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So, what are the similarities and differences between double and triple pane windows?

Well, the name is a big giveaway — with the triple pane, there is one extra pane. Triple pane was created to compete with its very established and popular double paned version by striving to be more energy efficient. Double pane has been around now for quite some time. In fact, when only wood windows were available, there was a very early option of wood double pane windows on the market. It was only when the materials of aluminum and vinyl were introduced to window and door manufacturing that a whole new flexibility of designs began. This includes encasing an odourless and inert gas in the pane cavities in order to bump up the window’s insulation value (R-value). Today, two gases are used for this purpose — argon and krypton. Krypton is a thicker and denser gas when compared with argon. Sorry, no, it’s in no way the same as the kryptonite that weakens Superman. Krypton gas is safe for everyone.

When comparing the two types of windows, it’s necessary to look at their effectiveness in their ability to keep treated indoor air in. When compared to no window at all, the averaging figures are:

Double Pane = 90% protection with 10% of energy escaping.

Triple Pane = 97% protection with 3% of energy escaping.

Of course, this comparison would have to be with virtually identical quality of windows that have the same coatings and glass thickness except for that extra pane feature. Now to some that may not seem like a big difference, 10% versus 3%, but with the ever-increasing cost of energy, over time, the savings would really add up. Also, with triple pane, the temperature of the interior pane is closer to the home’s interior temperature. This reduces the chances of condensation from forming during the colder months since condensation forms when hot air hits cold glass.

For much more detail about specific windows and their ability to keep energy from escaping, it’s necessary to read and compare the window’s energy labels. These labels can be intimidating because they use a complex math system, but here’s a quick basic summary:

  • U-Factor — the lower the number, the better the resistance is to heat flow, whether in or out of the home.
  • Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) — this number describes how well the window keeps solar heat from coming into the home. The higher the number the better.
  • Visible Transmittance — the level of natural light can enter through the panes. The lower the number, the less light.
  • Air Leakage — a lower number is better for preventing drafts from entering.
  • Condensation Resistance — the higher the number, the better the window performs at keeping condensation from forming.

The Cost of Double Pane VS Triple Pane.

As triple pane gains in popularity, the price gap between double and triple pane has been quickly narrowing. So much so that it’s predicted the two may eventually be on par. A homeowner needs to factor into their decision things like how long do they plan on living in the home and whether the extra cost per window with the higher energy savings is worth the long-term investment. Another thing to consider is that both styles of windows come with the same warranties.

At AM Window & Door Solutions, we’re very familiar and experienced with both double and triple pane products. We can also help explain the energy labels in more detail and come up with a plan for your home’s needs. We know the best investment a homeowner can make is to work with a skilled and experienced window and door specialist and we’re here to help every step of the way.