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What are the Advantages of Double Paned Windows?

Framing materials can make double paned windows even more efficient.
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  • Written By: R. Kayne
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 22 March 2014
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Double paned windows have several key advantages over standard windows. Among these are better insulative properties, noise reduction, and ease of cleaning. They can also protect items in the house from sun damage, and they easily slide open and lock closed with no cranking or lifting necessary.

In a double paned window, two facing glass panels are set in a frame, separated by a small space 0.5 inch to 0.75 inch (12.7 - 19.05 mm) wide. The void might be filled with air or nontoxic gasses like argon, which can improve insulation. Decorative frames might also be installed between the glass panels to give the impression of individual windowpanes.

Decorative inset frames make double paned windows very easy to clean, as the glass is one solid panel. Also, inset frames are protected from the elements, staying as pristine and clean as the day they were installed, no matter how old or how soiled windows become between cleanings. A squeegee can be used to make the windows look brand new.

Windows of this type can also block street noise more efficiently than traditional windows. This is particularly important for buildings or homes built near high traffic areas or grade schools, but it is also nice to slide a window closed when the neighborhood gardeners are at work.

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Although all double paned windows were originally considered energy-efficient, advances in technology since the 1980s have created many grades of efficiency. Picking the right windows can mean a significant savings in energy bills, but what's right for one part of the country might not be right for another, depending on the local climate.

For example, framing materials contribute greatly to the insulation properties of windows. In extremely cold climates, the outer frame should ideally be wood, vinyl or fiberglass. Colder climates can also benefit from gas-filled windows. In areas that have warmer weather year round, however, aluminum frames might be used, and air-filled windows are fine.

Another factor in the efficiency of double paned windows are the various glazings or UV coatings. For those in very cold regions, the UV coating should allow as much solar energy though as possible to maximize the sun's warmth and reduce heating bills. In hot regions, however, UV coatings should be at a maximum to keep out solar heat and reduce air conditioning use. High UV coatings also protect floors, rugs, and photographs from sun damage. In regions in which a combination of weather is normal, windows can be designed with a combination of factors to best maximize energy-savings.

In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Energy grant the Energy Star seal to products that meet the most serious energy-savings guidelines.

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Discuss this Article

anon300263
Post 18

Thanks for this wonderful link! I am hiring a maid service and was wondering if there are special instructions they need for double paned windows? I don't want to make any mistakes.

anon289815
Post 17

What about storm windows?

anon137009
Post 16

Double pane is absolutely worth ever bit of money but the key is to maintain the window (assuming it's wood) with an outer layer of paint that makes contact between the wood stop and the glass. I have seen units last over 30 years when this maintenance is done.

anon91235
Post 13

Double glazing isn't all it's cracked up to be! Spend a fraction of your money on insulating your roof well and see better results than double glazed windows! Double glazing has a small life span too! They fail and fog! Then need to be replaced.

Buy single pane with a uv tint for a similar job and a hell of a lot less money. Spend it on your roof. Every glazer will disagree with me, but i learned through trial and error. Until double glazing is improved dramatically, i will never buy it again.

anon78437
Post 12

For a slightly different perspective, I live in a vintage 1920s brick apartment building and am loath to replace my beautiful, historical hardwood windows with anything less.

Windows of the same quality of hardwood as the original, but with double-glazing, low-e glass, and external dividers (not those things in between the panes of glass, which to me look ridiculous) would cost a fortune. Double-glazed windows will also fail over time, whereas my old windows need only to be caulked, reputtied, and repainted periodically at much less cost.

I do have aluminum storm windows on the outside, which is not an aesthetically perfect choice, but better than ripping out solid wood. At some point those storm windows might be replaced with a better-looking white-finished aluminum storm window with low-e glass, too.

So I guess my point is that depending not only on climate but also on the age and quality of the original construction replacement isn't always the answer.

anon72345
Post 11

i don't know what the resistance is for my windows.

anon71799
Post 10

I have tinted double paned windows - we replaced our old ones. I love them! But, how on earth do you clean them? I wash them but when the sun shines they are really filthy! Cleaning tips would be great and why are they not cleaning up properly?

anon46629
Post 8

i just bought all the windows for my house, and now it is very quiet, and very easy to clean, no more fog in the mornings. This is the best investment I've made. --Marco Carrillo, Mexico.

anon36725
Post 7

We have gas filled glazing, problem is they always look dingy. how could we clean them or the expense of replacing ten (10) gas filled windows.

It's unsightly and driving us crazy....*Help*!!

anon34941
Post 6

Does it make sense to both replace single-pane windows with double-pane *and* install honeycomb shades in central California where both the winters and summers are mild?

anon34420
Post 5

We recently replaced our single panes with double pane windows. We live in Florida where it is very hot and humid in June. Every morning for the past 2 weeks we have noticed that the windows are quite wet on the outside with condensation. Could there be something wrong with our windows? Has anyone else had this problem? We had the problem in the reverse(wet on the inside) during the winter, which is one reason we replaced the singles. Would love to hear some feedback on this issue. Thanks.

goodlooking4
Post 4

can double paned windows be used as storm or hurricane windows?...jeff

anon24864
Post 3

The safest thing for you to do is contact the manufacturer of the windows and ask them. It could be that a certain type of film is okay, or they might even have something themselves to put on the windows.

ocalashoe
Post 2

I have new double glass windows and heard that you CAN'T put a stick on tinting or the glass will loose the gas between or something like that. I have two big windows that face the south and the sun just beats in all day. Do I have to get an awning?

somerset
Post 1

With all these great advantages of double pane windows, I also like the way these new windows look. Also when installing new windows, a good consideration should be ease of cleaning, especially for those harder to reach windows.

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