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 consider. style, comfort, efficiencyand the quality of materials all play a strong role in customer satisfaction.

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

Single or double windows?

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

Single glazing

Single windows are made with a single layer of glass. They are available 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 on a strict budget, but over time, utility bills will increase.

Single glass 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 constant year-round, single-glazed 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 glass?

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

If a person opts for a single window, they are usually motivated almost entirely by the cost. Because they are cheaper to install and buy, this is a great option for someone looking to restore and redecorate 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 glass?

If you need to install single 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 glass with window film does not match the insulation of a double glass, but is better than a naked single glass.

Double windows

Double glazing, also known as double glazing, comes with two panes. 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 and forms a barrier that keeps the heat and cold from affecting your home. Energy savings over single-pane windows can be up to 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 glazing initially costs more than single glazing as they use twice as many materials, but the insulation and strength they provide can make them a much better buy. With double glazing, you don’t even have to use 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 with a new installation. Replacements can range between $800 and $1,000.

Do double glazing really block sound?

We’ve already mentioned that blocking out sound is one of the benefits of double glazing, and it’s true, but there are a few things you should know.

A double-glazed window is more of a barrier between you and the outside noise (and vice versa), but it’s 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 noise from outside.

Does double glazing show condensation?

You have probably seen double glazing showing signs of condensation between the panes. This is a sign that the windows are ready for repair or replacement. Normally functioning double glazing will not show condensation. This usually happens when a seal between the glass panels is broken.

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

Single pane vs. double pane Energy Savings

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

Single panes protect 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 in advance for the windows themselves, but you will 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 end up saving $100 to $400 a year on an electric heating bill.

Single pane versus double pane

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 provides the most insulation, saving you money on your energy bill in the long run.

But if you really need to replace windows and don’t worry about energy costs, single pane windows can suffice.

If you’re trying to choose 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 you may need help determining whether it makes financial sense to install single-pane windows. Once we crack the numbers, the answer will be obvious.

R-value on single vs. double windows

If you’re trying to choose 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, in other words a better resistance to heat flow.

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

Much like the energy efficiency rating of appliances, the R-value tells you about the energy efficiency of a window 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 no doubt 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’s pretty easy to tell if your windows are single or double glazed. You may not actually be able to see the two separate panes (even though they are there), but there is a little trick to help you figure out whether your windows are double or single glazed.

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

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

Can you replace single windows with double windows?

You can certainly replace single glazing with double glazing. In fact, it is recommended. The big advantage of knowing your current window type is being able to anticipate the level of change your new windows will bring. Switching from a single pane to a double pane should provide significant energy savings.

You shouldn’t sacrifice quality for cost. Bad seals, poorly installed glass or other defects can destroy your energy savings or even cause condensation between the windows.

To achieve the intended energy savings, the replacement of windows on all your windows must be done 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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