One of the most energy efficient ways to save money on heating and cooling throughout your house is to upgrade your old windows with newer double or even triple glazed windows. If you are planning to build a new home ensure that your builder knows you want glazed windows.
A regular window is normally a single pane of glass encased in a wooden or fiberglass framing with very little else added to it. Single pane windows only offer the most basic of elemental protection from the outside environment. Since a single pane window has no real insulation it allows cold and heat to pass through and into your house. This makes your furnace and air conditioning unit work overtime trying to heat or cool the house to maintain the proper temperatures.
The Double Pane Windows
A double glazed window consists of two panes of glass that has a space in the middle separating them. The middle spacing between the two panes which separates the glass is commonly filled with Argon gas which helps with thermal regulating. A double paned window with fiberglass framing can reduce heat loss of up to 50% and drastically help cut your heating bill during colder months. On top of that, the internal pane basically acts as an insulator as well since it has no direct connection to the external window pane.
The Triple Pane Windows
Essentially designed similar to double glazed windows the triple pane window operates in the same manner with a few caveats. A triple glazed window has 3 window panes (one exterior, on in the middle, one internal) with 2 spacers separating them. Because of the added glass, these types of windows are more costly and weigh more than their double pane counterparts.
Triple glazed windows offer a higher energy saving efficiency up to 30-40% more over double glazed windows due to their design and ability to drastically decrease heat loss as well as keep internal temperatures cool during warmer months. But you will find them to be more expensive than regular pane windows and the triple glazed windows can cost as much as 40% more than double glazed windows.
A major downside to double and triple glazed windows is they are reliant on air tight seals where the gas is injected to create the invisible barrier. If that gas leaks out and allows regular air in the effectiveness of the window is drastically reduced. On top of that, air contains moisture and once that gets heated up the window can fog up with no real way of being able to wipe it off.
The other major factor to consider is unlike a standard window if a double or triple window pane is broken you have to replace the whole window unit. Not just the pane.
A large consideration in making the upgrade to double or triple glazed windows is going to be cost now versus cost-of-savings over time.
Are double / triple glazed windows worth it?
Effectively, yes they are. Double or triple glazed windows will indeed save you money and have the potential to cut your electric bill by a good amount. The less your air conditioner or furnace has to work to maintain room temperatures the better for your wallet and the better for the environment.