When Can You Use Triple Glazed Windows

Triple Glazed Windows: A Wise Energy Decision

Triple Glazed Window section
Triple Glazed Window section. Photo Pinterest bjhwindows.co.uk

Triple Glazed Windows are used more frequently now as building codes are changing to adopt the Department of Energy's push toward R-5 windows. Triple glazed windows are beyond ASHRAE 189.1 and IGCC standards, although they are now required after the adoption of the 2012 IECC standard.Now and following latest code regulations, triple glazed windows are required in zones 7-8, furthermore DOE is also looking forward to expanding the usage of triple glazed windows with its Windows Volume Purchase Program. So what does actually a triple glazed window is? All triple glazed windows have three layers of glass, or two layers with a low-emissivity (Low-E) film suspended between them.

Types of Triple Glazed Windows

Triple glazed windows were first introduced in Sweden many years ago as colder climates receive the most benefits from these high performance windows, due to their improvement of interior comfort climate. Normally used in many constructions in Canada, and recently in the US, triple glazed windows are the best option when retrofitting in colder climates. The most common types of triple glazed windows are:

  1. Triple glazed using a traditional spacer in each glazing gap.
  2. Triple glazed, glass in the center, with an interior U-type channel that seals between the inboard and outboard lites.
  3. Triple glazed windows with a suspended attached film, that will be heated allowing it to shrink and tighten to visible clarity.

Benefits of Triple Glazed Windows

These windows, when properly installed, can offer the following benefits?

  • Triple glazed windows are stronger and more rigid than regular windows
  • Their performance is outstanding when installed in areas with extreme weather
  • Excellent resistance to condensation problems
  • Helps reduce sound transmission
  • Security enhancement, as the thicker area will be harder to break in if someone wants to do some property damage
  • Offer great energy savings when compared to regular and double glazed windows
  • Installing triple glazed windows is equivalent to upgrade walls and ceilings from R-20 to R-40( in certain circumstances)
  • Triple glazed windows can decrease relative heat loss
  • Increases thermal comfort inside the building as they will protect and prevent heat loss
  • A combination of double glazed windows and triple glazed windows can be used with the building orientation to obtain excellent results
  • Insulated hollow frames can increase triple glazed windows performance
  • Some manufacturers of triple glazed windows can offer a product with a R-13 value.

Cons of Triple Glazed Windows

Like any other building material, these windows can have some issues as well:

  • The weight of triple glazed windows can be a problem with weaker sash materials.
  • Triple glazed casements have width limitations
  • Slightly higher prices than double glazed window
  • Some casement type windows could have a restriction when opened.
  • If an existing structure has little or no wall insulation, triple glazed windows are not recommended
  • During warmer months, it might affect amount of heat getting in from the exterior thus increasing your HVAC usage cost
  • They are way heavier than traditional windows, so they will add cost to your installation labor budget.
  • Some builders have told us that due to the additional weight, sometimes the window hinges will eventually bend over time.
  • Their cost is higher and there are not a lot of models to choose from. Triple pane windows can cost about 25 to 30% more than comparable double-pane windows. Probably the extra cost might be justified only when the window is going to be installed in really cold climates.
  • Some builders have reported that because of its thickness, condensation might build up in the outside portion of the window

What to Look for When Buying a Triple Glazed Window

If you still want to go with a triple glazed window, then you will need to review the following areas:

  • Does it have argon gas in between panels?
  • Does it contain low-E Glass?
  • Verify the material of the center panel
  • How deep is the frame?
  • Spacer bars in between panels
  • Warranty offered by manufacturer