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Single- vs Double-Pane Windows - Know the Difference


on January 16, 2017

If you live in an older home with original single-pane windows, you may wonder whether these windows are a disadvantage to your home. Understanding the difference between single- and double-pane windows can help you determine whether replacing your single-pane windows with new double-pane windows will offer enough benefit to be worthwhile for you. To determine your replacement needs, first it’s important to understand the differences between single and double-pane windows.
double-paned glass

What is the difference between single- and double-pane windows?

Single-pane windows are made with one layer of glass. They come in different styles and materials, some include an additional removable pane of glass referred to as a “storm window.” Because there is no additional panes of glass, single-pane windows do not offer as much as double- or triple-pane windows by way of insulation to the home and may not be as good at keeping out noise.

Double-pane windows have two panes of glass, many with insulating argon gas between the panes. The additional layer of material, plus the insulating gap in between is what makes them stand out. Two or three panes of glass means more layers of protection between the weather and your home. Many manufacturers also offer triple-pane windows in select product lines for additional energy efficiency. Two or three panes of glass means more layers of protection between the weather and your home.

Asking the right questions

Whether you should replace your single-pane windows comes down to the specifics of your home, including your average climate, amount of outside noise, the amount of money your regularly pay for heating, the age of your home, and a few other factors. Take a look at some of the following factors below and decide which are most important to you.

Energy savings with double-pane windows

Double-pane windows can help lower energy costs for homeowners. For a typical home, replacing single-pane windows with ENERGY STAR certified windows can save you money - $101 - $5381 per year on average. Whether heating or cooling is your concern, extra insulation helps keep control over your home’s internal climate, and puts less strain on your air systems. However if you live in a part of the country where open windows are a year-round comfort, then maybe it is less of a priority.

Stay warm with double paned windows
ENERGY STAR Certified Windows

Personal comfort

Hand-in-hand with more manageable bills is the personal comfort that comes along with better insulation. Rather than relying on an overworked heating or cooling system, double-pane windows can help reduce cold air, reduce condensation, and lower noise pollution.

Saving the planet

Going green doesn’t necessarily mean solar panels or wind turbines. Staying eco-conscious can mean cutting back on your energy usage and reducing your carbon footprint in the process. Double-pane windows are a great way to do just that, by keeping your home comfortable without the extra expenditures. Replacing single-pane windows with ENERGY STAR certified windows can save 1,006 to 6,072 pounds of CO2 for a typical home which is equivalent to 51 to 310 gallons of gasoline a year.2

Making the change

Often, we find that single-pane windows just aren’t efficient enough for most homes. Whether it is a matter of saving on bills, improving comfort or helping to reduce carbon emissions, an investment in double-pane windows may be the right choice for you. And whether you're replacing just one or many windows, you can see and feel the impact of double-pane windows right away.

1 Ranges are based on the average savings among homes in modeled cities. Actual savings will vary based on local climate conditions, utility rates, and individual home characteristics. For more information, visit energystar.gov.

2 Source: https://www.energystar.gov/products/building_products/residential_windows_doors_and_skylights/benefits

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