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A complete double-pane windows buying guide describing all aspects of this window type for residential homes

Did you know that 18% of the accumulated heat within a house is lost through poorly-sealed or old windows with a single pane? This factor is especially significant to consider if you live in a cold climate as you will hardly keep your premises warmed on freezing days, losing heating money in vain. A key factor to consider when selecting replacement windows is the type of glass used. Single-pane windows feature only one layer of glass, which is insufficient to ensure proper insulation. As a result, heat is lost through the glass, making the outdoor temperature affect the indoor one. If you're now in the market for new replacement windows for your home, consider upgrading to double-paned windows. These units feature two panes of glass with a separation in between filled with an insulating gas for better performance. Your investment in double-pane windows will be paid off in lower utility costs. Besides, you will forget about drafts and enjoy a stable, comfortable temperature inside the home all year round.

A complete double-pane windows buying guide describing all aspects of this window type for residential homes

Dive into this article to find the difference between double- and single-paned units, their energy-saving features, costs, advantages, and downsides. You will learn what to look for when selecting double-glazed windows and how much they can save you in the long run. 

What are double-pane windows?

As their name suggests, windows of this type come with double glazing separated by a space filled with air or gas that slows the heat and cold transfer. The first double-glazed units came with ordinary air sandwiched in between panes. However, the air is light enough and cannot ensure the ultimate insulation levels. That is why, with the advance in technologies, the air was firstly substituted with vacuum and then with gas. Since the beginning of the 21st century, all windows of this type have been manufactured with three noble gasses - argon, krypton, and xenon. 

Let us find the difference between these gasses to help you be more informed about the double-pane window type to buy for your home. 

  • Argon gas. Most double-pane units you can find in the mass market are filled with argon. It's an obvious choice for many homeowners as it offers an excellent quality-price ratio. The thermal conductivity of argon is a third lower than air, meaning heated air won't vanish through panes in winter. When equipped with low-E glass, windows with argon inside also reduce heat gain on hot days, optimizing your spending on utilities. Nevertheless, it is worth mentioning that some extreme climates might call for a noble gas with better performance capabilities. 
  • Krypton gas. This gas has better performance and insulation properties than argon. Nevertheless, double-pane windows with krypton inside stay less sought-after than their counterparts filled with argon due to a higher price. Only thin window glazing can be filled with krypton as this heavy gas can create convection currents if the gap between panes is bigger than 20 mm. That means you enjoy the best of both worlds - a classic window style, preserving the aesthetic of the building, and reliable insulation, preventing air leakage.
  • Xenon gas. Using xenon as an insulation gas for windows is a relatively recent invention that remains at the forefront of glazing technology. Xenon gas is used in premises made 70% from glass, ensuring comfortable staying inside no matter the season. It's not exaggerating to say that double-glazing windows with xenon inside insulate wonderfully, giving zero chance for heat or cold outside to ruin your comfort. The only drawback of windows filled with xenon is their price. 

What makes double-paned windows so energy-efficient?

1) Two paralleled panes of glass create a pocket of airspace, which enhances the insulation properties of a window and eliminates the possibility of condensation.

2) Outer glass with a low-E coating blocks infrared light from penetrating the glass. It helps to use heating and cooling energy smartly, avoiding extra spending. 

3) Double-pane windows framed by wood or aluminum help preserve accumulated hot or cool air, preventing leakage. 

By upgrading to double-paned windows, you will significantly improve the insulation properties of your home, raising its energy effectiveness and resale value. Besides, you will save up to $25 on electricity monthly, resulting in significant annual savings. 

What is the difference between single-pane vs. double-pane windows?

The main difference between these two types of windows lies in the number of glass panes they have. Single-glazed ones feature only one pane of thick glass that requires additional insulation to perform well in harsh weather conditions. Window contractors recommend mounting storm windows over single-hung ones for better protection from the elements. Single-pane units cannot serve as well as double-pane ones in terms of insulation and noise absorption as they feature only one pane that stands between the interior and exterior. 

Double-pane windows, in their turn, come with two panes of glass and inert gas between them, ensuring reliable protection of your home from the impact of outside weather. The additional glazing layer and the insulating gap make these units stand out in the energy-efficient window market. 

What are the downsides and benefits of double-paned windows?

Here are the advantages of double-glazed windows: 

  • Stable temperature inside

Double-pane units are installed to enhance comfort inside the home. They regulate the thermal exchange, ensuring neither cold nor hot air from the outside can penetrate the inside. Consider installing double-glazed units to enjoy a stable inside temperature out of season.  

  • High energy efficiency

Windows with double and triple glazing have 44% to 72% better insulation potential than single-pane ones. They can reduce energy usage by up to 20%, helping you save on utility costs. 

  • Noise absorption

Double-pane windows are sealed better than single-pane ones, reducing outside noises to a minimum. Thus you can enjoy the peace and quiet even if you live close to a busy highway. 

  • Prevention of condensation occurrence 

When your windows feature two panes, there are fewer chances moisture can get trapped between them, resulting in a condensation build-up. This is common to middle-aged single-pane windows but is never the case for double-glazed ones with gas inside. 

  • Environmental friendliness

Because these windows ensure better insulation, they require you to use less electricity for heating and cooling your living space. Once you start using less energy, you will reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to saving our planet.

Here are the downsides of double-glazed windows:

  • Expensiveness

Depending on the type of insulating gas filled between panes, these windows can cost as high as $1.500 per unit. This is much higher than the cost of single-pane units, even those with timber frames and low-emissive glass. 

  • Difficult to repair 

Dual-pane windows that are clouding or streaming are almost impossible to repair as, in most cases, it points to the breached air pocket. Your only way out is to replace them with new ones.

How much do double-pane windows cost?

The national average cost of a standard-sized double-hung replacement unit ranges from $470 to $1.500 as of 2022. The installation services will cost you another $220 - $480 per window project or $90 per hour. These rates are country average and can vary depending on the window size, type, brand, and frame material. Additional energy-efficient features like Low-E glass or Xenon gas filling will increase the final double-pane windows price. Besides, you should remember that window professionals may charge you higher if they need to work at altitude or in unfavorable conditions.

Here is how the costs of double-pane windows range by their size.

 Window size                                                              Cost                                                           
Small double-pane windows $220 - $430
Medium-sized double-pane windows $300 - $800
Large windows $750 - $2.500

Here is how double-paned window prices vary depending on their material. 

  Frame material                                                   Cost                                                              
Aluminum $220 - $750
Vinyl $340 - $1.200
Wood $400 - $1.650

Despite the relatively high initial investment, double-pane windows are worth the cost. They enhance your home's energy-saving properties and reduce the load on heating and cooling systems. At the end of the day, you get a more comfortable environment inside your premise and cut your electricity costs.

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