What Are Double Pane Windows? Differences, Costs, & Benefits

Many of our customers overlook a simple measure to effectively warm their homes and reduce their electricity bills: double pane windows. Installing double-pane windows can provide many benefits to your home. 

Double pane, or dual pane windows, are windows with two panes of glass glazed to the movable part of the window (sash) and placed in the window’s frame. The glaze insulates the window, and in turn, your home. 

People with older homes should strongly consider the upgrade to double pane windows. Why are double pane windows better? Allow me to explain. 

What Do Double Paned Windows Do?

Double pane windows have a small space between the two glass panes that creates an air pocket. This air pocket keeps the outside elements from affecting the temperature inside of your home. This air space also contains a desiccant that prevents condensation from forming. 

The more energy-efficient windows have argon gas fill between the panes for extra insulation. Argon is a clear, slow-moving, odorless gas that significantly greatens thermal efficiency. 

The large difference between single and double pane glass is the structure. Single pane glass has one pane while double has, you guessed right, two panes! A single pane window costs less, sure, but your heating and A/C bills are going to be steep. You are looking at saving roughly 20% to 30% with double pane windows. Over time, the savings are significant. 

Windows are often the main source of temperature loss for a home. If you have old single-pane or poorly installed windows, you are racking up the electrical bill with little to show for it. If you are not thinking of the long-term picture here, you are going to pay for it quite literally. Over time, double pane windows will pay for themselves, with returns of around 80%

An extra pane of glass also means extra sound reduction from outside noise resulting in a quieter home. Cut down on noise pollution from car engines, loud children, and those noisy squirrels and birds. 

Do double pane windows need storm windows? Luckily for us, they do not. Double pane windows remove the nuisance of putting up and taking down storm windows, an arduous task come spring and winter. The need for extra protection from summer and winter temperatures is therefore removed. Beyond this, think of all the time saved from having to do this year in and year out!

Double pane windows are available in many beautiful styles such as single hung windows, horizontal sliders, and fixed picture windows. Installing dual pane windows in your home will be sure to provide you with a quieter, happier environment for you to enjoy. 

Going Green

When I talk about going green, I am not talking about solar panels and wind turbines here. The average American household spends $1,500-2500 on energy bills and 45% of that cost is for heating and cooling. The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) labels are an effective measure of how well a product can retain heat inside of a room, how much air will enter the room through a product, and other important qualities. 

TNT Home Improvements prides itself on providing quality Amerimax window installations in the Loveland, CO area. These windows have excellent NFRC ratings and meet or exceed Energy Star requirements in all climate zones. Beyond that, they are beautiful to look at.

Your Individual Carbon Footprint

Home energy use comprises a huge chunk of your carbon footprint, with estimates that this eats up around 27 percent. It is estimated that replacing single-pane windows with double-pane windows will save on average up to $465 per year.  

Window Films

Window films can be applied to a window after installation. Solar control window film is designed to reflect UV rays. If you want non-reflective and have the cash, ceramic film is an option and is suitable for all climates. Dual reflectivity film allows you to clearly look out your window at night instead of staring at your own reflection as you would see with standard reflective solar control films.

60% Of All U.S. Homes Have Double Or Triple Pane Windows

It is estimated that over 118 million American homes have double or triple-pane windows. This makes up 60 percent of all U.S. homes. However, that means 40% of homes are using old, inefficient technology. Single pane windows can be appealing with the low price tag upfront, but the homeowner will spend much more on utilities with this approach in the long run. 

Improving Double Pane Window Efficiency

Windows are a significant point of energy loss in a home. Here are a few tips to help improve window efficiency:

  1. Use Thermal Curtains: Thick thermal curtains provide great insulation.
  2. Add Window Insulating Film: Thin, clear plastic film will slow thermal loss.
  3. Weatherproofing: Older windows may be opening around the framing. Exterior-grade silicone caulk will take care of this. 
  4. Replace Foggy Windows: Foggy windows between the two panes have faulty seals and gas has leaked. Either the window sash or the entire window will need replacement. 

Why Are Double Pane Windows Better? 

Double pane windows save money and can reduce energy usage by up to 24% during the winter and 18% during the summer compared to single-pane models. With some top-of-the-line models, you can expect up to 50% energy savings. Double-paned windows are good for the environment, and they significantly reduce outdoor noise pollution, especially in busy, urban areas. 

Cons Of Double Pane Windows

There are not really any inherent cons to double pane windows. However, poor window quality and installation can certainly impact your expected energy savings. Ultimately, you get what you pay for! Failed seals or windows that fail can lead to condensation between the panes and other issues. Another downside is that you do not really get the sought-after benefits unless you replace all your old windows. Replacing one window will not change a whole lot. You still have all those other old, inefficient windows, well, being inefficient. 

Poor Installation or A Cheap Product Will Cost You 

Have double pane windows that, despite cleaning inside and outside, remain cloudy despite your efforts? There is a good possibility that you may have condensation. This forms inside double pane windows when the desiccant in the air space between panes becomes saturated. Double pane windows have a thick sealant around the edges. Gradually, warm air (holding more moisture) seeps into the air space and releases moisture as it cools. The desiccant absorbs it until it eventually does not work. At this point, the glass units need to be replaced. 

Cloudiness is a visual issue, not having a huge impact on energy efficiency, but if budget allows for it, consider the switch to double pane. 

The Economical, Environmental-Friendly Choice

Opting for double pane windows, while more expensive upfront, will save you a lot on your annual energy bill and is an environmental-friendly choice. If you do not have quality products that have been installed by established professionals, you are taking a big risk (think leaky sealants, cloudy windows, and noise pollution). Windows are often the main source of energy loss for a home and making the decision to purchase double-pane windows can make a huge difference. 

If you are in the Loveland, CO area, be sure to contact TNT Home Improvements with any window-installation-related inquiries and we will be sure to get back to you in a timely manner. We are Loveland’s premier deck builder, patio cover installer, window replacing, and siding contractor professionals!