What is triple glazing?
As we approach the summer months insulating the home for next winter, alongside other home improvements, comes to mind for homeowners. The beast from the east caused many issues across the country and certainly tested everyone’s insulation and boiler! As a result, many double glazing and home improvement companies are extolling the virtues of triple glazing, offering special deals and encouraging the average homeowner to upgrade their double glazing. We hope to provide a guide to triple glazing to help you make an informed decision about its viability for your home.
What is triple glazing?
As the name suggests, triple glazed windows are made up of glass which includes up to three different layers. Some triple glazed windows include a double layered glass with a thin film positioned in the middle of these layers. This is a low emissive film. Triple glazed windows have been popular since they provide better insulation.
Triple glazed windows are perfect in areas which experience extreme weather conditions. In Scandinavian countries, for example, it is now mandatory to install triple glazing in all new homes. Experts have determined that for tripled glazed windows to really do magic, Krypton must be used instead of argon as the filler gas. The frame must be insulated as well to ensure the highest level of energy efficiency.
How much do triple glazed windows cost?
The average cost of installing triple glazing for a 2-bedroom home is around £2,500, depending upon the frame materials. To install triple glazing in a 4-bedroom house with 15 windows you can expect to pay around £6,500 – 8,000, depending on frames and profiles.
Also Read: UPVC French doors – a buyers guide
Triple glazed sealed units are 50% heavier than double glazing which means that hardware, such as hinges need to be more robust, and a responsible company will use more labor, thus increasing the cost even more. Extra panes, heavier frames, and a trickier fitting process mean the cost of triple glazing can be up to 40 percent more than double glazing but is unlikely to translate to 40 percent bigger savings on your energy bills, subject to the design of your home and materials used.
Why should I consider it?
That really depends on whether you want to have an ultra-quiet home and energy-efficient windows. If you are expecting the windows to pay for themselves in the short term, you are bound to be disappointed because the saving accumulates over a matter of years. However, if you are thinking of replacing your windows then the cost of triple glazing is comparable with the cost of double glazed units
Some of the reasons people in the UK are opting for triple glazing include:
- Improved Heat Insulation – Triple glazed windows consist of three different glass panes which contain insulating air pockets in the middle section. Since gas is one of the most effective insulators, an extra air pocket can reduce the amount of heat leaking through. This makes triple glazed windows highly effective and can save energy.
- Noise Reduction – Windows also allow noise to enter your home, as we are all aware. This is because most windows are made up of very thin glass membranes. Due to the presence of air pockets and extra layers of glass in triple glazed windows, the amount of noise leaking into your home can be significantly reduced.
- Draft – As your windows get older, they begin to develop small leaks on their edges. This can easily generate drafts. When you’re using triple glazed windows, this won’t be a problem in your home. Since these windows are properly sealed and consist of an additional layer, they don’t generate drafts.
- Condensation – Due to the difference between external and internal temperatures, condensation may be formed on windows. Since triple glazed windows have three panels with additional air pockets, heat does not seep through at a fast pace. Therefore, the temperature difference is significantly reduced, leaving your windows clear and dry.
Is there really a positive environmental impact compared to double glazing?
From an environmental point of view, triple glazing, which uses 50% more glass than double glazing, needs 90% more embodied energy in production. Whilst you may see a reduction in energy bills (on average 10% compared to double glazing) and your home is warmer, the cost of manufacture is likely to outweigh the
Another point to consider is that glazing of any kind is only as good as the materials used and the quality of the fitting. Poorly fitted triple glazing, which has not been sealed correctly, can be as redundant as single glazing and outperformed by top quality double glazing. Glazing is required to perform as part of wider energy-saving measures. There’s little point investing in the most hi-tech glazing technology if your walls and roof are without proper insulation. If you are hoping that triple glazing will improve your carbon footprint and energy efficiency on its own I’m afraid you will be disappointed!
Other things to consider
Essentially it is a personal choice whether a triple is better than double glazing in the UK. Most home improvement companies will now offer triple glazing and explain why you ‘need’ it in your home. However, the National Federation of Glazers have noted that triple glazing is no more effective than double glazing unless insulated frames are also used (http://www.nfoglon.org.uk/Triple%20Glazing%20factsheet.pdf)
But there are a few main points to consider:
- If you’ve already got good double glazing, triple glazing will not offer huge benefits.
- Triple glazing doesn’t pay for itself, but neither does double.
- Triple glazing is usually more expensive.
- If you want to get rid of cold spots in an otherwise well-heated house, or you have lots of noise outside, triple glazing is an option.
There are other ways of increasing the efficiency of your glazing without adding an extra pane and chances are, many of them will be cheaper, offer a better return on investment and contribute fewer obstacles to fitting. Adding special coatings to the glass to stop heat escaping, filling the cavities between the two glass panes with an inert gas, such as Krypton, instead of air and using spacers to enhance heat retention are more cost-effective ways to improve energy efficiency in the average home.