Is it really a given to state that all triple pane windows are energy efficient? Not quite. Triple glazed windows are a step up in performance, comfort and durability in windows from the standard double glazed windows that are offered as a typical window in Canada. A triple pane window consists of three panes of glass with spacers placed in between the panes. The window frame that holds the triple pane in place comes in different material options such as vinyl (PVC), aluminum, wood and fiberglass. Triple glazed windows usually have a larger glazing pocket than double pane windows giving added insulation to your home as well as better comfort value. They are also great for saving energy and are an exceptional solution for keeping the cold out and the comfortable temperatures inside. With all the great features and benefits of triple glazed windows, the question is: are all triple glazed windows the same?
The answer is no, they all differ from company to company. These are some of the factors to consider when looking for a quality triple glazed window that is built to outperform any other:
Choosing the right frame material is the most crucial aspect to consider in a window. Fiberglass frames are not only the most durable and long lasting, they are also the most energy efficient window material used in the industry. It is important to note that the stronger the frame is, the more weight the frame can hold without warping overtime. Due to the fact that a triple pane fiberglass window is heavier than a double pane, a strong frame is needed to successfully withstand the weight of a triple glazed window. If a PVC frame is used for a triple glazed window, the window will ultimately sag. Usually an aluminum or steel reinforcement would be used, but both materials are conductors, reducing the energy efficiency of the window. Triple pane adds approximately 3 pounds per square foot, demanding a strong frame material such as fiberglass with a design to support the heavy duty weight of a triple pane window. Fiberglass frames also come in two variations; open back and closed back. Closed back frames assure much more durability whereas an open back frame is more flimsy and gives much less support.Type of Spacer Used
Having a good quality spacer for triple pane windows is also an important factor to consider. The most common spacers used are the single seal spacers, warm edge spacer, and premium super spacer. The single seal spacer is made using enclosed laminated material and is applied with heat and compression, however it is not successful in achieving good insulation results. The warm edge spacer is good at maintaining its flexibility through weather changes and atmospheric temperatures. The premium super spacer is made from a superior quality silicone resistant to UV light oxidation. Unlike other spacers used such as warm edge spacers, the premium super spacer offers extreme durability and great argon gas retention in order to acquire high energy efficiency.
Read more about this: Glazing Options
Compound sealant is a material used to seal the sealed unit around the perimeter, joining to the back of the spacer. This compound is the main component to preserve the air-tightness of the sealed unit. Recent technology offers a sealant that ensures argon gas retention that is better than other conventional sealants used by many companies (i.e poly sulfide). Especially with triple pane windows, the sealant contributes to the overall strength of the window.Gas fills
Gas fillings are specific types of gas that are injected between the panes of glass in a window. Krypton gas and argon gas are two types of gases that are used for added thermal performance and each one has its benefits. Argon gas is used more often because it is cheaper than krypton gas as well as its heavier density than air, providing more thermal efficiency between the panes of glass. Krypton gas is a more expensive option, however it is also a better insulator than argon gas. Krypton gas also performs in a more effective manner than argon gas where there are small air gap spaces. Taking krypton gas’ price into consideration, argon gas is still a good option for triple pane windows that have a large air space.Window energy ratings
Good triple pane windows should offer an insulating U value of around U-0.13 to U-0.18 with an SHGC of 0.60 to 0.65. Along with this, the air infiltration rate also must be taken into consideration. Air infiltration is the amount of air that leaks through the window. Infiltration leads to increased heating and cooling loads when an indoor space needs to be cooled or heated. Fiberglass products are the best to insure that the air infiltration rate stays the same over a long period of time.