Double Pane vs. Triple Pane Windows: What’s Your Ideal Pick?

Double Pane vs. Triple Pane Windows: What’s Your Ideal Pick?

February 21, 2018
Martin Whitmore, President of US Window & Door
Triple Pane Window

Replacing old or damaged windows is one of the best ways to reduce energy costs in the home. Many people find buying new windows to be very confusing. Thankfully, with just a little research you can find the best variety of windows for your needs. Keep reading to learn the difference between double and triple pane windows as well as how they are best used.

Benefits of Multipane Windows

Multipane windows are one of the smartest investments you can make when renovating your home. EnergyStar research shows that upgrading from single pane to multipane windows can save you close to $500 a year in reduced energy costs.

Multipane windows provide an insulative barrier for your home. The space between panes in these windows is filled with an inert gas such as argon or krypton. This prevents heat from passing through windows on frigid winter or hot summer days.

If you’ve ever sat next to an old single pane window you know how uncomfortable it can be. Multipane windows reduce this temperature loss and give the rooms of your home a more stable temperature in all areas.

There are both double pane and newer triple pane windows available. There are pros and cons to each variety of multipane window.

Double Pane Windows

Double pane windows are well tested, widely used and account for a large portion of new window installations. They are available in a wide variety of styles and varying levels of quality.

As with all multipane windows, double pane windows can save you significant sums on heating and cooling. They also keep the temperature inside your home from fluctuating throughout the day based on sun conditions.

The biggest pros of double pane windows are:

  • Reduced energy bills
  • Effective buffer to outside sounds
  • Prevents hot or cold spots in rooms
  • Adds to the value of your home

Double pane windows only provide energy saving benefits if all windows are replaced at the same time. If you only change out windows in certain rooms or areas other older windows will still allow heat transfer and air leakage.

Replacing every window in your home can become costly very quickly. It’s important to balance the overall cost of window replacement against the length of time you plan to live in your home.

Double pane windows are more expensive than single pane windows but given the many benefits, it’s almost always smart to invest in these entry-level multipane windows. This also applies to the type of double pane windows you choose.

Many lower cost double pane windows perform more poorly compared to higher quality models. With a cost difference of just a few hundred dollars, it’s a good idea to buy quality and have them professionally installed.

Triple Pane Windows

triple pane window diagram

Triple pane windows are a more recent innovation in multipane window technology. Rather than two panes of glass with a single buffer zone, they have two.

This creates an even greater air gap and allows for better insulation. Triple pane windows consistently outperform double pane windows in insulation and energy savings.

The basic layout of triple pane windows is an outer surface, inner glass pane and interior surface. Each of the two air gaps in the windows is filled with an inert gas that prevents the transfer of heat or cold.

Because there are two gaps there is less chance for leakage and a greater insulation value over single or double pane windows. This strong insulation can sometimes cause condensation on the window, as the airtight seal and quality of the windows prevent moisture from escaping the home.

The only real cons with triple pane glass are their higher cost and the weight of the windows themselves. Three panes of glass, of course, weigh more than one or two. Triple pane windows should always be installed using a fiberglass frame.

Not only does this help bear the weight of the windows, it doesn’t rust or mold like wooden or steel frames sometimes can.

How to Choose

Now that you know the difference between the different windows available, how do you pick the best one for your situation?

Single pane glass is no longer recommended for home use. It provides almost no insulative properties compared to multipane windows and should only be used on outbuildings or specialized applications.

Before making your decision you need to carefully consider your situation. The key factors are the climate you live in, common weather conditions, desired energy savings and the length of time you intend to stay in your home.

If you live in an area with frequent cold winters or very hot summers it is recommended you buy the best windows you can afford. The energy savings you can generate will be much greater than someone who lives in a more temperate climate.

For people who plan to live in their homes for an extended period, triple pane windows are also recommended. The energy savings are substantial, but usually, take around 10-15 years to offset the cost of the windows.

If you only plan to live in your home for the short term and live in a temperate climate, double pane windows may be a more economical option.

Signs Your Windows Need Replacement

Now you know the different types of windows available and their key features. Another important consideration is figuring out when you need new windows.

Some of the signs that your windows need to be replaced can creep up on you without you realizing it. Increased energy bills in the winter and summer, overly loud noises from everyday activities or drafts near windows are obvious. Other signs are more subtle.

Many people notice an uptick in insects around their windows. This can be a sign that the caulking around the frames or the frame itself is deteriorating. Single pane windows should always be replaced. The amount of energy lost through them is substantial.

If you already have multipane windows, condensation inside the frame can indicate a leak somewhere in the seal. Frequent or powerful storms make this kind of damage more common.

Always Go For Quality

Whatever type of windows you decide to purchase for your home, make sure you get them properly installed by experts. Even the best windows won’t provide many benefits if the frames and seals aren’t properly put in place.

Get a free estimate today to see how much you can save by replacing your old windows with high-quality multipane windows.