Many factors determine the length and methods of your windows use, as well as their functionality. Lots of traditional houses in the US have single-pane windows. However, one glass pane can’t provide energy efficiency, which double-pane windows can offer.
On average, you will lose up to 30% of the heat in your home through the single-pane windows. On the other hand, the new double-pane windows can reduce heat loss and lower your utility bills, which will save you a lot of money in the long run. Therefore, it is hard to imagine a modern, environment-friendly house without them.
What Are Double Pane Windows?
The double-pane window has two panes of glass, and each of them has its individual frame. The manufacturer fills the spaces between them with air or insulating gas.
Nowadays, the double-pane windows typically have argon or krypton filling. Since these inert gases have a higher density than the air, they provide better insulation. In fact, the gas makes a barrier, which keeps the heat inside your room.
Except for better insulation, double-pane windows provide more security than the single pane windows. That goes even for the single-pane windows made of toughened or laminated glass. The fact that these windows have two layers of glass makes them a better choice.
The Difference Between Single and Double-Pane Window
If you are not sure whether you have the single or double-pane windows, there are two tricks on your disposal that will help you determine it. Firstly, you should look at the inside edge to check if there is a small spacing between the window panes.
The second method includes opening the window and trying to touch the same place on both sides by using two fingers. If you have the illusion that your fingers touch each other, your window has only one layer of glass. The double-pane window makes a visible distance between your fingers.
Careful inspection of your double-pane windows can provide the answer, as well. If you take a closer look, you may spot two small holes on the edge of the window. Through one of them, the manufacturer injects gas, and another one is the exit point for air. Plus, you can see the window seal this type of window has.
History of Double-Pane Windows
Not so long ago, windows had only one piece of glass in their frames. If people wanted to add extra weather protection on their windows, they needed to install window shatters. Most windows had window locks to prevent unintentional opening. Plus, some homeowners invested in storm windows to increase the energy efficiency of their homes.
In 1947, Pittsburgh Plate Glass introduced double-pane windows with insulated glass between panes for the first time. However, only the train cars had them, not homes. In the late 1970s, the energy crisis in the US forced the government to invest in more energy-efficient glass.
The first double-pane windows had compressed air between two panes. After some attempts with freon and carbon dioxide, it was discovered that both of them had side effects. After further research, the manufacturers concluded that argon is the best solution for insulating.
Double-Pane Windows Style
Nowadays, you can find plenty of choices of double-pane windows on the market. They vary in design, material, and type of glass they contain. Therefore, you can quickly pick out the window that fits your home’s architecture perfectly.
Also, you can choose from many window frame materials, such as wood, aluminum, and fiberglass. That gives you a wide choice of desired features, prices, and colors. Some of the most popular styles for double-pane windows available on the market are:
Each of these styles has its advantages and downsides. For example, picture windows don’t open at all. Fortunately, you can install a window fan for extra ventilation when needed. Your decision depends on the room purpose, level of desiring light, and your preferences.
Double-Pane Windows Benefits
Double-pane windows have many pluses, other than their price, and they almost have no disadvantages. To summarize their benefits is not an easy task, but some of them are:
- Maintaining room temperature
- Saving on energy costs
- Lowering utility bills
- Having an affordable price
- They are eco-friendly
- These windows are safe
- Offering noise reduction
- Preventing condensation
- Adding value to your home
Energy Efficiency of Double-Pane Windows
The fact is that double-pane windows save more energy than single-pane ones. The measure that defines the heat transfer is U-value. The lower the U-value, the better are airflow and insulation ability of the window.
There is also R-value measuring heat resistance. The typical single-pane windows have an R-value rating of 0.85. On the other hand, the double-pane windows filled with argon gas has a higher R-value, which is commonly from 2.7 to 3.6. That makes them far more efficient than single-pane models.
In summer, double-pane windows can reduce energy usage by up to 18% since the insulated gas prevents raising the temperature inside. That means you will use your window air conditioner less. On the other hand, these windows keep cold air from entering during winter.
On average, single-pane windows have 25% minor insulation ability than double-pane windows. One of the solutions is to upgrade your old windows and get modern and high-quality products instead.
You can find a service that can add another layer of glass from the outside of the existing pane. However, this modification will change the look of the facade, and the costs may be higher than replacing the old window with the new one.
You can also decide to apply Low-E coating on your double-pane windows. That way, you will boost your savings even more. With the addition of a quality window frames and coating on window glass, you can raise energy efficiency by 30% to 50%.
Double-Pane Noise Reduction
If you live in a loud environment, you probably want to spend some quiet moments in your home. Even though double-pane windows are not soundproof, they can minimize outside noise to some extent.
Insulated gas between panes forces the sound to pass a long way and, consequently, loses some strength. Plus, when it comes to noise reduction, the thickness of the glass makes double-pane windows superior to single-pane models.
Reparation and Replacement of Double-Pane Windows
As you have already known, nothing lasts forever, so that goes for windows. If you notice a draft or water leaking between windows and walls, it is probably time to renew your windows. One of the primary reasons to consider installing new double-pane windows instead of the old ones is the broken or damaged seal.
The damaged seal allows insulated gas to leak from your double-pane windows, which will result in losing optimal energy efficiency. In such a case, the outside air replaces gas between the panes, and eventually, you may spot mold growing inside the window. Plus, windows can become milky or foggy.
Other visible signs that your windows are no longer functional are condensation between glass panes and cracks on window frames.
In most cases, it is possible to repair the existing window. Professionals can replace a broken seal and inject a new dose of gas between the panes. Moreover, some services provide the so-called defogging process, which takes the moisture out from the inter-layer space.
However, the repair process is not a cheap investment. Nowadays, you can buy a window insulation kit that will help you repair your windows on your own. However, when windows have several issues, or they are damaged severely, investing in new, more quality ones is probably a better solution.
Double-Pane Windows Costs
Single-pane windows always cost less than double-pane models. The primary reason is an extra layer of glass. However, if you consider their overall value, double-pane windows offer more.
The problem is that you can’t replace one single-pane window with a double-pane window one by one. To improve the energy efficiency of your home, you need to install all of the windows at once. Unfortunately, that kind of investment will impact your budget negatively.
Moreover, you need to count on labor costs, as well. You can always repair old windows or install new ones by yourself, but it will cost you more if you don’t do the job properly. Professionals will finish repair or installation correctly, and provide a warranty, often for a lifetime.
Keep in mind that several different factors define the cost of the double-pane windows, including:
- Type and thickness of the glass
- Window frame material
- Additional glass treatments, such as window tinting or Low-E coating
Double-pane windows are not cheap, but they are a long-lasting solution. However, they will quickly return the money you initially invest by cutting your utility costs by up to 50%. Therefore, these windows are worth the costs.
They reduce the heat transfer and the outside noise and keep the optimal inside temperature since the insulated gas secures high energy efficiency. Choose a model that fits the architectural style of your house and enjoy all the advantages these windows offer.