Let’s kick off this head-to-head debate by stating that single-pane windows are essentially a thing of the past. Single-pane windows were once the standard in residential buildings and now are only found in older homes. They don’t offer any insulation and are not energy-efficient.
In fact, if you are about to renovate or update your home, most building codes require that single-pane windows be replaced with either double-pane or triple-pane windows. Now that we have cleared that up, let’s examine the pros and cons of both, and which choice is the best investment for your home, budget, and lifestyle.
Double-Pane & Triple-Pane Windows
Multi-pane windows are windows that are constructed with 2-3 layers of glass separated by gaps that are filled with either compressed air or gas. Because of the extra layers of glass and airtight seal, multi-pane windows greatly reduce heat transference and provide superior insulation.
Windows come with an “R” rating, or R-value, much like insulation does. The R-value measures the thermal resistance of a window. Double and triple-pane windows have a higher R-value than their single-pane predecessors. The higher the R-value, the less heat is transferred.
Because multi-pane windows have these extra barriers of insulation, your home stays warmer in the winter, thus using less energy to heat the interior. In the summer, multi-pane windows keep the hot air out and the cool air in, again greatly reducing cooling costs.
Contractors and builders have been installing double-pane and triple-pane windows for decades to better insulate new homes and bring older homes up to code. With energy costs continuing to rise, it is even more of a reason why replacing your old windows with double-pane or triple-pane windows is an investment that pays for itself over time.
What Are Double Pane Windows?
Also known as dual pane windows, double-pane windows come with two panes of glass that are separated by a low conductivity spacer. Inert gas, often argon or krypton, fills the space between the panes. This pocket of inert gas traps frigid temperatures in the winter, or the blazing heat of the summer in between the two window panes and provides a barrier of insulation. With double-pane windows installed in your home, you don’t have to worry about overburdening your HVAC unit during extreme climate fluctuations.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Double Pane Windows?
- Cost-effective – Double pane windows not only save you money on your utility bill, but since they are required in new construction homes, you won’t have a hard time finding a good price if you shop around.
- Readily available – Double-pane windows are the new norm. You’d be hard-pressed to find a window installer that doesn’t have a wide selection of dual pane windows.
- Cancel most outside noise – Because of the dual-pane glass design, these windows keep the noise out and the laughter in.
- Lots of options – Double-pane windows come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, color schemes, and designs. Ask your window installer about custom double-pane windows if you are looking for a particular effect.
- A better choice than single-pane windows – Compared to single-pane windows, double-pane windows save as much 24% more energy in colder climates and 18% during the summer months.
- Expensive to replace – One drawback of double-pane windows are that the panes themselves are expensive to replace. If you find your window was cracked during a hailstorm or other incident, it takes a little more effort to fix than simply replacing a single-pane of glass.
- Less insulation compared to triple-pane windows – Obviously, double pane windows lack that extra layer of glass and added pocket of inert gas to cancel out noise and offer more insulation.
What Are Triple-Pane Windows?
Triple pane windows are the most state-of-the-art window on the market today. As the name suggests, these multi-pane windows are comprised of three panes of glass and not just the two like the double-pane windows. Triple pane windows have two conductivity spacers and two airtight pockets of gas to fill the space in between each pane of glass, offering superior insulation and noise cancellation.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Triple Pane Windows?
- Greater energy efficiency – Triple pane windows provide optimum energy efficiency due to their innovative design. Triple pane windows are especially useful in colder climate homes because they provide more insulation and will help reduce heating costs.
- Low-E glass coating to boost energy efficiency – Consider installing triple-pane windows that have Low-E glass coating on the panes to increase energy efficiency even more.
- Prevent drafts in winter – Drafts are greatly reduced due to the triple-layer and seal design.
- Greater resistance to condensation – Because of the triple pane design, these windows reduce the amount of humidity and excess moisture in the air they aren’t prone to sweating.
- Noise cancellation – Because of the extra pane of glass and added pocket of inert gas, these windows offer the best noise cancelation of any other window on the market.
- Adds value to your home – Triple pane windows are a wise investment for any home. Because they are the best of the best, if you ever go to sell your home in the future, you can list this as a selling point and get more for your property.
- More expensive than double pane windows – There isn’t any way to get around it. Triple pane windows are more expensive than double pane windows. After all, it’s an extra layer of glass.
- Heavier than double pane windows – Again, because of the additional pane of glass, triple pane windows are much heavier. That should be taken into consideration before installing them in certain parts of the home that can’t support them.
- Energy savings may not be enough to justify the cost – Sticker shock is a real thing when it comes to these luxury windows. It may take 10-15 years to pay them off in full.
Choosing Between Triple Pane Windows vs. Double Pane Windows
There is no right answer to this question. Choosing between triple pane and double pane windows is a matter of your family’s needs, budget, and what kind of climate you live in. If you live in a warmer climate, you may not have the need to install triple-pane windows.
However, if you live in Massachusetts, triple pane windows can save you a lot of money on heating costs during the winter months. If you plan on being in your home for another 15-25 years, then installing triple pane windows may be a wise investment. Enjoy year-round climate control in a quiet home for years to come with triple-pane windows.
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