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Old 06-01-2013, 06:59 PM   #1
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Should I buy triple pane windows?


Iím in Michigan & planning on buying Wallside Windows insulated replacement windows.
The Salesman has advised against buying triple pane windows.
The increased cost to me is 25%.
One Salesman said the R rating for their double hung is 4, &
4.2 for the triple pane.

Their specifications are not anywhere in their brochures, &
I forgot to snap a picture of the energy efficiency sticker on the window pane.
Thatís probably just for the glass anyway.

Iíve received conflicting information from the Company.
The Salesman says the triple pane will provide some extra sound deadening, but not much in the way of energy efficiency heat/loss.
A different Salesman said, anyone saying triple pane insulate more than double panes against sound is mistaken (Sales professionals, gotta love Ďem).

It seems like a no brainer to me to buy the triple pane windows instead of the double pane windows, despite the info from the Salesmen.
Heating & cooling costs will continue to rise.
Iím thinking the profit margin must be less on the triple pane windows.

What do you think?

Thanks,
Uni

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Old 06-01-2013, 09:22 PM   #2
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Should I buy triple pane windows?


I think you need to go back and add your location to your profile for a better ansewer.
Just go to Quick links to edit.
I know in my area I've never seen anyone buy triple pane windows.

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Old 06-01-2013, 09:25 PM   #3
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Should I buy triple pane windows?


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Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
I think you need to go back and add your location to your profile for a better ansewer.
Just go to Quick links to edit.
I know in my area I've never seen anyone buy triple pane windows.
Thanks Joe,

The subject house is in Michigan.
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Old 06-01-2013, 09:37 PM   #4
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Should I buy triple pane windows?


Triple pane windows are not much more efficient than double pane. We do a lot of high end homes, and have only used triple pane a couple of times. It is for those who just have plenty of money, and want to go the extra mile on everything. I am sure the commission is why the salesman is pushing them.
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Old 06-01-2013, 09:40 PM   #5
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Should I buy triple pane windows?


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Originally Posted by sixeightten View Post
Triple pane windows are not much more efficient than double pane. We do a lot of high end homes, and have only used triple pane a couple of times. It is for those who just have plenty of money, and want to go the extra mile on everything. I am sure the commission is why the salesman is pushing them.
Thanks,

But the case is just the opposite. I think the Salesman doesn't want me to purchase the "triples" because his commission will be lower.
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Old 06-01-2013, 10:47 PM   #6
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Should I buy triple pane windows?


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Originally Posted by Unicornz0 View Post
Thanks,

But the case is just the opposite. I think the Salesman doesn't want me to purchase the "triples" because his commission will be lower.
Sounds like reverse psychology. I think he wants you to think that.
One piece of glass adds how much to the total price of each window?
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Old 06-01-2013, 10:51 PM   #7
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Should I buy triple pane windows?


That is the fault of the salesman and the supplier he works for. As I recall, the "R" value is based on heat transmission (hot box test) and does nor really represent average radiant heat loss that can be very high in the winter (cold and dark), so sheet hung over the opening would be many times better and extra panes a funny/exotic gasses.

You could be better to fill the "hole in the wall" with uninsulated concrete block from energy standpoint, since they are always better that glass when it comes to radiant heat loss in the cold MI winters. - A little extreme, but I hope that puts things in perspective since a 3 pane is minimally better for insulation that a good pane day and night or summer to winter.

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Old 06-01-2013, 11:06 PM   #8
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Should I buy triple pane windows?


Triple pane would help with sound. For energy efficiency. low e argon filled is pretty much the best.
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Old 06-05-2013, 10:38 AM   #9
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Should I buy triple pane windows?


Triple pane glass has very little effect on sound. Here are some bits and pieces from Oberon (please let me know if I take anything out of context):
"When considering window glass performance there are three primary products to take into account for maximum possible sound attenuation.

"First is laminated glass.

Second is a wider airspace between the lites.

Third is different thickness lites within the IGU or Insulating Glass Unit.

Fourth would be a combination of all three.


Airport windows, as an example, generally have laminated glass on both sides of an IGU in an aluminum frame and with a maximum airspace between the lites. In an airport the primary concern is sound attenuation and energy efficiency is secondary. I mention this because the width of the airspace and the choice of window framing material affects both sound and energy efficiency.


Some folks will suggest triple pane glass for its sound deadening ability, and while triple pane may be a slight improvement over standard double pane at lower frequencies due to the additional density of the extra lite, overall there is no difference in STC rating between triple and double pane provided that the overall airspace between the panes is constant between the two constructions.


