Understanding More About Gas-Filled Windows

Faced with rising energy costs and environmental concerns, more and more homeowners now consider new ways in which they can increase the efficiency of their homes. Upgrading older windows to double- or even triplepaned versions represents a great way to boost insulation and thus energy efficiency. Filling the void space in these windows with an insulating gas such as argon produces even better results.

The benefits of gas-filled windows are quite clear where insulation is concerned. Yet many homeowners hesitate to upgrade to gas windows simply because they don’t understand them fully. Read this overview to learn more about the benefits and drawbacks of gas-filled windows.

Argon Gas Benefits

In most regards, gas-filled windows function just like their traditional double-paned counterparts. The key difference, as noted above, lies in the introduction of argon gas into the void space between the two panes.

Argon gas represents a stable gas with a weight greater than that of air. The higher weight of argon gas gives it several distinct benefits when sandwiched inside of windows. For one, it possesses a thermal conductivity 67 percent lower than that of regular air, a factor that lowers the U-factor of your windows. U-factor describes the relative thermal conductivity. In general, the lower the U-factor, the better job a material will do at insulating.

Argon-filled windows also reduce the tendency for condensation to form on the inside of windows, reducing the likelihood of the window trim experiencing moisture-related problems. This saves you on maintenance and replacement costs. The argon gas also boosts the window’s ability to block the transfer of sound, resulting in a quieter environment inside of your home.

Argon Gas Concerns

You may be concerned about the safety of argon gas because the term “gas” sometimes has negative connotations. Fortunately, argon gas is completely nontoxic and it poses little health risk to you and your family. In the event of a broken window pane, you remain safe. You need not have any concerns about the unlikely event of exposure to argon gas.

A more pressing concern involves the long-term viability of argon-filled windows. Over time, leakage may occur and this affects the windows’ continued performance. To protect against this, argon-filled windows tend to have much tighter seals around their perimeter than regular windows.

Nonetheless, it’s impossible to prevent a certain amount of gas from escaping. Studies estimate that gas-filled windows may lose up to 1 percent of their argon content per year. The exact number will vary depending on a variety of different conditions, including the following:

  • Build quality of the window
  • Indoor climate
  • Sun exposure of the window
  • Geographical altitude

Even if a window does lose a full 1 percent of its gas per year, you won’t have to worry about replacement or refilling for at least a couple of decades. The National Glass Association states that an argon-filled window won’t experience any performance losses so long as it retains at least 80 percent of its gas. That means that, even at the maximum leakage rate, an argon window could last you 20 years before needing to be refilled.

Argon-filled windows won’t be the right choice for every homeowner. Yet it is important to closely consider the advantages they could offer your home. For more information about maximizing your windows’ energy efficiency, contact the industry experts at the Fischer Window and Door Store.