Window panes are glassy parts of the window that fills the window frames. They provide your home with light, prevent unwanted airflow, and maintain the insulation. A window itself has many elements, but these ones are essential for its function. So, let’s take a closer look at window panes, without which we can’t even imagine contemporary windows.
Common Types of Glass
Although historical data records production of the first glass in ancient Rome, glass wasn’t in use until the industrial production started. Paper and flattened animal horn protected the windows for a long time, until the 17th century.
As the glass industry has evolved, more and more advanced varieties of glass occur on the market. They may vary depending on the amount of natural light and solar heat they let in, as well as their thermal conductivity.
Nowadays, the most common types of glass are:
Float glass – It is the colorless and fragile panel made of molten glass. It is the base to make other types of advanced window panes.
Tempered glass – It is a float glass that goes through two processes – annealing and tempering. Annealing means that the float glass will cool down slowly to become stronger.
On the other hand, tempering means that the glass will additionally go through the process of extreme heating and then cooling down fast. After that process, the glass will become even stronger.
It is not easy to break, cut, and drill tempered glass, and this makes it suitable for large windows. If it does break for some reason, it will create small pieces of glass that won’t jeopardize you and the members of your family.
Laminated glass – It consists of two layers of glass with PVB (polyvinyl butyral) in between. That gives additional strength to the glass, and if it breaks, it won’t shatter. That is the reason why the automotive industry makes windshields out of it.
Obscured glass – It is a type of window that has a specific texture allowing the light to go in. However, the glass seems frosted or blurred, so no one outside can see the inside of your house. You should install these windows if you want to keep the privacy.
Insulated glass – It is often used to create double-paned and triple-paned windows. After putting two or three panes of glass together, you will get a window with better insulation. The space between them usually contains argon, the gas that improves the thermal conductivity of the window.
Low E-glass (low emissivity glass) – It prevents infra-red and ultraviolet rays from entering your home. During summer, it will block the heat from the outside. Once the winter comes, this glass will stop the heat from leaving the house. In this way, it decreases heating and cooling expenses.
Window Pane Features – How to Choose a Window?
1. Single pane
The climate of the area where you live will determine what kind of window you should install in your home. If you live in an area with a mild climate and your house doesn’t require a great deal of heat, single window panes can still be efficient for you.
Also, if your house doesn’t require central heating, you can always install a window air conditioner or a window fan. Single-pane windows are affordable and easy to maintain. In case that your single-window pane breaks, it won’t be complicated to replace it.
2. Double pane
On the other hand, double window panes will cost more, but will also help you with temperature and sound insulation. The most important thing about double window panes is to keep the insulating gas, usually argon, between the panes. That gas will help the window to retain the desired temperature of your home no matter how cold it is outside.
In case you get higher electric bills, spot a condensation between two window panes, or feel a breeze of cold air when approaching the window, you should check the window. In some cases, it can lose the ability to keep the proper insulation.
Until you call the professional to fix or replace the window, the quickest way to solve the problem is to use the window insulation kit. It contains window insulation film and a mountain tape, and it is not complicated to apply it.
Just put the tape around the window frame, and remove the paper liner. Then stick the film that you have previously cut accordingly to the tape. Then, you will need a hairdryer to heat the film until all the wrinkles disappear. That’s it! Your insulation is excellent again.
3. Triple pane
The advanced version of double-paned windows is a contemporary window with three panes. The question is, how big is the difference between these two models and is it worth installing such an expensive window.
If you live in an area where winter temperatures are extremely low, you might want to consider triple-pane windows. They will improve energy efficiency concerning the existing one. Also, you will see the difference in your heating bills in the long run.
They are also better sound insulators, so in a very urban area with a lot of noise, you should consider installing them. However, if the price is your primary factor in making a decision, they are not an option for you. These windows are a bit luxurious, and that is a reason why they haven’t become the standard yet.
R And U Value of the Window Panes
When we talk about the energy efficiency of the windows, it applies to the insulating properties of the glass. Two values will help you to determine the energy efficiency of the windows you want to buy.
- R-value – It shows how much the glass is resistant to the heat flow. That determines how good an insulator it is. If the R-value is high, it means that the insulating properties of the glass are excellent, which will positively affect the energy efficiency in your home.
- U-value – It tells you about the thermal performance of the windows and determines the amount of heat that the particular window will lose or keep. That means the lower U-value of the window panes is a better option for you.
Improve Window Panes Performances
There are several features on your window that you can change just by treating your window panes. By applying a window film on it, you can decrease the amount of heat that comes through the window, reduce glare, keep your privacy, and even decorate your window.
That film controls the amount of heat that goes through your window. As a result, you can save on heating bills and maintain your house temperature much more comfortable. Plus, these films block up to 99% of UV rays, which will protect your interior and furniture from damaging and fading.
- Anti-glare films – They are available on the market these days. They will help you block unwanted sunlight reflection and reduce brightness and UV rays. In this way, you won’t have to use blinds or heavy curtains during the day.
- Privacy protection films – They are very popular both for homes and offices. They are reflective and with a mirror effect, which means that no one can see through them from the outside. Keep in mind that there are no films that can keep your privacy during the night. Reflective films come in different colors, and they are an excellent solution if you want to enhance the look of your windows and make them more attractive.
- Decorative window films – They come in different patterns and colors. So, they are stylish and can keep the privacy of your home at the same time.
How to Apply Window Films
Window films are mainly self-adhesive and easy to apply. With the instructions coming in the package, you can put them by yourself. Still, there are few things to pay attention to during application.
If you can do it outside, the best time of day to apply the film is morning or evening. Avoid doing it in the strong sunlight or if a wind is blowing to avoid damaging the film. Plus, you don’t want the dust stick to the adhesive side of the film.
It is crucial to clean and dry-out the window properly before applying the film. Buy a film installation kit and use it to clean the glass. However, you can do the job by using water and mild liquid soap or shampoo, as well.
Also, make sure that your hands are clean and wet while applying the film to avoid leaving traces of fingers on the film accidentally. Be careful and take care not to leave any bubbles after applying the film to the glass.
When you finish the job, you should wait for several days until the film gets completely dry without touching it. Properly applied window film may last up to 20 years. However, it is not too complicated to remove the film and apply a new one if you want to change it.
Window panes can decrease your heating bills and enhance the quality of your every-day life. Since science and technology keep improving daily, we can expect new and more desirable options in the future for sure.