Are Triple Pane Windows Worth the Extra Cost?
If you are shopping for new windows, then you might ask whether triple-pane windows are worth their price. They do cost a little more money to purchase and install, but they do offer savings on your utility bills, lifestyle benefits, and other advantages.
It is a fair question to ask whether it additional up-front cost of Triple Pane Windows are worth it, especially when you have to replace multiple windows in your house. The simple answer is that triple-pane windows, when compared to double-pane, can save you hundreds of dollars each year on your utility bills by keeping in heat in the winter, holding in cool air in the summer, and saving you money on your energy bill. They also help with quality of life by suppressing outside noise.
What Are Triple Pane Windows?
A windowpane is a single sheet of glass which acts as a barrier between your home and the elements. Windows have multiple panes because each pane adds an extra element of protection. In fact, each window segment is tightly sealed, and most are filled with either argon or krypton gasses that act as heat-stoppers, better insulating your house. They insulate your home for both energy bill savings as well as they also help prevent exterior noise.
Recent developments in window production have helped to eliminate heat loss in the cold winter months. For homeowners who recently purchased a home, new windows are usually at the top of the 'to-do' list precisely because changing out old windows with new ones can create a more comfortable house.
All windows are coated in low-emissivity films, plastic films that contain metal or metal oxide. The Low-E film looks little more than tinting on the glass, but these films can reflect the solar heat in the summer and conserve the interior heat in the winter.
Triple-pane and double-pane windows share the same anatomy; both have sealed units made of panes of glass containing a heat stopping gas. But triple-pane windows add in another sealed unit. The addition of one extra layer can make all the difference in heating your home.
How Do Triple Pane and Double Pane Windows Differ?
There is Blocking Heat Loss - Triple pane windows provide an extra pane of glass coated with a low-emissivity film, and that extra pane can drastically prevent solar heat entering in the summer and can protect against heat loss in the winter. This loss of heat, and prevention of summer sun/solar heating, directly impact your utility bills in a positive way.
Because of this triple-pane windows have a greater R value, the construction industry's standard to measure a window's thermal resistance ability. Most double pane windows have an R-value ranging from 3 to 3.8, while triple pane windows have an R value in the 7-8 range. To put that into something more tangible, the difference between a double-pane window rated at an R value of 3 and an R value of 5 is 35% less heat loss. When compared to a double-pane window, triple pane windows can be 50% more efficient at blocking heat loss.
Reducing Condensation - Condensation is a sign of heat loss in windows, and may be a sign of a poorly preforming window. and yes, poorly performing windows also lead to your HVAC system needing to work extra hard, and your utility bills being extra costly. As the hot air inside your home meets the cold windowpane, beads of water develop on the glass. Triple-pane windows reduce heat transfer, reducing condensation on the glass. Triple-pane glass can not only keep out condensation, it can also keep moisture and humidity in your home. This comes in handy for cold, dry winters.
Creating a Quieter Home - Triple-paned windows create a tighter sealed envelop for your house by sealing out exterior air. Not only does this help to keep your house warm and your utility bills lower, a tightly sealed house is a more soundproofed house. Triple pane windows can significantly reduce noise pollution -- screeching tires, honking horns, your noisy neighbors. Since triple-pane windows have the extra sealed unit, they make a home more comfortable.
Whether you are looking into triple or double-paned windows, invest in Energy Star rated windows. While they may cost 10 to 20% more up front, the saving on your utility bills over the lifetime of the windows EASILY pays for that extra cost. They have Low-E film coatings, a layer of foam in the interior window frame, and argon or krypton gas in between the panes, and these features can help the performance of double pane windows.
The thickness of the panes of glass also factor into their energy efficiency. Many manufacturers offer triple pane windows at a 7/8" thickness, whereas the most energy efficient panes are between 1 1/4" and 1 3/8" thickness. Before purchasing windows for your home, examine each window, count the number of panes, the films on the panes, whether the space inside the sealed unit is filled with a gas, and, especially, the thickness of the pane.
Are Triple Pane Windows Worth the Additional Up-Front Cost?
Yes, they are worth the cost. Triple pane windows can reduce your heating costs, let less condensation in, and block out more noise compared to double-pane windows. On average, triple-pane windows provide a greater barrier to heat loss, which directly saves you money. Harsh winters test any window you install, and although triple-pane windows cost more (on average 10-15% more) the upfront cost might save you in the long run.
Triple pane windows, when professionally installed, can save the average household 2-4% on their energy bill each year. If you spend $1500 per year on your energy bills, this means that triple-pane windows may save you up to $75 per year on your utility bills. If you can’t afford to pay for them and are a low income family, you can apply for weatherization home energy improvements.
That being said, it may be more expensive to have triple-pane windows installed in your home. Triple pane windows are heavier and harder to lift for installation. The installation costs should be on your mind as you receive quotes from installers in your area. Make sure you figure out that extra additional install cost and shop around for the best deal. Or locate free grants to fix or replace windows.
Although triple pane windows cost more than double pane windows, in the long term they save the average homeowner more. Once the dust has settled, and you have paid the product and installation fees, if you purchase triple-pane windows then you will save money on your energy bill, while also living in a much more comfortable house. It is important to note that the average price of triple-pane windows continues to drop, getting closer and closer to the price tag of double-pane windows.
As more manufacturers switch to triple-pane windows, the average cost will continue to drop. If you're considering triple-pane but that upfront price tag makes you a little wary, it would be worth your while to factor the long-term savings into the equation.