Double Glazed Windows
Double glazed windows are sure to create energy savings, and further create a money saving opportunity for you when you consider the relatively inexpensive cost of replacing vinyl replacement windows. To harness the power of saving money, look for energy efficiency on labels when making any window replacements on your home.
In a time not-so-long ago nor very far away, there was only single pane glass for a window fix available. These kept bugs away, required swapping in and out of screen for the storm glass (when they became available) and allowed a lot of cold or hot air in or out, depending on the time of year. You had to basically keep the furnace or air conditioning up full blast to keep up with the heat loss and gain depending on the season (and regional climate).
And heck, you may still have single pane glass. The advantage of double pane glass is that they insulate against tremendous heat exchanges experienced with single pane glass. Actually, they work under a premise similar to storm glass, but are air tight. And, further to the double panes, there are also double glazed windows.
Double paned glass is, you guessed it, two panes of glass rather than a single pane. The advantages of double paned glass is it creates insulation from the air in the glass. Standard, less expensive glass simply use dehydrated air between the panes. A more effective insulation, however, is krypton or argon, which is pumped in between the panes to further insulate. It is more expensive, but many find it a worthwhile investment in the long run. The seal must be good and air tight, and remain that way for many years, to maintain the integrity of the gas and two panes of glass independent of outside air.
How Double Glazed Windows Work
Low emissivity glass, or Lo E glass, has an ultra-thin layer of metal or metallic oxide glazed on it. The glazed pane bounces heat back into your home, or back outside. In a climate that experiences cold winters and hot summers, it would be necessary to have what is called double glazed windows. It means the glazed panes keep heat inside during the winter, and outside during the summer.
Double glazed windows have special manufacturing considerations too, just like double paned glass. For both, the quality of the manufacturing helps determine how long the glazed glass will repel heat/cold into/away from your home or office. And, quality of the glazed panes determines how long you can save money from its benefits. Contacting a qualified window dealer and installer can help you find the best double glazed windows for your money.
To earn an Energy Star rating, products must meet strict criteria determined by the U.S. Department of Energy. The labels refer to Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) and U-Factor, which measures rate of heat transfer. Values range from 0.25 to 1.25 and are measured in Btu/h•ft²•°F, with a low values demonstrating the better the window insulates. The SHGC measures solar energy transmitted, or how well windows block heat from sunlight. It is measured on a scale of 0 to 1, normally ranging from 0.25 to 0.80. The lower the SHGC, the less solar heat the window transmits.
The ratings will generally show a map of the U.S., and highlight the appropriateness of a product for your region, or climate. When searching for the right double glazed windows for your home or office, consider also the three additional characteristics rated for windows, by the National Fenestration Rating Council. Those are Visible Transmittance (amount of light that passes through the window), Air Leakage (how much air is seeping inside via your window's joints) and Condensation Resistance (the window's ability to resist water buildup.)
An additional consideration when shopping for double glazed windows is the framing material. There is wood, aluminum, fiberglass, vinyl and composite material, to name the basics. Vinyl is extremely low maintenance, and it does not conduct heat or cold, so you do not lose any insulation to the material. It is also easy to maintain, does not scratch.
Aluminum is a fantastic conductor of heat and cold, and will actually cause you to lose precious heat from your home, if it is poorly manufactured, installed or worn out. The material is otherwise fairly easy to maintain, and a good value for your money. Wood requires some maintenance, with painting and staining, but is also a great material, especially for custom-made windows. Fiberglass is light weight, resilient even in harsh climates and very strong.
Double glazed windows can save you money in the long run. It is worth it to look into finding a window dealer and installer who can help you make the best decision about double glazed for your home or office and regional climate.