What’s the Big Deal with Dual Pane Windows?

A diagram showing the different parts of a window, specifically dual pane windows.

Making your home energy efficient.  It’s the big thing today. Doing so saves money on energy bills and helps keep your home more comfortable all year around.

One of the popular upgrades people make is exterior wall insulation.  It’s a great move – if you also consider upgrading those holes-in-the-wall known as windows.

Glass provides the bare minimum of protection from the elements.  Sure, it keeps out the wind and rain, but that’s about it. Hot and cold air molecules? They flow nearly unhindered through the glass.

The typical pane of glass is 1/8” thick.  That’s the same thickness used in picture framing.  That means there’s just 1/8” of clear barrier keeping outside cold air from seeping inside, or the reverse – expensive, air-conditioned and cooled air flowing outside to hotter air.  Ever pressed your hand against a window in winter? It’s cold. That’s an indication of cold air seeping in. That’s why you wear a sweater when having that morning cup of Joe sitting in the window seat.  Even if you don’t feel a draft, cold air is seeping into your warm home.

Adding a second pane of glass will provide a little bit more blockage to the flow of air, but there will still be an undesired loss of heat or coolness.

A diagram demonstrating the features of dual pane windows.

So, how do you increase the insulation value of windows? By ensuring the space between the dual panes of glass is filled with Argon.  Argon is a clear gas that is denser than air. That means its molecules are packed together tighter than air molecules regardless of temperature.  This creates an effective barrier against the cold-to-hot flow of air molecules. The result? Heated inside air is not infiltrated by cold outside air in the winter and cooled, air-conditioned inside air doesn’t flow out to the warmer outside air in summer.  Ultimately, this means your HVAC system doesn’t have to work as hard to maintain your interior comfort zone, thus saving you money on your energy bill.

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The benefits of dual pane, argon-filled window installation doesn’t stop there.  We all love the light that windows allow inside.  But direct sunlight brings with it harmful UV rays.  Your pets may love basking in their warmth, but that warmth has the power to fade, dry-out and crack all the furnishings and floor coverings it touches.

New, dual-pane windows are engineered to help prevent such damage. The inside surface of the exterior pane is coated with UV protective coating.  It’s possible to block up to 95% of UV rays. It’s like putting sun block on your windows.

If you want to make your home as energy efficient and comfortable as possible, you’ve got to put new, engineered, dual-pane replacement windows on your list of home improvement projects. And here’s a tip to owners of new homes – the contractor may have installed dual-pane windows, but they may not be argon-filled and, therefore, aren’t providing the highest energy efficiency value possible.  

Just because your home is new, doesn’t mean it’s as energy efficient as it can be. For more information on the comfort and value story of dual-pane windows, talk with you local window installation specialist.

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