What is the different between double and triple pane windows?

Answered by Brendan ~ March 14, 2010 ~ Comments

We live in Springfield, Illinois and want to install some good replacement windows for our cold climate. I've heard about triple pane windows but I'm not sure what the advantages these window are to double pane windows. Before we make this major home maintenance investment, could you explain me the difference?

Tom J. ~ Springfield, Illinois

Brendan Fowler

One thing you will probably notice right off the bat is that there can be a dramatic price increase from double to triple pane windows. Now lets look at triple pane widow technology. There are differences within the triple pane family of windows. You will want to look and see if the windows are gas filled and if they are, what type of gas are they filled with. There are generally two types of gases used in windows, Argon and Krypton. Krypton generally provides a higher R-value than Argon. There is the pane spacing, generally wider spacing provides higher R-value. However, the wider version of a triple pane (argon fill) may be lower than the narrower version (krypton fill) in R-value at about 8. Triple pane windows also have the advantage of having a second pane of glass to apply 2nd Low-E coating to. Due to the high efficiency of triple pane windows you may get outside condensation on the windows. This is not a window defect, it is actually very normal, but may be an issue for some people.

Dual pane windows employ all the same technologies a triple pane but as a general rule can only reach an R-value of about 6 where as a triple pane window can get up to an R-value of 10. Ultimately, the best windows in the world are not going to perform properly if they are not installed correctly, so make sure your installers are following the manufacturers installation guidelines.

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