Where double pane windows suffice, what about triple?

January 13, 2012

Like white linen pants in Miami or wool coats in New York, some styles simply work better in certain locations. The same goes for your windows. This big home purchase is far from a one-size-fits-all proposition, and being informed before you buy can save you money upfront without costing you in utilities as the seasons change.

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North versus South: window experts face off

On the subject of window installation, the experts don't always agree. Jeff Moeslein, President of Pittsburgh, PA-based Legacy Remodeling, says, "I would always recommend triple pane windows over double pane windows if the goal is energy efficiency." In Pittsburgh's climate, with warm summers and freezing winters, it makes sense that an expert might shy away from double pane windows for home projects.

On the other hand, Phillip Walters, Sales Manager of the Window & Door Division of Collis Roofing sees totally different weather in Longwood, FL. He says, "In our Florida climates, double pane windows offer a better value over triple-pane windows … Triple pane are more efficient, but better-suited for Northern U.S. climates where harsh inclement weather is felt longer throughout the year." He notes that triple pane windows are 25 percent more expensive in his neck of the woods, and simply not always worth the expense in a more moderate climate.

Double pane windows for homes on the coast

Be sure to consider your location before committing to a window style. For example, Phillip's Floridian clients need to worry about hurricanes more than Jeff's in Pennsylvania. "[Triple pane windows are] likely very limited among coastal areas of Florida and Eastern seaboard where IMPACT Hurricane Windows are required," he explains. "The weight of the laminated glass only allows double pane to be provided in these areas."

The four-paned future of windows

If you think three panes of glass is a little extreme, just wait until quadruple pane windows become all the rage. Jeff says, "There is already a company called Northern Windows which offers a quad pane window that is intended for extreme northern climates."

Adding that the new window option comes with a hefty price tag, Jeff notes: "The energy cost savings that would be achieved by going from a triple to a quad pane window would not justify the added cost." However, if the price continues to come down, you could soon see quadruple pane windows in a store near you.


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