Experts say that heat loss occurring in windows accounts for 12% to 30% of a typical heating energy bill in the US. That’s a lot of wasted energy, not to mention a complete waste of money.
However, if you still have single pane windows, chances are, your energy wastage is much higher. You likely have such windows if your home’s construction took place before the 1970s. They were, after all, the standard before double pane windows took over in the 70s.
What exactly are single-paned windows, though, and why do they waste energy? Should you replace the old ones you have with the same style, or is it better to go with more panes?
This guide will answer all those questions and more, so be sure to keep reading!
What Are Single Pane Windows?
Single pane windows consist of only one pane or sheet of glass. Because of this, they have low insulating values. However, it’s also because they use fewer materials that they cost the least of all types of windows.
Why Do Single-Paned Windows Have Low Insulating Values?
Single-paned windows are poor insulators because they don’t resist heat transfer well. Heat transfer refers to how heat flows from one object to another. It occurs as a result of temperature changes, differences, and distribution.
A perfect example is when glass windows allow solar heat or radiation to move through them. If you have single pane windows at home, the sun’s thermal energy can pass through with ease. As a result, the heat of the sun penetrates your home, too, causing a rise in indoor temperature.
At the same time, the windows allow cold air from your air conditioner to escape outdoors. Again, that’s because they can’t resist heat flow well. Moreover, the sun heats the windows themselves, further affecting the conditioned air.
The reverse happens in windows during winter. Do note that up to a third of total heat losses during winter transpires in windows. However, the losses can be greater in single-paned windows due to their lack of insulation.
For starters, such windows allow a lot of cold outdoor air to penetrate all the way into your home. As a result, your space heater likely has to take more time to warm up the air inside your home. What’s more, the air warmed by your boiler or furnace leaves the windows.
It’s even worse in old windows that have already developed cracks, drafts, and gaps. These holes allow conditioned air to escape while also permitting outdoor air infiltration.
What Are the Benefits of Replacing Old Single-Paned Windows?
New single pane windows are still available in the US, although they’re no longer that common. You have the choice to replace your old single-paned windows with new Energy Star ones. In doing so, you can save an estimated $125 to $340 a year, depending on where you live.
If you can’t replace all your windows yet, you can settle for insulating window tinting films. These are super-thin, lightweight sheets of polyester. They can block some amount of solar heat and chilly winter air and drafts.
What About Multi-Paned Windows?
If you want to replace your old windows and ditch the single-paned style, go with multi-paned ones. The two types you can choose from are double pane windows and triple pane windows. These multi-paned windows have a higher insulating value than the single-paned types.
Double pane windows consist of two layers of glass. The section between these two panes is usually full of insulating gas. Many window manufacturers use argon gas, but others use krypton or a mix of the two.
If you go with Energy Star dual-paned window replacements, you can save $87 to $126 a year. Just remember that your actual savings depend on where you live, too.
As for triple-paned windows, these have three layers of glass. So, they have two hollow sections that window makers usually fill with insulating gas. As a result, triple pane window efficiency can be twice that of double-paned windows.
Whichever of the two you choose, though, expect them to cost more than single pane windows. That means they can take many years to provide returns on your investment.
Still, the fact remains that multi-paned windows are more energy-efficient. Energy-efficient products, in turn, help reduce the amount of greenhouse (GHGs) emissions. GHGs cause global warming, climate change, and extreme weather events.
All those ultimately lead to hotter summers and colder winters. Unfortunately, these severe weather conditions bring illnesses and even fatalities. All in all, they harm the environment and all living things.
So, reducing GHGs with efficient windows can benefit you, your family, and the planet.
What Problems Can You Encounter with Multi-Paned Windows?
According to this window dealership opportunity guide, desiccant saturation is one such problem. Desiccants help reduce the amount of moisture seeping into the windows’ gas-filled areas. Over the years, though, all that moisture they absorb saturates them.
From there, fogging can occur between the window panes. That’s a big problem in itself, but it can also cause the panes to form layers of mold and mildew because of the moisture.
In addition, the seals that secure the panes in place also age and degrade. This happens to all window seals, and when it occurs, insulating gas leaks out of the windows. So, you can expect multi-paned windows to lose their energy efficiency bit by bit.
Fortunately, those problems are now fixable with window defogging and restoration techniques. In this case, a trained window repair tech will first remove the moisture from inside the windows. The expert can then fill the insulated sections with more gas and seal the entire thing.
Find Pleasure and Comfort in Multi Pane Windows
Single pane windows may be the cheapest windows out there, but they’re huge energy wasters. The older they are, the more precious energy and money they waste, too. So, if you have the budget, consider replacing them with double- or triple-paned windows.
That way, you can save money on your energy bills and feel more comfortable inside your home.
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