Double glazing is one of the most effective ways to improve the energy efficiency of your home. Double-glazed windows help you maintain the desired temperature inside your house, which in turn, reduces your reliance on air conditioning units and heaters.
If you’re a homeowner who’s wanting to invest in insulated glass units (IGUs), you’re going to be faced with a choice between double-glazed windows and triple-glazed windows.
At first glance, triple glazing might seem like the better option. However, when you take into consideration other factors like your budget and the maintenance costs, you’ll quickly realise that there’s more to this decision than just the number of window panes.
In this blog, we’re going to compare the pros and cons of double-glazed and triple-glazed windows. Hopefully, this basic guide will give you a better idea of which IGU is right for you and your property.
- Good value for money
According to Sustainability Victoria, double-glazed windows can reduce heat loss or heat gain by around 30% when compared to single glazed windows. This can significantly reduce a household’s energy consumption and lower its monthly energy bills.
Despite the energy saving properties of IGUs, some people are still put off by the initial costs. However, according to Canstar, installing double-glazed windows in a new home might only take five years or so to pay back in energy savings. This five-year period is a small price to pay when factoring in your home’s improved energy efficiency and your reduced carbon footprint.
To further shed light on this issue, the University of Melbourne conducted a study on the long-term financial effects of retrofitting homes with the purpose of achieving a six-star energy efficient rating. The study found that even retrofitted homes will eventually pay back the costs of the upgrades in 14 years. If 14 years sounds too long, do keep in mind that these upgrades include other features other than double-glazed windows.
- Easier to install and maintain
Compared to triple-glazed windows, double-glazed units are easier to install. Since they’re lighter, double-glazed windows can be transported and carried with ease. As a result of this, the cost of installing double-glazed windows is generally lower.
Since double-glazed windows are easier to handle, they’ll also be much easier to replace. In contrast, triple-glazed windows have a complex and heavy structure. As a result, if a triple-glazed unit breaks, it will take more effort to re-install. This extra effort could increase repair costs.
Additionally, you’ll need a strong window frame to support the weight of a triple-glazed window. You will have to pay a premium for strong frame materials like fiberglass or high-quality vinyl. Installing and repairing these top-grade materials will most definitely increase maintenance costs.
- Reduced soundproofing
Some homeowners will invest in IGUs for the secondary purpose of reducing noise. While double-glazed windows have some noise filtering properties, they’re not as effective as triple-glazed units.
So, if you’re looking for complete peace and quiet in your home, double-glazed windows might not be what you’re looking for.
- Added safety and security
Due to the air in between the window panes, triple-glazed IGUs are quite difficult to break. If, for example, a football hits a triple-glazed window, the air inside of it will act as a shock absorber. The air will evenly distribute the force throughout the windowpane, thus counteracting the deformation caused by the football.
So, for a trespasser to break into your home, they will need more than just brute force. To break triple-glazed windows, they will need to take a sharp item and tap the corner of the window with it. They will have to do this multiple times in order to break all the windowpanes. This takes a lot of time and effort to do. Not to mention, the sound of multiple glass panes shattering will likely draw the attention of your neighbours. Because of the risk involved, most trespassers will likely be discouraged from breaking into your property.
- Lower u-value
The u-value is used to measure a material’s (or a product’s) thermal transmittance. Thermal transmittance is the rate of transfer of heat through an object. The lower the u-value is, the more effective the object is as a thermal insulator.
Triple-glazed windows typically have a u-value of 0.6. This is quite a bit lower than the u-value of double-glazed windows which is around 2.8
From this, we can say that triple-glazed windows are more energy efficient than their double-glazed counterparts. They can retain more heat in the winter, repel more heat in the summer, further reduce your energy consumption and lower your power bills even more.
On paper, triple-glazed windows are a superior product. However, there are other factors that you still need to consider.
- Disproportionate costs and limited supply
For many homeowners, the cost of triple-glazed windows may be too high to justify the benefits.
This problem is exacerbated by the fact that triple-glazed windows are not as widespread as double-glazed units. This means that many homeowners will not have access to local manufacturers that supply triple-glazed windows. This can increase the costs of triple glazing by a significant amount.
If you have a limited budget or if you don’t have access to locally manufactured triple-glazed IGUs, double-glazed windows may be the best option for you.
There you have it, a basic comparison between double-glazed and triple-glazed windows. As you can tell, it’s not as simple as just choosing the one with the most windowpanes. You have to consider your budget, the accessibility of the product and, of course, your personal needs and preferences. If you’re still unsure about which one to get, we recommend that you talk to your local window manufacturer.