Costs quickly add up in any home improvement project. You might start out with a vision of your dream scenario, only to find that to get everything you want would take everything you have. Eventually, you have to adjust your priorities and nail down your budget to customize the best solution for your home.
When it comes to window replacement, window glazing isn’t typically the first thing on your priority list. To figure out if triple-glazed windows are worth it, you must first understand what you’re paying for.
What is window glazing?
Glazing is a term that most homeowners aren’t familiar with. But it’s just another word for glass. So when you’re choosing windows and see single-glazed, double-glazed and triple-glazed options, you’re deciding between one, two and three panes of glass.
It might seem like an insignificant choice. After all, the number of glass panes doesn’t visibly improve your home in the way that window styles, materials and colors do. But multiple panes of glass offer advantages that go beyond aesthetics.
What are the advantages of triple glazing?
More doesn’t always mean better. But in this case, there are several benefits of triple-pane windows.
1. Triple-pane windows are more energy-efficient.
A lot of things affect energy efficiency. The number of window panes is a big one. Triple-pane windows are more efficient than dual-pane windows, which are more efficient than single-pane windows.
The additional panes of glass provide more insulation. But it’s not just the glass. In between each pane, there’s a layer of insulating gas. So a triple-glazed window actually has five times as many layers of insulation than single-glazed windows.
That extra insulation leads to reduced energy costs. In fact, Pella Lifestyle Series triple-pane windows were rated among the Most Efficient ENERGY STAR® certified products of 2020.1 So the energy savings alone could make triple-glazed windows worth the cost, paying off over the lifetime of your windows. Remember, which energy efficient windows will work best for your situation can vary depending on your location.
2. Triple-pane windows reduce noise.
The insulating properties of multiple layers of glass and gas that protect against the outside elements also protect against outside sound. So if you live in a big city or near a busy road, triple-glazed windows provide noise reduction benefits that make your home more comfortable beyond the temperature setting.
Traditionally, three-pane windows are all the same thickness. But increasing the thickness of the glass can improve its insulating properties and ability to dampen sound. And if you vary the thickness of each pane, you can control sound at various frequencies for further noise reduction.
3. Triple-pane Low-E windows reflect more heat.
Low-E glass is a common feature in energy-efficient windows. It helps block out the sun’s damaging ultraviolet and infrared rays. Low-E triple-glazed windows provide more protection from the sun, which does more than just keep your home from heating up.
Ultraviolet light can damage your home in the same way that it can damage your skin. Shielding the interior of your home from UV rays helps reduce the wear and tear on flooring, fabrics and other materials that are exposed to direct sunlight through your windows.
Reflecting heat reduces wear and tear in another important place — your home’s heating and cooling system. Most homeowners only think about the energy savings. But when you have to run your AC less to cool your home, that reduces the load on your HVAC system, helping to lower maintenance needs and possibly extend the life of your unit.
How much more do triple-glazed windows cost?
There is a price difference when you go from one to two to three window panes. Considering the glazing alone, it will cost you more to have triple-pane glass than it would with the other two options.
Since the size, shape and number of windows in every replacement project are different, the additional cost of triple-pane windows is going to vary. If you’re struggling with the decision between double-glazed and triple-glazed windows, get a quote for each so you can compare them side-by-side. Once you have that information, you can calculate your energy savings to get an estimate on when you would recoup the value.
As much as you try to calculate, you can’t put a price on comfort. And with triple-glazed windows, you get more of it — more comfortable temperature, humidity and sound levels. So depending on the location of your home — a hot, sunny climate or an active, noisy neighborhood — the investment may be worth the higher price of triple-pane windows.
1 Some Pella products may not meet ENERGY STAR guidelines in Canada. For more information, contact your local Pella sales representative or go to energystar.gc.ca.