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Double vs. Triple Glazed Windows

Double vs. Triple Glazed Windows

In recent years, a great deal of improvement has been made in the quality and performance of high efficiency windows. This is good news, since windows have long been a weak spot in a building’s total thermal efficiency. In basic terms, the two main types of windows commonly available in Canada are double glazed and triple glazed. Double glazed windows are a minimum requirement now, but with the push for more energy efficiency and more comfortable home environment, triple glazed windows are becoming increasingly popular. 


Window Glazing 

Window glazing simply refers to the number of panes of glass a window has. A double glazed window has two panes of glass with a single insulating chamber. The space between the panes puts further distance between outside and inside temperature differences. 

A triple glazed window has three panes of glass with two insulating chambers. The extra pane and chamber helps to further reduce the thermal conductivity or heat loss through the window. 

U Factor

From a technical standpoint, the place to begin comparing efficiency between double glazed and triple glazed windows is the U value or U factor. Put simply, this is a measurement of how much heat loss the window allows. A general range for U value measurement is about 0.15 to 0.50 with a smaller number indicating greater efficiency (less heat loss). 

There are several factors that can influence this rating:

  • Frame materials- insulated fiberglass and composite materials are being used to help lower U value
  • Number of panes- double or triple pane windows perform significantly better than single pane windows
  • Gas between panes- different inert gases used to help insulate the window, including argon, xenon and krypton
  • Glazing emissivity- a thin coating on the window that helps to reflect infrared heat

Double Glazed Windows

Double glazed windows have two panes of glass, with a single gas filled chamber between them. The completely safe and non-toxic argon gas  is frequently used in double glazed windows for it's insulating qualities, safety and low cost. The chamber and the gas provide a layer of insulation, their single pane counterparts from years ago didn’t have. (Read more about gas insulated windows.)

Nowadays, most double glazed windows now have low-E (emissivity) coatings to further improve their insulating qualities. The low-E coating, two panes of glass and insulating chamber help double glazed windows minimize heat loss. 

Triple Glazed Windows

Triple glazed windows have three panes of glass, with two gas filled chambers. Where argon is frequently used in double glazed windows, the more expensive and better insulating, krypton gas is often used in higher efficiency triple glazed windows.

The additional pane, extra chamber and krypton gas in a triple glazed window allow it to have a U factor rating up to 20-30% less than that of a double glazed window.

Are Triple Glazed Windows Worth the Investment?

Compared to a good quality, double glazed window,  you'll probably only see minor reductions in your utility bills when installing triple glazed windows. However, in a cold climate like Calgary, the increased comfort and reduction in heat loss around windows make them well worth considering. Not only are triple pane windows good for the environment, you'll also all but eliminate those cool drafts around windows on the coldest of winter days. That comfort is invaluable. 

Contact our Calgary window specialists at Old West to learn more about the wide variety of options available when replacing your windows. 


Calgary Replacement Window & Door Reviews

  • It's been 3 years from start to finish working with Old West Windows and Doors to have all windows replaced . They are professional, on time and did first rate work through all aspects. Their crew knows what they are doing, clean up afterwards and are courteous, going the extra mile...

    Rating: 10/10

    Terry - De Winton

  • I waited to write this review to see how the windows & workmanship would be after 1 year of use. The windows are triple low E glazing and frames are fibreglass. Well on a rating of 10, I give 10 for the installation, followup and the product. I would recommend these people to anyone who wants good service who back their products.

    Rating: 10/10

    Carl C.

  • After a competitive evaluation of three potential suppliers we chose Old West Windows and Doors to replace 11 windows in our home. We were very impressed with Rick's knowledge and experience as well as the excellent reviews of his company. Kyle and his crew of installers did a first class professional and timely job taking care to minimize any disruptions.

    Rating: 10/10

    Andrew Dudzinski

  • Great service, great price, professional and knowledgeable installers. Installers worked on an extremely cold January day and took the time to explain how windows work and asked if we had any questions before they left for the day. Will recommend to others and use them again without hesitation for our future window needs.

    Rating: 10/10

    J Kawchuk

  • We have been completely satisfied in dealing with Old West to replace our windows and have had previous windows replaced with them as well. Always efficient and dependable! We love our new windows!!

    Rating: 10/10


  • Service and Quality are what Old West Windows and Doors provided for the installation of 10 windows on our main floor. Now the cold weather has arrived I cannot believe what a difference these new windows make. I found this companies name on Home Stars and they truly deserve the high star rating they presently have.

    Rating: 10/10


  • I couldn't be happier with Old West from start to finish. I had three estimates and Old West was very competitive. What impressed me the most and made me choose Old West was the professionalism and customer service from the first time I called to request an estimate. I'm so glad I chose Old West because of their professionalism and quality of work.

    Rating: 10/10


  • We replaced 5 old windows in our century home with white vinyl casements. Rick was very patient with us as we shopped around and tried to make a decision and always responded to emails quickly. He was also able to speed up the installation with an earlier than planned date and Jeremy and his great team of quiet and tidy installers completed the job in a single day.

    Rating: 10/10


  • We were very pleased with Old West Windows & Door Ltd. right from the start to finish. We can honestly say that our experience with Old West was the most amazing and satisfying contract work we have ever had done. We would recommend Old West to anyone who is contemplating replacing windows in their home.

    Rating: 10/10

    Larry Danderson

  • Very pleased with the entire process! As indicated in previous reviews, Rick is extremely professional and knowledgeable. He works with you to find the best window options that will meet your needs without any sales pressure - incredible that the company owner has such a "hands-on" approach with customers.

    Rating: 10/10

    D Denoon

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Old West Windows & Doors Calgary
(403) 262-3933
#8, 2316 – 27 Avenue NE
Calgary, AB, T2E 7A7

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