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Old 06-23-2020, 02:37 PM   #1
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Is it possible for Double Pane Glass to have U Factor of Triple Pane


I'm currently considering Sunrise, Polaris and Provia Windows to enclose my porch area with 2 big sliders(92x53) and 2 big picture windows(84 x 53). The rest of the house has Schuco Triple Pane Glasses Widows, which I just found to have NFRC label with U-Factor of 0.22.

The best Double Pane Slider and Picture WIndows from Sunrise is Omega 12 with Interior Low E option. The U-Factor is 0.25 and 0.22 respectively.
The best Double Pane Slider and Picture Windows from Polaris is Ultraweld Supreme. The U-factor is 0.27 and 0.26 respectively.

If I want U-factor of 0.23 or better, I need to go Triple Pane with both Sunrise and Polaris, which will increase the cost. I'm installing 2 picture windows and 2 sliders

The Provia double panel(Endure ComfortTech-DLA-UV-HC) seems to have surprisingly good U-factor. Their sliders and Picture windows have U-factors of 0.23 and 0.22 respectively.

Should I go with Provia Double Pane? or should I just stick with Sunrise? SHould I do Triple Pane? I'm soliciting thoughts I'm in Central Jersey.
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Old 06-23-2020, 02:57 PM   #2
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Re: Is it possible for Double Pane Glass to have U Factor of Triple Pane


It would be difficult for me to argue that the extra money on the triple pane will pay off with less fuel cost. But I think I am like you and want the lowest U value I can afford.

All those windows will also have a condensation resistance and visual transmittance values that you may want to check. In particular, the triple pane will likely have a significantly better condensation resistance than the 2 pane.

Note also that sliders are not particularly air tight. Casements or European tilt/turn would be more air tight.

Myself, I went with the triple pane.
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Old 06-23-2020, 03:21 PM   #3
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Re: Is it possible for Double Pane Glass to have U Factor of Triple Pane


With all the other places where energy losses occur in pretty much any house, I would not lose a wink of sleep over windows with a .27 U-factor vs. .22 (change in R-value is 0.7). You'll get more 'bang for your buck' upgrading the weatherstripping around your doors or a few extra insulation batts in the attic or something. An energy audit will tell you where you're losing and gaining heat, and I would bet the windows are way down the list. Air leaks are where the big energy losses are.
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Old 06-23-2020, 07:06 PM   #4
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Re: Is it possible for Double Pane Glass to have U Factor of Triple Pane


Low e argon filled 2 pane can be better than 3 pane. Glass does not insulate, airspace does. I have seen too many hardware failures from the extra weight of triple glass so I don’t use them.
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Old 06-24-2020, 12:03 AM   #5
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Re: Is it possible for Double Pane Glass to have U Factor of Triple Pane


Triple pane has 2 air spaces, and therefore will almost ALWAYS be better.

I will ALWAYS recommend triple pane if the customer can afford it but only with warm edge technology. Main reason being that the biggest complaint I have seen people have in the last 30 years in the window business is condensation on their windows in the winter time.

People are VERY unhappy when they get rid of their old windows and old combination storm windows and then they find that their new windows sweat in the winter (their old ones never did) because of a combination of high humidity, very cold temps, and possibly a mediocre window with a mid range u-factor.

You can't go wrong with getting the best glass you can afford. It's not so much about energy savings as it is raising the dewpoint of the glass edge just a few degrees.

As a disclaimer, people need to understand that any double or triple pane window will sweat if it's cold enough outside and/or humid enough inside.
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Old 06-24-2020, 04:48 PM   #6
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Re: Is it possible for Double Pane Glass to have U Factor of Triple Pane


I disagree. Air space insulates, glass does not. Using some of the available space for an additional layer of glass reduces the air space And fills some of it with noninsulating glass. If more glass is better, just get a solid piece of 3/4” thick glass. Triple is a gimmic, with frequent hardware failures.
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Old 06-24-2020, 04:57 PM   #7
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Re: Is it possible for Double Pane Glass to have U Factor of Triple Pane


Quote:
Air space insulates, glass does not.

But multiple separated air spaces insulate better than a single air space of the same width. Anyway, the published U-values for the various windows will tell the shopper that much.


The condensation issue is another matter, and one subject to alot more ambiguous claims about what type and which company's windows are 'better' in that regard.
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Old 06-24-2020, 05:31 PM   #8
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Re: Is it possible for Double Pane Glass to have U Factor of Triple Pane


Heat travels by generally 3 processes - radiation, conduction and convection.


