There are plenty of choices on the replacement window market, which makes it tough for the average homeowner to decide which windows are right for their home. Being confronted with a choice between single, double and triple pane windows can be difficult for those who don't understand the benefits and drawbacks among the three. Fortunately, the following guide can help you decide between these three window types.
Single Pane Windows
Just as it says on the tin, single pane windows consist of just a single sheet of glass within a window frame. Commonly seen on older homes, single pane windows have largely fallen out of favor with homeowners. Today, most single pane windows in use are relatively small and largely used for historic or decorative purposes.
The only upside to single pane glass its low initial cost compared to double and triple pane glass, making it a viable choice for homeowners on a strict budget. However, there are plenty of downsides to single pane windows:
- Single pane windows have little to no insulating properties against heat or cold, resulting in increased heat loss during the winter and solar heat gain during the summer.
- These windows also lack the sound-deadening properties of double and triple pane windows.
- Single pane windows aren't as energy-efficient as double or triple pane windows, resulting in higher energy costs throughout the year.
Double Pane Windows
Unlike single pane windows, double pane windows feature two sheets of glass inside of a window frame. Both panes of glass are separated from one another with a spacer, leaving a gap between the two panes. The resulting gap is usually filled with an inert gas, such as argon or krypton, to provide an insulating barrier against heat loss and solar heat gain. It also provides minor insulation against outside noise.
There are plenty of upsides associated with double pane windows. For starters, they're far more energy-efficient than single pane windows, making them an excellent candidate in home renovations involving total window replacement. The gas barrier significantly slows down heat transfer between the indoors and outdoors, resulting in lowered energy consumption for HVAC equipment. Double pane windows are also sturdier than their single pane counterparts.
Double pane windows have higher initial purchase and installation costs when compared to single pane windows. These windows may also leak their gas over time, usually at a rate of one percent per year according to InterNACHI. However, double pane windows and other gas-filled window types can remain effective as long as the leakage remains gradual. Fortunately, argon and krypton gas pose no harm to you or others in your home.
Triple Pane Windows
Instead of using two sheets of glass, triple pane windows feature three sheets, with each sheet separated by spacers. Like double pane windows, the resulting gaps in triple pane windows are also filled with an inert gas for added insulation against heat transfer. Experts note that triple pane windows often have a 30-percent higher U-factor than comparable double pane glass. Having three panes instead of two also offers a minor bump in insulation against outdoor sounds.
However, triple pane windows are the most expensive of the three window types. According to Angie's List, triple pane windows may cost as much as 25 to 30 percent more than their double-paned counterparts. This can be an issue if you're planning on replacing every window in your home. Triple pane windows often require heavier frames for support, making their overall weight somewhat heavier than double pane windows, in many cases. On the other hand, the heavier construction of the window frame usually makes it more durable than their single or double pane counterparts.