In other words, a triple pane with two 1/4" airspaces and a dual pane with a 1/2" airspace – both using 1/8" glass – will have the same STC assuming that windows are otherwise the same...
...So why do folks with new dual pane windows, after living with single pane, often comment that the improvement in blocking unwanted outside noise? Often, this is due to the replacement window being tighter than the previous older window, but also the addition of the airspace between the lites of a dual pane – rather than to the effect of the additional lite, unless as mentioned the lites are different thicknesses – can have an effect on sound propagation. So in that sense, the additional lite in a dual pane window improves performance over a single pane by the formation of the airspace.

But this doesn’t always apply when adding triple pane due to the decrease in the airspace between the lites overriding the potential advantage of the additional lite.


Regarding energy efficiency, triple pane is undoubtedly more efficient than double pane. The question becomes by how much, and at what added cost. In a cold climate like yours, it certainly would not be unwise provided that the price is right. At 25%, that sounds about right if you are talking product only (not installed).
I'd also add that the U-value, while the primary indicator of thermal performance, is not the only thing to look at. The SHGC rating will tell you how much passive solar gain is allowed to pass through the unit, and you want that to be higher (.25+) in your climate. You can even customize it based on the direction each window faces (higher gain on south wall), landscaping, etc, although the impact of that becomes slightly less important for most urban homes surrounded by neighbors, trees, etc.
You will also want to pay attention to the structural ratings of the unit, primarily air infiltration. A window that leaks more air will be less efficient, and have a measurable difference in sound transmission as well (certainly more than double vs triple pane glass). The best performing products on the market are achieving AI ratings as low as .o1cfm. Baseline is .30cfm, so you can see a pretty substantial difference.
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Old 06-05-2013, 02:01 PM   #10
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Should I buy triple pane windows?


I dont feel triple is worth the extra cost not for 0.2 more R value over double pane, it's miniscule
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Old 06-05-2013, 06:22 PM   #11
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Should I buy triple pane windows?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Unicornz0 View Post
Iím in Michigan & planning on buying Wallside Windows insulated replacement windows.
The Salesman has advised against buying triple pane windows.
The increased cost to me is 25%.
One Salesman said the R rating for their double hung is 4, &
4.2 for the triple pane.

Their specifications are not anywhere in their brochures, &
I forgot to snap a picture of the energy efficiency sticker on the window pane.
Thatís probably just for the glass anyway.

Iíve received conflicting information from the Company.
The Salesman says the triple pane will provide some extra sound deadening, but not much in the way of energy efficiency heat/loss.
A different Salesman said, anyone saying triple pane insulate more than double panes against sound is mistaken (Sales professionals, gotta love Ďem).

It seems like a no brainer to me to buy the triple pane windows instead of the double pane windows, despite the info from the Salesmen.
Heating & cooling costs will continue to rise.
Iím thinking the profit margin must be less on the triple pane windows.

What do you think?

Thanks,
Uni
Very odd, I think.

A whole window R-value of 4.0 (U-.25) is very good for a dual pane window, but a whole window R-value 0f 4.2 (U-.24) is not very good for a triple pane window.

I am not sure the salesman is giving you an apples to apples comparison.

According to their website, Wallside windows uses one of the Climagard RLE Low-E coatings from Guardian and PPG's Intercept spacer in their window systems.

Taking that into account, and not saying for certain, but I suspect that the salesman was passing "center-of-glass" values for the dual pane rather than whole window performance numbers when he quoted the R-4 based on the values that you were given.

A dual pane IGU using Guardian's Climaguard 70/36 RLE applied to surface 2 and with a 90% argon-fill airspace will result in a center-of-glass U-.25...I suspect this isn't a coincidence.

I am at a loss where the salesman came up with an R-4.2 for the triple though - assuming he was only passing glass-only numbers.

A three pane, 3mm glass, IGU with 1/2" airspace but without LowE-coating or argon fill is going to top out (center-of-glass) about R-3.2.

Adding 90% argon to both airspaces isn't enough to get to R-4.2, and adding the Low-E coating to just one lite is going to exceed the R-4.2 that he quoted you.

Possibly he did quote whole window performance for the triple, but once again, R-4.2 for whole window triple really isn't that good.

Just for comparison, the glass-only performance of a triple with the Climagard RLE coating on two glass surfaces (either 2 & 4 or 2 & 5), as well as 90% argon fill to both airspaces is going to achieve center-of-glass performance of R-8.25 (U-.12).

Total window performance will be less than center-of-glass number's because the best insulating portion of any window is the center-of-glass, by definition the entire glass surface that isn't within 2 1/2" of the edge of the glass.

As a side thought, when I hear about window salesperson's quoting R value rather than U value for window performance numbers, I immediately wonder if he/she is actually quoting center-of-glass...but I know that some salespeople do quote R value for full window performance because consumers are more attuned to R than to U.

So a question for window salesfolks reading this, do you prefer R value or U value when quoting potential customers, and why?
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Old 06-05-2013, 07:32 PM   #12
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Should I buy triple pane windows?


