If you're looking to purchase windows you might be curious about the pros and cons of triple pane windows.
Energy efficient windows are very popular because they can help you save money on heating, but are triple windows a gimmick or are they actually worth the extra cost?
Triple pane windows can be a great option if you’re planning to live in your home for a long time or if you live in a more extreme climate. However, triple pane windows are much more expensive than double pane windows making them not worth it for many how. Some homes will also need additional renovations to make sure their frames can hold up the extra weight of triple pane windows – adding to the overall cost.
There are many factors to consider when deciding whether or not to get triple pane windows.
Here we’ll go into detail about what triple pane windows are and what you should think about before deciding to invest.
What Exactly Is A Triple Pane Window?
First, let’s talk about what triple pane windows actually are. In essence, triple pane windows have 3 panes of glass.
The space between the panes has either air or gas (usually krypton, argon or xenon) to help keep the windows stable but also to act as insulation to keep the cold air out and the warm air in – or visa versa.
These gaps between the windows improves energy efficiency and can act like a sound barrier.
These windows are also referred to as triple-glazed windows!
Are Triple Pane Windows More Energy Efficient?
Both double and triple-pane windows are much more energy efficient than single pane windows. But do triple pane windows really make that much of a difference that they are worth the significant increase in cost or are they only a little bit better and a bit of a gimmick?
Double pane windows usually have a R-value of 3-3.8 whereas triple pane windows have and R-value closer to 5 and can even go as high as 7-8.
This is important because windows are responsible for up to 40% of your home’s energy and heat loss. Reducing the amount of energy that escapes through your windows can help you save money.
The insulation in a room is usually only going to be as good as its weakest link – and this weakest link is usually the windows.
You also need to consider the solar heat gain which is measured by the solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC). In colder climates you want a higher SHGC to allow more solar heat into the building through the windows.
It’s also important to remember that how windows are installed can impact energy efficiency. If you choose triple pane windows, you must ensure your home can handle the additional weight.
How Expensive Are Triple Pane Windows?
The cost of triple pane windows can be between $500-$1000 per window, with the average-sized triple pane window costing about $800. This is far more than the average double pane window, which costs around $450.
Triple pane windows cost more because of the additional pane of glass, as well as the more complex installation process. You also have to be careful that your home can handle the increased weight.
The cost would increase even further if you need to remodel your window frame to hold the triple pane windows. However, most homes are already fully equipped to handle double pane windows.
Triple pane windows can cost anywhere from 15-50% more than a standard double pane window installation.
While it’s true that triple pane windows are more energy efficient, the fact is that it could take up to 30 years to start seeing a financial return on your initial window installation cost. If you plan on staying in your home for the rest of your life, then triple pane windows could be a good investment.
Do Triple Pane Windows Help With Soundproofing?
Both triple and double pane windows can help significantly reduce noise. But do triple pane windows actually have more noise reduction than their double pane counterpart?
Double pane windows have an average sound transmission class (STC) rating of 26-32. The higher the STC rating, the better the window reduces noise.
While it might seem that more space equals more noise reduction, that’s not the case. The average STC for triple pane windows is similar to a double pane.
While some triple pane windows have an STC of 34-38, is the difference noticeable? Consider this:
- An STC difference of +/- 3 is barely perceptible
- An STC difference of +/- 5 is audible
- An STC difference of +/- 10 is twice as loud
So if you currently have double pane windows with an STC of 28 and you’re considering triple pane windows with an STC of 32, the difference is audible but potentially not loud enough to justify the cost.
Are Triple Pane Windows Difficult To Install?
Proper window installation is crucial for any home. Most homes have window frames already equipped to fit a double pane window.
Because triple pane windows have an additional panel of glass, they’re usually both larger and heavier than a standard single- or double-pane window. Your home has to be able to accommodate the extra pane structurally.
You want to be sure you’re hiring a window contractor with experience in triple pane window installations if you choose to upgrade to triple pane windows. Improper window installation could result in an incorrect seal or improper window functioning.
If your triple pane window isn’t installed correctly, it could negate any energy-saving benefits you might get from choosing a triple pane window for your home renovation!
Are triple pane windows a gimmick? Not necessarily. However, keep the following in mind:
- Triple pane windows can cost anywhere from 15-50% more than a standard double pane window installation.
- If you’re planning to live in your home for 20+ years or live in a more extreme climate, then triple pane windows could be a good investment.
However, double pane windows will likely work just as well for your needs if you live in a moderate climate. Plus, double pane windows offer approximately the same amount of noise reduction as triple pane windows.
Overall, speaking to a professional window contractor and assessing your home is essential. Whether your house can hold up to triple pane windows without additional renovations is also necessary to consider.
If you simply want to improve your home’s energy efficiency without paying too much, or if you’re not planning on spending 20-30 years in your home, then you’ll be just fine with double pane windows!