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Do More Panes Mean More Energy Efficient Windows?

If you’re in the market for new windows, you have many important decisions to make. In addition to choosing a frame material and operating style, you must also consider your glazing options—that is, how many panes of glass the window has. Do you want single-pane, double-pane, or triple-pane windows? What’s the difference, and do more panes always mean higher energy efficiency?

Single-Pane Windows

Windows once featured nothing more than a single pane of glass set into a frame. This is good enough to provide a view while keeping the wind out, but unfortunately, single-pane windows are drafty, inefficient, and prone to condensation. Remember, glass is a poor insulator, so single-pane windows allow outdoor conditions to drastically affect the indoor temperature.

Today, you only find single-pane windows in older homes that haven’t upgraded yet. No builder recommends single-pane windows these days.

Double-Pane Windows

When given a choice between single- and double-pane windows, the answer is obvious—you should opt for windows with two panes of glass. Double-pane windows are a huge upgrade from their single-pane counterparts. The improved insulating ability comes from the pocket of air trapped between the two sheets of glass. This slows heat transfer, helping your home stay warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.

Some double-pane windows even feature a gas infill of argon or krypton to increase their efficiency even more. These gases are denser than air, so heat passes through them more slowly, enhancing the window’s insulation.

The specific benefits of double-pane windows over single-pane windows include:

  • Lower energy bills: With less heat transfer through the windows, your heating and cooling bills go down. Depending on the season and how you set your thermostat, your bills could decrease 20 to 30 percent after upgrading to double-pane windows.
  • A more comfortable home: Less heat transfer also means a more comfortable interior, no matter how hot or cold it gets outside.
  • Noise reduction: The pocket of air trapped between the window panes slows sound as well as heat. This makes your home more peaceful and quiet, even if you live near a busy street or construction site.
  • Less condensation: Water dripping down the pane is a big concern because it can damage the sill and even soak into the wall. Double-pane windows are warmer to the touch for less condensation.

Triple-Pane Windows

As you might imagine, triple-pane windows out perform their double-pane counterparts—but not nearly as much as double-panes outshine single-panes. The increased insulation achieved from adding a third pane is barely noticeable except in the most extreme climates, but they cost 25 to 30 percent more than double-pane windows.

Still, installing triple-pane replacements could be a good idea if:

  • You plan to live in your home for at least another 10 to 30 years so you can recoup the investment in energy savings.
  • You want to increase the value of your home as much as possible with your window replacement project.
  • You live in a freezing climate and hate even the slightly draft in the wintertime.
  • Your windows are prone to condensation.

Compare Window Options at the Quality Window & Door Showroom

If you still have questions about window panes and energy efficiency, we invite you to visit one of our local showrooms in Maryland and Northern Virginia. There, you can speak with our experts about the best window replacement options for your home. We’ll make sure you have all the information you need to make an informed decision, including efficiency ratings, prices, payback periods, and more.

Visit us today, or contact Quality Window & Door to request a free window installation estimate.

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