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Very odd, I think.

A whole window R-value of 4.0 (U-.25) is very good for a dual pane window, but a whole window R-value 0f 4.2 (U-.24) is not very good for a triple pane window.

I am not sure the salesman is giving you an apples to apples comparison.

According to their website, Wallside windows uses one of the Climagard RLE Low-E coatings from Guardian and PPG's Intercept spacer in their window systems.

Taking that into account, and not saying for certain, but I suspect that the salesman was passing "center-of-glass" values for the dual pane rather than whole window performance numbers when he quoted the R-4 based on the values that you were given.

A dual pane IGU using Guardian's Climaguard 70/36 RLE applied to surface 2 and with a 90% argon-fill airspace will result in a center-of-glass U-.25...I suspect this isn't a coincidence.

I am at a loss where the salesman came up with an R-4.2 for the triple though - assuming he was only passing glass-only numbers.

A three pane, 3mm glass, IGU with 1/2" airspace but without LowE-coating or argon fill is going to top out (center-of-glass) about R-3.2.

Adding 90% argon to both airspaces isn't enough to get to R-4.2, and adding the Low-E coating to just one lite is going to exceed the R-4.2 that he quoted you.

Possibly he did quote whole window performance for the triple, but once again, R-4.2 for whole window triple really isn't that good.

Just for comparison, the glass-only performance of a triple with the Climagard RLE coating on two glass surfaces (either 2 & 4 or 2 & 5), as well as 90% argon fill to both airspaces is going to achieve center-of-glass performance of R-8.25 (U-.12).

Total window performance will be less than center-of-glass number's because the best insulating portion of any window is the center-of-glass, by definition the entire glass surface that isn't within 2 1/2" of the edge of the glass.

As a side thought, when I hear about window salesperson's quoting R value rather than U value for window performance numbers, I immediately wonder if he/she is actually quoting center-of-glass...but I know that some salespeople do quote R value for full window performance because consumers are more attuned to R than to U.

So a question for window salesfolks reading this, do you prefer R value or U value when quoting potential customers, and why?
Thanks Oberon,

The salespeople are trying to steer me toward their double pane window.
I get the feeling 1 of the salesmen is not being honest with me.
I have had their windows installed at another residence & am pleased with their service. I really can't speak to the performance of their windows.
I'm trying to be an informed Consumer & make the best choice. I now have more relevant questions for the Salesman.

Thanks again Oberon for your research & explanation.
Uni
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Old 06-06-2013, 11:49 AM   #13
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Should I buy triple pane windows?


Quote:
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So a question for window salesfolks reading this, do you prefer R value or U value when quoting potential customers, and why?
I find cog U values to offer little value in terms of educating consumers on a window purchase, and R-values to have very limited benefit -- primarily used only to explain what U-value means and put things in perspective, as R-value is more familiar to most folks. Total unit u-value is the most effective measure IMO. It is the number that is most readily available (on NFRC.org), comes printed on the NFRC sticker affixed to every window, and actually gives the most accurate and comprehensive portrayal of how the window unit will perform. In my experience, cog values and R-values are used most often by unscrupulous salespeople to manipulate and mislead homeowners. Not to say that is the case here, but this situation certainly is a good example of why it is best to stick to one common rating when comparing.
I didn't look at the rating details at first, but I would agree that something appears off. A window that gets a .25 total unit u value in double pane (low-e argon) should see a drop in the ballpark of .05 (give or take) by upgrading to triple pane (low-e argon).
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Old 06-06-2013, 12:29 PM   #14
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Should I buy triple pane windows?


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I find cog U values to offer little value in terms of educating consumers on a window purchase, and R-values to have very limited benefit -- primarily used only to explain what U-value means and put things in perspective, as R-value is more familiar to most folks. Total unit u-value is the most effective measure IMO. It is the number that is most readily available (on NFRC.org), comes printed on the NFRC sticker affixed to every window, and actually gives the most accurate and comprehensive portrayal of how the window unit will perform. In my experience, cog values and R-values are used most often by unscrupulous salespeople to manipulate and mislead homeowners. Not to say that is the case here, but this situation certainly is a good example of why it is best to stick to one common rating when comparing.
I didn't look at the rating details at first, but I would agree that something appears off. A window that gets a .25 total unit u value in double pane (low-e argon) should see a drop in the ballpark of .05 (give or take) by upgrading to triple pane (low-e argon).
Thanks Again.

Is the "Total unit u-value" the "U" value on the glass pane?
I want to ensure I'm reading the "Total unit u-value".
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Old 06-06-2013, 12:42 PM   #15
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Should I buy triple pane windows?


The total unit u value tests the complete window unit, fully assembled (glass, frame, weatherstripping, etc)

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