When it comes to insulating and soundproofing your home, the type of windows you choose will have a major effect on both your comfort level and your electricity bills. Triple pane windows are known for keeping a home temperature comfortable and also protecting it from the elements. But are they significantly better than their double pane counterparts? Let’s take a look at the differences between double and triple pane windows, as well as the pros and cons of triple pane glass.
Reasons to choose triple pane windows
The only difference between double pane windows—which consist of two sheets of glass filled with an insulating gas like argon or krypton—is that triple pane windows have a third layer of glass for increased insulation. There are two main reasons that window companies introduced triple pane windows as an alternative to double panes:
- Energy efficiency: Triple pane windows can save 2-3% more on your heating bill than double paned windows, so they’re most commonly used in homes in colder climates. In fact, Canadian building codes require new homes to be outfitted with at least double pane windows, so triple pane windows are an energy efficient option to minimize heat loss for homes in winter-heavy regions.
- Noise reduction: Homeowners who live in noisy areas—cities, working
construction sites, and train lines to name a few—often choose triple pane windows to help drown out excess noise from outside the home. Because triple pane windows are made from three panes of glass with two layers of insulating gas in between, this the most sensible option for soundproofing a home.
Pros and cons of triple pane windows vs. double pane windows
Taking into account the reasons homeowners purchase triple pane windows, this choice seems to be a no-brainer. Still, some professionals remain divided about the benefits of triple pane windows when compared directly to double pane windows. We’ve separated some of the pros and cons of triple pane windows as compared to their double pane counterparts to make sense of their differences.
Triple pane windows: pros
- Energy efficiency: Triple pane windows offer an improvement of up to 20-30% on energy efficiency if you consider Solar Heat Gain Coefficients (SHGC) and U-factors. While these statistics will vary according to where you live and the exact windows your home has, you can find out more about your windows’ energy efficiency by checking out their Energy Star rating.
- Decreased heating bills: A home in an area like New England can save up to 2-3% on heating bills with triple pane windows compared to a home with double pane windows. These savings will understandably vary in warmer climates and will depend on your windows; the best bet here is to check with your window professional for their predicted savings.
Regardless of the statistics behind triple pane windows, many contractors agree that the significant increase in comfort levels in homes with triple pane windows—including less window condensation and fewer noticeable drafts—makes any added cost worth it.
Triple pane windows: cons
- Increased cost: Because of the additional pane of glass and more complex construction and installation, you can expect to pay at least 10 to 15% more for triple pane than double pane windows. The Family Handyman estimates that it can take a homeowner up to 30 years or more to fully recoup this amount through energy savings and payments.
- Value worth the cost? Some triple pane skeptics feel that the added energy efficiency of these windows is not high enough to justify the price tag. While information confirming this worry is not always readily available—and varies depending on the area you live in and the cost of your individual windows—it’s enough to put off some potential buyers.
- Heavier than double pane windows: Because triple pane windows are more bulky, they can be more difficult to install. Homeowners who are worried about the possible installation pitfalls here (which include damage to existing frames and potentially needing to replace entire window units, frame included) are wary of making the switch to triple pane windows.
If you’re considering upgrading to triple pane windows, these pros and cons should help you to make your decision. As far as energy efficiency and soundproofing are concerned, three panes are most definitely better than one—or even two. As a consumer, you can make an educated decision based on the facts about triple pane windows and your at-home budget.