Windows make our homes comfortable, livable places. Without windows, our homes would be cave-like, dark, and claustrophobic. They’re a beautiful feature that brings a small piece of the outdoors into our indoor environment. Despite these benefits, traditional windows present an environmental challenge – and this is particularly true of windows with only one or two panes. So why are triple-pane windows better?
Sunlight and infrared light
If you’ve ever lived in a home with single-pane windows, you’ve almost certainly noticed the way sunlight can heat a room, quickly causing the indoor space to become stuffy. Sunlight is the visible light that heats our home, while infrared light is the low-wavelength radiation that heats up spaces by transferring heat from hot objects to cooler objects and the air nearby. The energy that passes through the glass into the house can create hot spots, put a burden on the home’s HVAC system and cause general discomfort.
UV rays are the invisible rays that cause damage to parts of the house like your floors, upholstery, rugs, curtains, and other objects that spend long hours exposed to sunlight. These rays can cause wood to rot over time, can peel paint, and cause ropes and cloth to become weak and break. They also do harm to our bodies, by causing sunburns, cataracts, and more.
Glass resonates at frequencies we can hear, which is why an opera singer that hits the right note can cause the glass to break. This is also why sound passes easily through the glass and into the home, in a house with single-pane windows. If you live in a loud neighborhood, on a road with a lot of traffic, or near an airport or a train station, you may hear a lot of noise in your house if your windows are not well insulated.
How can you avoid these problems? By installing windows with multiple panes of glass.
Advances in Window Design
Window technology has changed a lot in the last 100 years. It wasn’t that long ago that homes were regularly outfitted with single-pane fixtures. Today, most window dealers and installers won’t even sell single-pane windows.
Double-Pane and Triple-Pane Windows
Double-pane windows have two layers of glass, with a layer of air or an insulating inert gas in between. Triple pane windows have three layers of glass, and a layer of air insulating gas sandwiched between panes.
The pocket of air or gas between the glass inhibits heat transfer much more effectively than a single pane window possibly can. The distance between panes varies, but a half-inch is typical.
A Lesson in Conduction
Conduction is a word that you may not hear much outside science classes, but it’s the transfer of heat between materials. Some materials transfer heat much more effectively than others.
Modern windows are typically made of wood, vinyl, fiberglass or aluminum – all materials that don’t conduct heat well. When combined with multiple panes of glass, this makes modern windows much more energy-efficient than old single-pane fixtures.
How Triple-Pane Windows Make the Difference
Standard glass allows radiant heat to pass through freely, which is why single-pane windows are a notorious source of heat transfer in the home. Adding layers of insulating air or gas between the panes reduces the amount of radiant heat passing through the window. In addition, low-emissivity film (called low-E) can be added to the non-exposed surfaces of the glass. Low-E film reduces heat and glare, helping to control the temperature in your home.
Both double pane and triple-pane windows have these features: insulating air between the glass and low-E coating to reduce the transfer of heat and glare. So why are triple-pane windows better than double-pane windows?
Triple pane windows do everything that double pane windows do, but they do it better. More layers of glass mean double the layers of insulating air or gas. It also means more layers of Low-E coating, which means better protection from radiant heat.
Overall, triple pane windows can be up to 20% more efficient than double pane windows, and up to 50% more efficient than single-pane windows. Below are the many benefits of triple-pane windows.
Protection from UV and Infrared Rays
Triple-pane windows provide maximum protection from UV rays and infrared light. This protection from UV rays can prolong the service life of your furniture, floors, upholstery, curtains, and more.
Years of exposure to UV rays can cause cloth to rot, flooring to fade, and more. UV rays can even cause some countertop materials to fade! Installing triple-pane windows can prolong the service life of virtually anything in your home that’s regularly exposed to sunlight.
Meanwhile, infrared rays put a burden on your home’s HVAC system, by substantially increasing the temperature in your home during the summer months, and by transferring heat from inside to outside during winter months. This is why inefficient windows can cause your HVAC system to work longer and harder than it should have to work in order to maintain a comfortable temperature.
Better Protection from Sound
The same insulating properties that protect your home from UV and infrared light can also protect your home from loud noises. Three layers of glass can easily protect your home from loud noises, making sleeping hours more rewarding and productive. Windows with sound reduction properties improve the quality of life in the home overall. This is especially important if you live in a noisy urban area.
Hopefully, your home has never been the site of a burglary or a break-in. If this has ever happened to you, you would be relieved to know that triple-pane windows are harder to break than double pane. One more layer of glass means one more layer of something to break, one more layer of protection.
If you’re planning to sell your home soon, you may enjoy a greater return on investment if you install triple-pane versus double-pane windows. Tell your real estate professional that your home has triple pane windows, so your real estate agent can include this information in the home listing.
Triple-Pane Windows are an Investment in Your Future
Windows cost money, so you may not see an immediate return on investment after making your window purchase. At Clearwater, we make triple pane windows as affordable as double-pane, which makes triple-pane windows an even better investment. Find out more about how affordable triple-pane windows can be on our promotions page. Want to know more about how triple-pane windows can benefit you? Take a look at what our previous customers have said about their window installation:
“We are very happy with the windows we had installed. The first thing we noticed was how quiet the house was. The new window configurations … let in more light and made our house seem brighter.” –Nat T
“The windows are beautiful, and we’ve noticed a drastic difference in the temperature of the house upstairs, and reduced dust throughout the house. I would recommend them to anyone.” –Amy D
Bottom line, if you want the best quality windows for your home, and you’d like the highest performing product available on the market today, then this is the kind of window you should purchase. Don’t believe us? Check out our excellent reviews from satisfied customers. To get started, contact us today.