You’re curled up on the couch in your living room on a cold day, and suddenly feel a draft that makes the hair on your neck stand up. The window isn’t open, but it’s allowing heat to escape and letting the cool air in.
The Department of Energy reports that approximately 25 to 30% of energy loss for the average American household can be attributed to the inefficiency of single-pane windows. By simply replacing them with double-pane windows, you could prevent 50% of that warm or cool air from escaping through the windows. In turn, you could slash your energy bills by up to 20–30% each year.
But that’s just one potential benefit from switching out a single pane of glass for double-pane windows. Let’s take a look at what a double-pane window is, what makes it a superior option, and how your household could benefit from this change.
What Is a Double-Pane Window?
The main difference between single- and double-pane windows is their structure. A single-pane window only has one layer of glass and is not an efficient insulator during extreme seasons. A double-pane window, on the other hand, has two layers of glass with air between the sheets for maximum insulation. Some double-pane window designs may even have argon between the layers. Argon is an invisible gas that optimizes thermal efficiency and reduces heat transfer.
Benefits of Upgrading to Double Panes
Today, over 118 million American homes have double- or even triple-pane windows. This accounts for nearly 60% of all U.S. homes — but this means that 40% of homes still rely on old window technology. While many people opt for single-pane windows for the low initial price point, these types of windows will cause the homeowner to spend much more on utilities in the long term than if double-pane windows were installed.
The Energy Information Administration stated that, in 2012, homes comprised a fifth of primary energy consumption in the U.S. and were responsible for approximately 20% of nationwide CO2 release. If a greater number of American homeowners made a concerted effort to switch to double-pane windows, this energy consumption could be reduced.
No matter what type of heat source you use to warm your home (i.e. a fireplace, a gas furnace, or an electric central heating system), double-pane windows limit the need for heating sources to be used as often. When you don’t use as much heat, you burn fewer fossil fuels and lessen your CO2 greenhouse gas emissions — and therefore, reduce your carbon footprint. Upgrading to double-pane windows is a way to contribute to helping the planet.
Unlike single-pane windows, double-pane windows feature a more substantial locking mechanism and their tight seal prevents intruders from breaking the structure to get into your house. Double-pane windows are also stronger and do not shatter easily when struck. Your home is more secure with double-pane windows.
Whether you have noisy next-door neighbors or you live on a busy street with lots of traffic, excessive noise can take a toll on your sanity. Ambient noise can only do so much to cover up the sound of the incessant honking, loud music, and heavy-duty vehicles passing by. Switching to double-pane windows can help you enjoy a quieter and more peaceful home. The two layers of glass offer insulation from the outside world so that you and your family can relax without the constant ruckus.
Window condensation during the cold months might not appear to be a big deal, but a buildup of moisture is indicative of a bigger problem. It shows how inefficient the windows are at preventing heat transfer, and it can lead to problems with mold over time. With double-pane windows, you can consider your condensation problem solved.
Added Home Value
In spending a little up front to upgrade your windows, you add value to your property. If you decide to move in the future, double-pane windows are a drawcard for potential buyers, and you’ll see a return on your investment once it has sold.
Newer Style Options
Upgrading to energy-efficient windows has a positive effect on your house’s aesthetics. Window technology has come a long way — and so has window design. Double-paned windows come in a variety of styles, including the sliding window, or double-hung window. Double-pane windows are worth the expense when you consider that the windows are known as the “eyes of your house.” Updating windows to a newer style has a great impact on your curb appeal.
Choosing the Right Double-Pane Windows for Your Home
Before choosing double-pane windows for your home, it’s important to know your options. Double-pane windows come in all sorts of styles, materials, and designs. And because each house is different, your window selection may be different, too.
Most window companies have several materials for you to choose from: vinyl, aluminum, wood, clad wood, and fiberglass. All of these materials are available in various styles, including the following:
- Double-hung: Double-hung windows can move both up and down because both window frame sashes are operable.
- Single-hung: Single-hung windows are similar to double-hung. The only difference is that one of the sashes is operable, while the other is fixed.
- Casement: Casement windows have a traditional charm. Many are operated with a crank and swing outward for a clear view.
- Awning windows: Awning windows operate on a hinge, allowing them to open at an angle, which provides both ventilation and rain protection.
- Picture windows: These windows are fixed and cannot open. They are ideal for large spaces, and let in lots of natural light.
Make an Informed Decision. Explore Your Options Today.
Double-pane windows are a cost-effective visual enhancement to your house and a primary way to reduce household energy costs. Explore your options today by speaking to a qualified window professional in your area.