Windows 101: How Double Panes Provide Temperature Control

Ever growing energy costs have millions of people looking for good ways to decrease their homes’ consumption level. There are several methods that have been beneficial for those trying to save their wallets the burden of energy inflation. Even the littlest things like switching off lights when leaving the room, using fewer lamps at night, shutting down computers when not in use, adjusting the temperature on the thermostat, and closing doors behind you can make a big difference. However, the installation of new replacement windows, is one of the best ways to cut energy costs.

A single pane of glass does little to stop heat transfer, yet many old windows featured just one pane. If yours are among them, then your wallet is being hit hard, unnecessarily. Cold on one side and warm on the other, the air mingles at the surface of the glass in an attempt to equalize, which means that the heating or cooling elements in the home must work harder to maintain a comfortable temperature in the space. Insulating windows, however, were developed not all that long ago and have been embraced by the industry, tree huggers, and penny-pinchers alike. Two or more panes of glass are aligned in a frame with a space of air between them. The air is a barrier against heat transfer. It stops the meeting of cooler and warmer air and in essence, is a form of insulation.

To make the Round Rock windows even more effective, the dead space between the panes can be filled with a less conduction gas. Argon gas is known to change temperature very slowly, making heat transfer at the window almost non-existent. Argon is found in the air that we breathe every day, but in high concentration is makes for a fabulous insulator. New coatings can also be applied to the glass, which are capable of stopping different wavelengths of light from reaching the space within the home. Infrared light, which is the type that carries heat can either be denied entry, in warm climates like Texas, or can be kept in with a coating on the outer pane of glass in colder climates.

The panes of glass are not the only part of the window replacement responsible for slowing heat transfer. Old window frames were notorious for being major heat conductors. However, there are some materials that are less conductive than others. Aluminum frames went out of style when it was discovered that they let heat pass very easily. Today, vinyl and wood frames are far more widely used. Wood naturally acts as an insulator and vinyl is a manmade composite capable of the same thing. Aluminum frames are still around, but are treated with installed strips of insulation to slow the heat transfer.

For those who are truly concerned with energy efficiency and who have the money to invest, there is the option to buy triple paned windows which further slow the transfer of heat and can provide an ever greater energy savings. The same principles apply, but the extra pocket of air goes one step further in maintaining a comfortable temperature within the home.