cranks.

  6. jonny_h | | #14

    Rather than a crank-operated casement, this might be a place for a tilt-turn or push-out casement, which would be more like a little door and operate a lot faster than a crank-out window. Could also be coupled with a plastic flap / regular dog door, so you'd have something that's a poor (but not nonexistent) cover over the opening when in use, and a good cover when you close the windoor manually.

    1. braun247 | | #16

      I never thought to use a push-out casement. I think that is the way to go. Thanks!

  7. walta100 | | #15

    How big an opening do you need?

    I was thinking something like 22x72 double hung would give you something like 20x32 open area.

    In my opinion the amount of leakage from my low cost Silverline double hung windows is miner. Yes I can see smoke leak when running my fans. My blower door test was just above 1 ach and we have a lot of windows.

    If 20x32 is too small I think you need to just put in a door and call it a day.


  8. artisanfarms | | #19

    Why not just use a door. The knob will be at a convenient height, you don't have to worry about damage to weatherstripping and they are designed for many more open/close cycles than your average window.

  9. Expert Member
    NICK KEENAN | | #20

    My recommendation: exterior door with a storm door. Put a conventional dog door in the storm door. You're going to want a dog door anyway to keep out bugs, mice and the weather.

    Or even go with two exterior doors in the same frame, one inswing and one outswing, one with the dog door.

    If you don't want full height doors, it's not a big deal to order smaller doors. If you put the doorknob near the top you could probably go as short as 32" and still be able to easily reach the knob.

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