What are single pane windows, vs double and triple pane, anyway?

‘Single pane’ refers to the classic type of window. While they are a cost-effective choice, it’s also well known that heat loss and gain in the home mostly occurs through these single panes of glass in our windows. That’s why double and triple pane windows add an additional pane (double) or two additional panes (triple) to the window. Additionally, the layer between these panes is further insulated with a layer of inert argon gas. This leads to a saving on heat loss or cooling needs, and can lead to energy cost savings, too. Of the two types of insulated window, double pane windows are better known than the triple pane window, largely because they are a relatively recent innovation.

Single pane windows
Triple pane window structure

So what is better, double pane or triple pane windows?

There is no real ‘better’ in this argument, as it depends on what your goals are with your windows. Triple pane windows are the most energy efficient windows currently on the market, using three panes of glass with argon gas to provide extra insulation. This does not mean that a double pane window is ‘ineffective’ for saving on heating costs, however, nor that you have to immediately replace your single pane windows.

Comparatively speaking, triple pane windows are around 20% more effective at trapping heat than double pane windows, and about 50% more so than single pane windows. This can be extremely relevant in areas where extreme temperatures- cold especially, but also heat-are normal through the year. Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, it has less of an impact, and you may decide it’s not worth the money, as the cost of triple pane windows is more of an investment and you will pay more. However, the insulating properties of a double pane window will help keep your home cooler in summer, cutting down on air conditioning and other costs.

What about noise reduction in double pane windows (vs triple pane windows)?

If you’re interested in triple pane windows purely for noise reduction, you may do better to look at double pane windows, as they’re typically cheaper and there is no noted increase in noise cutting abilities between the two styles. If noise is a particular issue for you, you may wish to consider laminated glass instead.

What are the advantages of triple pane windows?

As we have already mentioned, triple pane windows do provide the best energy savings if purchase price is no limit. They can also add some ‘marketability’ to your home, as they’re the newest window design and will probably become more common in future years. An area in which they particularly shine is reducing condensation, if you have damp issues in your home.

On the flip side, bear in mind that they are heavier than other designs of window. For new construction, that is unlikely to be relevant, but it may be worth chatting to your installation crew if this will be a retrofit window replacement.

At the end of the day, each type of window allows bountiful natural light, and both double pane windows and a triple pane window will give you insulating benefits, keep out the heat, reduce bills, help keep your home at a pleasant temperature year-round, and can be installed easily as part of an upgrade or new installation. Single pane windows, on the other hand, are cost effective and simple to plan around, offering an initial chance to save money on installation although there is no energy savings with the design.

If you would like to know more about a triple pane window design for your home, need help deciding between this window type and double pane windows, or already know you want to get triple pane windows installed, get in touch with the Bay Area Window Glass team today. We’re always here to help!

Triple pane patio windows