With so many of us trying to be greener, it’s no wonder that most homes nowadays have some form of double glazing. This is actually one of the most important ways of creating a space that has good thermal properties and keeps us snug and warm in winter.
Just a little heat loss means we can start paying out more on our utility bills. In fact, poor performing double glazing can add as much as a couple of hundred pounds to your heating bills over a year.
It’s not just keeping is us warm that double glazing is well-known for, however. It’s great for home security and, if you live in a busy city, is important in reducing the amount of noise coming from the street outside.
You might be surprised to learn that double glazing is a fairly modern development. Prior to the 1980s, many homes simply had single pane windows that were hardly thermally efficient at all.
How Double Glazing Works
Any double glazed window uses two sheets of toughened glass with a gap between them. This gap is normally about 16mm and the space is filled with an inert gas like argon. The reason for this is that these gasses have low thermal conductivity compared to normal air and they’re cheap to use.
When choosing your double glazing, you need to look at a few things if you want to make sure you get the right installation for your needs. Most double glazed panels are highly energy efficient nowadays and reputable companies will be clear about what sort of product you are getting. There’s less difference in the market than there used to be just a decade ago.
There are not that many homes nowadays in the UK that don’t have some form of double glazing. The choice is often whether you want to update an old system and put in new windows.
It’s not just the glass you need to look at but what materials the frames are made of. For example, you can get uPVC, wood or aluminium ones and each has its own great properties. Aluminium double glazed windows, for example, are slimmer and lighter but no less durable. uPVC are a great budget option if you have limited finances.
The important part of choosing new double glazed windows is their energy efficiency. This comes down to what are called the u-values, also known as heat transfer coefficients. Essentially, this relates to the amount of heat that gets transferred from one side of the window to the other. The lower the value, the less heat transfer there is and the more energy efficient you can expect your home to be. Of course, what this means is that low u-value homes tend to be a little more expensive than higher u-value ones.
Is Triple Glazing Worth It?
You can expect to also pay more for triple glazing but, fortunately, the cost has come down quite considerably in the last few years. This uses three panes of glass instead of just two and provides better thermal properties as well as cutting down more noise from outside. A lot will depend on the area where you are having your glazing installed – if you have a window facing a busy road, for example, you may want to consider triple glazing.
Updating your windows is a fairly substantial investment, of course, but can save you a lot of money in utility costs over the years. Most windows nowadays come with a healthy warranty and help protect your home from heat loss with much more efficient u-values.