Old West Windows & Doors Calgary News

Windows and doors articles, advice and updates from the team at Old West.

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. 

Double Glazed vs Triple Glazed Windows 

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. 

 
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