If you are in the market for new or replacement windows, there’s a lot to take into consideration. As little as 20 years ago, the options were pretty limited, and windows didn’t do much other than give you a view of the outside world.
Today’s residential windows offer so much more: safety, energy efficiency, and beauty.
As a long-time window cleaning service in Allen, we know all about the most popular new styles of windows for homes. In this post we will also go into detail about window treatments that improve energy efficiency and extend the life of your windows.
Types of Window Panes
For homes, there are three window pane options:
- Single Pane Windows
- Single pane used to be the only option available for residential windows. They are still available, often considered “builder grade” because they are inexpensive.
- Single pane windows are not very energy efficient without special treatments, and they offer little by way of safety. With these windows, only one layer of glass stands between the inside of your home and a lawnmower-slung rock, poorly thrown baseball, or falling tree limb (or a burglar).
Double Pane Windows
Double panes are a great choice for residential windows. They are more energy efficient than single pane windows, and they offer more security for your home. Even if the outer pane gets broken, it can be repaired in your time, without the worry of pests or weather getting in.
They are more expensive than single pane windows, but still a great value for the benefits they offer. Window coatings and gas filings will reflect UV rays and increase efficiency even more.
Triple Pane Windows
Triple pane windows are the most expensive residential windows on the market, but they are also the most energy efficient. Some homeowners swear that the cost of their triple pane windows is offset by the energy savings they enjoy throughout the year.
Triple panes reflect up to 90% of sunlight and can drastically reduce your energy costs, so if you are building a new home or replacing old windows, it’s worth your time to at least research this style of window to see if it is a good investment for your future.
Other Residential Window Options
Not only do you need to decide the number of panes that is optimal for your home, but you will also need to decide if window treatments are worth spending a little extra upon installation.
Window Gas Filler
Gas filler is sometimes added between the panes of multi-pane windows. Adding a viscous gas between the pains reduces convection of heat between the panes of double and triple pane windows. Only a professional is qualified to add window gas filler between panes.
Argon and krypton are the two most common gases used, although some window installation companies also use nitrogen or xenon. Argon is less expensive and normally used for larger spaces between double panes, while krypton, more expensive, is used more commonly between triple panes. The two are sometimes mixed to reduce the cost.
These gases are non-toxic and odorless, so they pose no threat to anyone in your home. They do leak at a very low rate (around 1% per year), so you will need to have more gas added to your windows periodically.
Window Spacer Systems
A spacer system is used to separate the panes in multi-pane windows. This has several benefits:
Increases sound absorption. This is great if you have noisy neighbors…or if you are the noisy neighbors!
Stabilizes temperature within your home. This reduces your heating and cooling bill.
Reduces stress on the window sealants. A spacer system creates a tighter seal, taking some of the stress away from the window’s built-in sealants, and it keep gas fillers inside as well, if you have chosen to have a window gas filler added.
Older windows use aluminum, which is neither flexible nor good for thermalizing. Therefore, the seals let in heat and cold from outside, not to mention small bugs. Modern spacer systems are made of specialized foam that can expand and contract as needed, creating an impenetrable seal.
Window Glass Coating
A glass coating over your windows reduces the amount of heat absorbed by the windows so it doesn’t radiate into your home. These coatings work similar to window tinting. This relieves your HVAC system, especially during the summer. Most glass coatings are made of some sort of metallic oxide, which reflects the sun’s UV rays. Not only does this keep your home cooler, but it will prevent carpets and upholstery from fading.
Glass coating comes standard on many new window styles. If you purchase windows that are not coated, one can be added easily. Just check the manufacturer’s warranty to make sure it won’t be invalidated by such provisions.
If you are choosing between two or more types of glass coating, remember that the more expensive it is, the better material it is made from. Builder grade metallic oxide tends to be made from tin and will not be as effective, whereas the better option is silver oxide, which will cost more.
Professional Window Installation
Professional window installers can answer all your questions about the style of window and the available options so that you can make the most economical choice for your home and budget. These experts see different window styles and options every day, so they are the best source for finding out what is worth the money versus what is a waste.
Most will provide a free estimate for the installation of your new windows. Even if they charge a nominal fee for the estimate, it is a good investment. After an estimate, you can compare prices of two or more options and figure up the estimated energy savings for each of the options.
No matter which window options you choose, we recommend professional window installation so you can be sure that the work is done right. More specifically, if you opt for professional installation, your window warranty should be valid if a problem occurs later on.