When you are thinking about buying replacement windows for your home, there’s a lot to consider. Do you need Low-E glass? Should you purchase gas-filled windows? While these are both important questions, one of the first decisions you need to make is how many panes you should have.
Single pane windows have long been proven inefficient and ineffective, and they are no longer commonly used in modern construction. Double pane and triple pane windows are both commonly used, albeit for different purposes.
In order to understand the difference between them, it’s necessary to first understand how a window prevents heat transfer in your home.
Obviously the reason we use glass to build with it because it allows light through, giving us a view of what is outside. Unfortunately it also lets through things we cannot see, like heat.
Not only does it let heat pass through, it also absorbs some, becoming warm to the touch and radiating heat. When only a single pane of glass is used, this heat easily moves from inside to outside or vice versa.
In double-paned windows, the pocket of air in between the two sheets of glass acts as insulation, slowing the waves that allow the transfer of heat between indoors and out. Required as the minimum for all residential buildings in Canada, double panes offer a significant cost benefit over triple pane while reducing heat loss by up to 50%.
Triple pane windows are a more exclusive step up in terms of energy efficiency. With three panes of glass and two pockets of air, they offer a significant reduction in heat transfer even over double paned windows. However, they are often much heavier, which can cause undue wear and tear on the window hardware, causing the seals that separate the panes of glass to be much more likely to fail, creating condensation between the panes.
A great option is to order double glazed windows with two coats of Low-E on them. Windows made this way provide all of the benefits of triple glazed units, without any of the disadvantages!
In both cases, opting for gas-filled models with Low-E coatings will greatly improve their effectiveness and help you create a comfortable home.
If you’re looking for privacy or to dress up your windows with a bit of unique style, there are many glass options that can be used in double or triple-paned windows to create unique, personalized effects. With a variety of textures and styles and colors regardless of how many panes you choose, you don’t have to trade aesthetics for function again!