Triple Pane Windows -What To Know


What is a Triple Pane Window?

Windows generally come in either single pane, double pane or triple pane. A triple pane window is simply a window that has an exterior, middle and interior pane, with a layer of gas (usually argon or krypton, though sometimes air) between the middle pane and the other two panes. As such triple pane windows are very energy efficient, moreso than the other window types. That is, they greatly reduce loss of heat from inside, and the transmission from outside to inside. In other words, when the time is hot, the heat from outside will not easily seep into your home or building through these windows. Similarly, when it is cold, the heat inside your home will not easily leak out through these windows.

Why not go with Triple Pane rather than Double Pane?

Considering the insulation that they provide, as just explained, it would seem a good choice to go with triple pane windows over the other kinds. For providing better insulation translates to reduced energy consumption that you would undergo to either maintain the warm or cool temperature inside your house. So then, why would anyone choose not to go with triple pane windows?

Well although there are cost savings involved, in terms of using less power for heating or cooling, triple pain windows can be a lot more expensive. So much so that the amount you will save in energy costs, would not compensate for the extra costs you would pay upfront, over the lifespan of the windows. Furthermore, it is likely that new technology will produce even better kinds of windows at cheaper costs, so it might make sense to simply go with double pane windows until such a time comes.

Another drawback with triple pane windows is that they can be very heavy. This has implications for the structure in which they are going. If the structure is not built to take this weight, damage may be caused to both the building and the windows themselves in due course. Of course, if you had your structure built well enough then this is not an issue.  However, the heaviness of these windows could mean added expense if you are getting them shipped to you. Also, this reduces the options available for framing. And of course, it could pose a tad more challenging to install than regular double panes.

Why go with Triple Pane Windows?

So given the fact that the expense of these windows outweigh the cost savings in energy, and the potential problems associated with the extra weight, why would anyone bother to go with triple pane windows?

You can consider triple pane windows a luxury. They might not be economical, but they do provide more comfort and warmth inside. If you were to stand near such windows inside a home when it is freezing outside, and compare this to double pane windows, you would have no doubt about the difference.

Another thing going for these luxurious windows, is that they do not have nearly as much condensation on the inside. So if you don’t like having to deal with that on your windows, then this advantage to the triple panes might make them worth it.

It should also be mentioned that while for most people, the savings in energy costs might not be worth it, it does to some extent depend on where you live and how cold (or hot) it might get. So for those living further to the north where it gets really cold, it might be better to go with the triple.

Some people might also add that external noise is much better filtered with the triple panes than dual panes. Generally speaking this is probably true, due to the differences in glass thickness and space between panes. However, you should realise that if the thickness of the glasses and the overall space in between the interior and the exterior are the same for both the triple and double, then they are about equal when it comes to sound insulation.

One thing you should know, if you do decide to go with triple pane windows that contain either argon or krypton or a mixture, is that the gas does leak over time, even without any damage to the window. A fair estimate is approximately 1% per year. So eventually air will replace the gas, and this will reduce the energy efficiency of the windows.

What to look at when Comparing Windows, whether Triple Pane with other Triple Pane, or Triple Pane vs. Double Pane

Windows are given U and R ratings. U values indicate how well heat is conducted. R values tell how well heat is resisted. This means the lower the U value the better. Conversely, the higher the R value, the better it is. The R values are what is used mostly, and they normally range anywhere from 0.9 to 3.0.

The R-value of a window is dependent on the number of layers of glass used, the quality of the installation with respect to air leaks, the glazing material type, whether plastic, glass or other, the size of the air space in between the glass layers, and finally how well the frame itself behaves as a resistor or conductor.

So if you are comparing windows, you need to pay attention to the U or R values. To ensure you’re comparing apples with apples, you need to verify that these values are guided by the standards established by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). You should also check to see that these values are for comparable styles, and the same size windows. Another factor that will determine that your comparison is valid, is just what is the R or U value measured for. Is it just the middle of the glass, or is it for the whole window including the frame?

In conclusion, we have seen advantages and disadvantages to triple pane windows, and we have provided guidance for how to evaluate your options in windows. It is hoped that this information has been helpful.

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