Radiation - energy waves (UV, visible light, infrared, etc.) are absorbed by an object. This is where the Low-e glass is a marvel of engineering. It reflects most of the wavelength of UV light that makes it through the atmosphere in the summer, when the sun is high in the sky, but not the as much of the wavelengths that come through in the winter. Still, awnings of the proper length to shade the windows in the summer are more effective.


Conduction - heat transfer by direct transfer through a solid or from one solid to another. This type has little influence on the total energy transfer through windows - what there is happens mostly through the frame, and doesn't vary alot with the materials or type.


Convection - heat transfer by movement of a liquid or gas. This is the big one, for windows and houses in general. Air leaks around the sash and frame and also air movement between the panes of glass. Heat is carried from one pane of glass to the other primarily by air movement from one surface to the other. In a triple pane window, the heat must transfer from the inner pane to the gas in the gap to the center pane and from the center pane through the other air gap to the outer pane. All other things being equal (which they rarely are), 3 panes are better than 2. Of course, the type of gas in the "air" spaces, makes a difference, too, due to differences in the ability of the gas (and any water vapor) to absorb energy. As I said, the U-values define this for us, so all we really have to do is look at the label. Slowing convection is also the main function of insulation in walls, etc. Ever wonder how those fancy Yeti coolers keep stuff cold for days longer than a regular cooler? It's the seal around the lid. You can get the same effect by taping around lid of a regular cooler; it's just not as convenient if you have to open and close it along the way.
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Old 06-24-2020, 10:47 PM   #9
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Re: Is it possible for Double Pane Glass to have U Factor of Triple Pane


If you want hardware failures, go ahead and get triple.
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Old 06-25-2020, 05:15 AM   #10
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Re: Is it possible for Double Pane Glass to have U Factor of Triple Pane


Not always @Old Thomas

The reality that we see is that if a manufacturer makes a good double pane, the failure rates on triple are consistent with that of the failure rates on their double pane.

Mostly depends on the quality of the manufacturer. Only to the extent that you are doubling the number of air spaces should you see any additional failures.
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Old 06-25-2020, 04:29 PM   #11
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Re: Is it possible for Double Pane Glass to have U Factor of Triple Pane


True W on W, not always. I have seen at least 10 times more hardware failures on triple than double, but there are some triples that survive. It is a matter of whether he feels lucky.
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Old 06-25-2020, 07:02 PM   #12
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Re: Is it possible for Double Pane Glass to have U Factor of Triple Pane


Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Thomas View Post
True W on W, not always. I have seen at least 10 times more hardware failures on triple than double, but there are some triples that survive. It is a matter of whether he feels lucky.
There is a bit more technical discussion to be had here if you like, but the reality is that you do see any more statistical likelihood of seal failure in the quality glass manufacturers.

Where you are seeing a much higher failure rate is because the desiccant is getting consumed at a faster rate inside the triple units. The spacers are smaller and there is less desiccant. The dual pane units are likely experiencing the same failure, but have more moisture absorption capacity.

Either way, you are correct that your probability of failure in a window goes up 2X over a dual pane, however, that should not dissuade someone from going for the more efficient window if it fits their budget and climate.
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Old 06-25-2020, 11:24 PM   #13
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Re: Is it possible for Double Pane Glass to have U Factor of Triple Pane


Pay more for a triple glass window, save pennies on energy, and experience higher failure rate. Not the formula for me.
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Old 06-26-2020, 07:36 AM   #14
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Re: Is it possible for Double Pane Glass to have U Factor of Triple Pane


Again...without data on the home, climate, or how it uses energy...the claim of "pennies" is without basis or validation. The reality is that triple pane does make the house more efficient, add to the stability of temperature in rooms, can make the house more livable and tolerable, and depending on the structure...can have a massive felt impact on performance.
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Old 06-26-2020, 11:01 AM   #15
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Re: Is it possible for Double Pane Glass to have U Factor of Triple Pane


THank you all for the information!!!
I think I will go with double pane, based on the following 3 reasoning:
  • I did the math in terms of how much money it would save me to go from double pane to triple pane. It will take about 140years for me to recoup the cost of the upgrade to triple pane($800). Cost of natural gas for heating is about $0.487 per CCF currently in my area. Unless this goes up to a ridiculous number like $9 per CCF, it's not financially sound decission.
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