Choosing Between Single or Double Pane Windows

Choosing the right window for your home and lifestyle can be quite overwhelming. There are so many things to take into account. style, comfort, efficiencyand the quality of materials all play a major role in customer satisfaction.

Important details such as window type, the amount of sunlight that falls through the window and double or single glazing can make the difference in your energy costs and the appearance and comfort of your home.

Single or double glazing?


If you are not sure about the difference between single pane windows and double pane windows, the following guide can help you make the wisest choice for your family.

Single windows

Single pane windows are made with a single layer of glass. They come in the same styles and materials as double glazing, but they are not as efficient at blocking out noise or seasonal temperatures. Their initial cost is lower, making them a good choice for those who need to stay within a strict budget, but over time, utility bills will get higher.

Single-glazed treatments have no insulation. When you only have one pane of glass, outside temperatures and noise will more easily affect the inside of your home. If you live in a quiet neighborhood and your seasonal temperatures remain mild and consistent year-round, single-pane windows may suffice. However, the cost of heating or cooling your home is directly related to the type of window you choose.

Can you still buy single-pane windows?

Although this is an older window style, you can still buy single pane windows. There are even some installations where this is the preferred window type.

If someone chooses a single-pain window, they are usually motivated almost entirely by cost. Because they are less expensive to install and purchase, they are a great option for someone looking to restore and refurbish a home or remodel on a budget, especially if the home is in a mild climate.

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Can you insulate a single window?

If you need to install single-pane windows, or if you already have them and can’t replace them yet, you can insulate them with window film. This is a short-term solution that can provide an extra layer of insulation on any window. A single window with window film will not match the insulation of a double-pane window, but it is better than a bare single window.

Double glass

Double glazing, also known as double glazing, comes with two panes of glass. These panes are separated from each other by an air-filled space. That air traps the colder winter temperatures or summer heat between the two windows, creating a barrier that prevents heat and cold from affecting your home. Energy savings over single glazing can be as high as 24 percent in cold climates in winter and 18 percent in summer in warm climates. This results in lower energy costs and less noise, which can be an important consideration if you live on a busy street.

Double-pane window treatments initially cost more than single-pane windows because they use twice as many materials, but the insulation and strength they provide can make them a much better buy. In fact, with double glazing you don’t need to run your air conditioner as often and your heating can be set to a lower temperature because the air in your home is more constant.

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What is the average cost of double glazing?

Costs vary based on model and insulation, but you can expect to pay anywhere from $450 to $600 per double-pane window for a new installation. Replacements can range between $800 and $1,000.

Do double glazing really block noise?

We’ve said noise reduction is one of the benefits of double glazing, and it’s true, but there are a few things you should know.

A double-paned window forms a greater barrier between you and outside noise (and vice versa), but it is not soundproof.

The thickness of the glass used in the double glazing also matters. The thicker the windows, the more sound insulation you get. But you will still hear some outside noise.

Do double glazing show condensation?

You’ve probably seen double pane windows showing signs of condensation between the panes. This is a sign that the windows need repair or replacement. Normally functioning double glazing will not show condensation. This usually happens when a seal between the panes of glass is broken.

So normally functioning double glazed windows will not show condensation or mould. You can see through the glass as if it were a single pane of glass, but you will enjoy the extra insulation.

Single Pane vs. Double Pane Energy Savings

As mentioned earlier, double glazed windows are more energy efficient than single glazed windows. You may still be wondering if single glazing is energy efficient at all?

Single glazing protects your home from the outside weather to some extent. They just don’t go as far as double glazing. Compared to single glazing, double glazing insulates your home much better. This results in reduced airflow and energy consumption.

Therefore, if you are looking for energy efficiency, which most people are, double glazing is the way to go. You may pay a little more upfront for the windows themselves, but you’ll experience the savings on your energy bill for years to come. The amount you save will depend on the size of your home and the windows you choose, but you could save $100 to $400 annually on an electric heating bill.

Single glazing versus double glazing

Now that we’ve discussed the differences between the two, it’s time to decide which window is right for your home.

In most cases, this is the double-glazed window. Not only is it the standard these days, but it also offers the most insulation, helping you save money on your energy bill in the long run.

But if you really need to replace windows and you don’t have to worry about energy costs, a few windows may suffice.

If you’re trying to decide between the two, give us a call. We can help you determine whether it is better to replace old double glazing with new single glazing. Or maybe you need help deciding whether it makes financial sense to install single windows. Once we crunch the numbers, the answer will be clear.

R-value on single versus double glazing

If you’re trying to decide between single and double windows, the R-value should be on your radar. R-value is a measure of the insulation of a window. A window (or other building material) with a higher R-value provides better insulation or better resistance to heat flow.

Regardless of whether you buy single or double pane windows, the R-value is important because it can vary from window to window based on the thickness of the glass.

Just like the energy efficiency class on appliances, the R-value will tell you about a window’s energy efficiency compared to others.

Here is an example of single versus double R values.

Single pane 1/4″ thick .90 R-value

Double pane ¼” thick 1.7 R-value

As you can see, there is a big difference between the R-value of a single window and a double window, all other things being equal.

You would undoubtedly feel this difference in the room with either window installed.

How do you know if your window is single or double glazed?

Don’t worry if you’re replacing windows and trying to figure out what you currently have. It is quite easy to tell if your windows are single or double glazed. You may not be able to see the two separate panes (even though they are there), but there’s a little trick to help you figure out if your windows are double or single pane.

Look at the outside edge of your window. Here the glass meets the window frame. If you have double glazing, you will see a metal divider in the center of the outside edges of the window. Single-pane windows do not have this metal partition.

And if you’re still not sure, think about the age of your windows. If they were installed before 1980, they are almost certainly single glazing.

Can you replace single pane windows with double glazing?

You can certainly replace single glazing with double glazing. In fact, it is recommended. The big advantage of knowing your current window type is that you can anticipate the amount of change your new windows will offer. The switch from a single to a double pane should result in significant energy savings.

You should not sacrifice quality for cost. Bad seals, badly fitted glass or other defects can negate your energy savings or even cause condensation between the panes.

To achieve the energy savings target, the windows should be replaced on all of your windows at the same time.

Call us today for a no-obligation discovery session with one of our window and door experts.

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