Paned Windows – Single, Double or Triple?

So, you’re in the market for new windows. While once you could have tossed up a pane of glass in a frame you enjoy and called it a day, today you’ll find a bewildering variety of options on the menu. We’ve even passed the single pane windows vs double pane windows debate, and sailed straight into triple pane territory. So how do you make a smart decision that balances energy savings, insulation, noise-prevention, cost of replacement, worth of investment, and so many other factors without breaking the budget? Roxy Glass has all the help you need.

Single, double, triple pane windows

What’s wrong with single pane windows?

Absolutely nothing at all! Single paned windows were the original window style, and provided you use a quality brand and installer, they represent a cost-effective, easy solution to your window needs. They’re also simpler to retrofit than double paned windows or triple paned windows, as they are lighter, cheaper, and easier to handle.

Why, then, do multiple pane windows exist? When you analyze the energy usage in a home, a lot of heat is lost through the expanse of glass in our windows and doors. Likewise, warm air from outside can enter. This means some of our energy costs are being ‘wasted’ on air that’s leaking to or from the outside. The more you can stop this, the more you can save on gas, heat, cooling, and other energy usage costs. Insulation is a hot new trend in promoting energy efficiency, after all. As more and more of us live in crowded cities, it’s also worth considering that the gas layer and two panes of glass used in double pane windows offers better noise insulating properties.

While these are important aspects, of course, they’re only of value to your project if they’re meaningful in your specific circumstances. Here in the Bay Area, we don’t have the extremes of temperatures that many other parts of the country do. While you may still want double pane windows for energy efficiency, it can take longer for the investment to ‘pay off’, as it were, than in a cold or very hot climate where the benefits to your bottom line are more immediate and noticeable. While many home- and business-owners are opting for double paned windows as they have to replace their windows, this is typically done to extend the lifetime of the installation, to fit in with the energy efficient ‘green’ trend, and, simply, because they can afford to do so. This does not mean that your single pane window will be an ‘inferior’ installation, simply that it does not offer some of the extended features of other window styles.

Single-Pane-Glass

What about double paned windows?

As we mentioned, the major difference between single pane windows and double pane windows lies (unsurprisingly) in the panes of glass used in their construction. This renders them more energy efficient than a single pane windows. It’s important to remember- especially if you are retrofitting your double pane windows- that these extra panes of glass, combined with the additional insulation of argon gas between them, also make them heavier, so it’s imperative you make sure the building can sustain this increased weight.

The key features of double pane windows are that they are energy efficient and do offer some sound reduction compared to single pane windows. To a degree, they also represent some ‘future proofing’ of the sales value and curb appeal in your home, especially as ‘green’ home design becomes a selling point. Preventing air lost through the window helps keep your home cooler in summer, warmer in winter, and can save you money on heating bills. They are a bit tougher on your budget, however, so it’s up to you to decide if the other features of multi-paned windows are worth it in your project.

Double pane glass

Are triple pane windows worth the investment?

The only true answer here is, “It depends.” Of course, you’ll encounter many companies trying to sell them as the only window worth installing, but remember that’s exactly what sales people are there to do. Triple pane windows are the newest evolution in window technology, which makes them (currently) the most expensive on the market, too. This will change over time, of course- but no one wants to install windows today knowing they’ll need to rework them in a decade. Triple pane windows use three sheets of glass with a double argon gas layer, making them the most energy efficient windows on the market. The question is whether you need that level of insulation. In a cold climate, it can be worth every penny- not only does it stop cold air leaking into the house, it reduces the energy bill as heated air can’t escape, either. This works equally well the other way around in warm climates. Talking numbers, they are about 50% more efficient at this temperature regulation than single paned windows, and 20% more than a double paned window.

In a climate with temperature extremes, the savings on energy bills this represents can quickly add up, offsetting your original investment very soon after installation. Typically, anything you can do to insulate your home is worthwhile. Somewhere like San Francisco and the Bay Area, however, we simply don’t get the icy cold or boiling hot weather that allows these benefits to shine. And the cost can be a significant barrier. In the end, it’s up to you to decide if the pros offered by triple pane windows- this additional insulation, resistance to condensation, and the ‘perceived future value’ they may add to your home as a building trend- is worth the cost compared to other styles.

triple pane windows

How do I get a quote for single pane or double pane windows?

Now you know what style of windows you would like, be that single paned windows, double pane windows, or even triple paned windows, it’s time to look into the installation process. As your local experts on all-things-window, Roxy Glass is here to answer any questions you might have about your project. Whether you want to know more about the replacement process, have more questions about paned windows or insulating , are worried about matching the style of your home, want other noise solutions, or want to explore boosting your home’s curb appeal through window-related projects, we’re here for you! Simply drop us an email or give us a call today, and one of our local experts will be able to help you make the very best choice for your home.