When we moved into our present house, we wondered what improvements might be needed to make the building more energy efficient. We live in east/central New York State and holding the heat in is a hot topic. if you will excuse the pun. Paying for expensive heating fuel without controlling heat loss is tantamount to heating the outdoors -and is painful.
The attic insulation is accesible and we could see it is sufficient. The walls are only four inches thick -typical for a 40 year old house. The standard then was to use 3-1/2 inches of fiberglass insulation, which is only barely adequate by today’s standard of six inch thick walls.
We were in the beginning stages of compiling a list of property improvements that we thought we would need to prioritize. One question that I couldn’t be sure of was how good the windows were. Were they energy efficient dual pane windows or only single pane? We wondered if we’d need to think about replacing the windows eventually if they proved to be only single pane glass. We hoped we wouldn’t have to rip into an old home renovation too soon.
What we do have is the aluminum framed ‘triple-track’ storm windows and screens. They provided a measure of energy efficiency to the windows. They are especially good when used in conjunction with dual pane windows.
What are Double Pane Windows? Why Do I Need Them?
A single pane offers no insulating properties at all. Double or, dual pane -or, double glazing windows have the ability to slow temperature transfer between the panes using a gap between the two sheets of glass. The gap is pumped free of air, which contains moisture and would fog up the window.
The space is filled with an inert, or noble gas, which is odorless and colorless. Depending upon the quality of the window unit, the gas used might be nitrogen, argon or krypton. Argon is considerably more heavy than nitrogen or dry air and krypton is much heavier than argon. It is the density of the heavy gas that slows the thermal conductivity from the innermost pane of glass to the outermost, or vice versa.
There is a lesser concentration of krypton than argon or nitrogen in the atmosphere and that fact contributes to the higher cost of the high R-value krypton filled panes.
How do you determine if you’re looking at dual pane or single pane windows?
I was shown how to tell if a window is a double glazing unit or just a single pane unit -or, for that matter, if it is a triple pane unit. Watch the accompanying video for a simple demonstration of how that is determined.
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