Windows represent the weak point of a home in terms of insulation. Switching from old single pane windows to double pane is a great way to increase your home’s energy efficiency. And the advanced technology of today’s double pane windows can more than double a window’s insulating ability. They’re impressive, and most people consider them when upgrading for this reason.
What are Double Pane Windows?
Double pane windows are made with two panes of glass separated by a spacer. In between the two layers of glass is the special spacer and a bunch of trapped gas. A gas like argon or krypton is used to fill the layer between the two glass panes.
The spacer helps hold the panes of glass firmly in place even if some pressure is put on them. A seal is used to keep the gas from leaking out from between the two layers. As long as that seal holds, the windows themselves will perform at impressive levels. If the seal breaks, the window will need repair, as most of its thermal benefits will be lost.
The Benefits of Double Pane Windows
Double pane windows are more effective insulators than single pane, and that bolstered insulation brings along several benefits that you might not have considered.
Lower Condensation Issues
If you’ve owned a house with single pane windows in a cold climate, you’ve experienced condensation issues. That’s because water accumulates over windows all winter long due to the temperature difference between the house’s interior and exterior. Additionally, single pane windows transfer the cold into your home. As the cold comes into your home all the water vapor in your home that comes into contact with it forms into water and it can then freeze from the low temperatures coming through your windows. Double pane windows solve this issue by separating the warm interior pane and the outer colder pane.
Because double pane windows keep the cold out in the winter and the hot out in the summer, they are more effective insulators than single pane windows. It’s not only because of the added layer of glass – the gas or air that’s trapped between the two layers does most of the work. This gas layer serves as a powerful insulator and slows the transfer of heat in either direction of the window. This enhanced insulation will lower your utility costs each month.
Blocks the Noise
If you live in a noisy neighborhood you’ll really enjoy how much of that noise isn’t allowed into your home when the double pane windows are closed. Compared to single pane windows they barely let any sound in at all. You’ll be surprised at how much quieter it is inside your home with the new windows.
Why Choose a Special Gas Filler?
Some double pane windows have air between the layers. Though air helps insulate the window nicely, using a denser gas like argon or krypton will provide even better insulating properties for the windows. Argon is the favorite gas to use because it’s completely colorless, odorless and nontoxic. Even if the glass leaks for some reason it won’t cause any harm in your home.
Pay Attention to Spacers
Most people give them very little thought, but the spacers between the two layers of glass in the window make a difference in thermal performance. It’s important to look for “warm edge spacers”. These spacers are designed to function as insulators and keep heat from moving from one pane to the other. The gas in between the two panes serves as the major insulator, but the spacers provide a potential bridge for heat to transfer from one pane to another and to skip the gas in between entirely. That’s why you want spacers with the highest level of insulation that you can get.
Are they Worth the Investment?
If you’re relying on single pane windows in your home, and your energy bills are high, double pane windows are worth the investment, but you should have them all done. Many people believe that they can upgrade a few windows at a time and see real benefits, but this isn’t effective. Having just a few single pane windows will limit any savings you’ll see. When you change out all the windows at once you form an effective barrier that will make the most difference.
By using more sophisticated technology to increase a window’s insulation and energy efficiency, double pane windows are a major improvement over single pane.