In the past windows were manufactured with one pane of glass. But glass is a highly emissive material, allowing heat to easily transfer through. These early products didn’t offer much protection in the way of insulation or security. So builders and manufacturers made significant improvements.
Over the years they started producing double pane windows. These feature two panes of glass for improved energy efficiency and protection. Today these are the new standard and feature different gas fills and specialized coatings for even better insulation. But they don’t stop there.
Triple pane windows are an exclusive step up from the double pane windows. Instead of two panes of glass and one spacer, these insulated glazing units (IGUs) feature three glass panes and two spacers. Because the airspace between panes needs to be thinner on triple glazed units, most of these windows have krypton gas between the panes. It is more efficient in smaller spaces that the standard argon gas fill. Because of these upgrades, triple glazed units feature several benefits.
Advantages of Triple Pane Windows
There are many reasons customers choose to upgrade to triple pane windows, including:
The u-factor on triple glazed units is about 20 to 30 percent better than that of double glazed units. They also have better solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) ratings, especially when you choose low-e coatings on two surfaces.
If noise pollution is a major concern in your area, this is where triple pane windows start to edge out over the competition. If the rating is available, check the sound transmission coefficient (STC) on triple glazing units. Laminated coatings also help cut down on unwanted outside noise.
More panes of glass mean more work for an intruder trying to break in. This can be a major deterrent because it often takes longer and makes more noise—both of which mean intruders are more likely to draw attention to themselves.
Disadvantages of Triple Pane Windows
While there are several benefits there are also some drawbacks, including:
Because these windows feature extra materials and a more expensive inert gas, they do cost more. The price difference can be significant compared to more standard, double pane windows. It ultimately comes down to the efficiency of your current windows, the features you choose for replacement windows, and the savings you get once the windows are installed.
There is a difference between insulation and energy savings. Yes, these windows are more efficient than double pane windows. But in milder climates, it isn’t a significant enough difference. You may only save about two to three percent on your heating bill. As a result, it takes much longer, anywhere from 10 to 20 years, to recoup the original cost of triple pane windows.
Are Triple Pane Windows Worth the Cost?
That depends on which benefits are of most importance. Certainly these windows perform better and give you slightly higher energy savings. But the more significant savings come from colder, more extreme climates. If your biggest concern is insulation and getting the fastest return on your investment through energy savings, then triple pane windows may not be the right choice. That said, if security and soundproofing are also of high importance, then triple pane windows would be a great investment.
If you are considering triple pane windows, but have some questions or concerns, feel free to contact us. We will get your questions answered so you can make the right choice on new windows for your home and budget.