Replacement Windows: What You Need To Know About Gas Fills


The byword in replacement windows these days is energy efficiency. Indeed, as Better Homes and Gardens points out, you can save about 30% on your utility bills by making energy efficient choices in your home. If you're planning on replacing windows in your house, one of the energy efficiency choices you have is gas-filled windows. Depending on your energy efficiency plan, gas-filled replacement windows may be ideal for your house.

Construction of Gas-Filled Windows

Gas-filled windows are sold as a sealed unit. They're typically constructed of an energy efficient frame, such as vinyl. You can choose double or triple panes. Either way, manufacturers pump an inert gas into the space between the glass. The glass panes are also vacuum sealed to keep the gas inside.

Types of Gas

The most common gas used in double and triple paned windows is argon, an inert gas also commonly found in fluorescent lights. The colorless, odorless gas is harmless if it leaks, though that's a rare occurrence. Krypton and xenon gases are sometimes used as the fill. Both are also colorless, odorless and harmless. However, krypton is denser than argon, and xenon is denser than both. It's also possible to get windows with a mixture of gases in the space.

How Gas Fills Work

Gas fills operate similarly to the insulation in your walls, helping keep heat inside in the winter and outside in the summer. The gas fills are denser than just air. Therefore, they minimize the convection currents within the gap between glass panes. This minimized convection reduces the heat transfer between indoors and outdoors. What's more, gas fills keep the interior glass surface a little higher, which also prevents frost accumulation.

Benefits of Gas Fills

As noted above, gas fills function as insulation for your window panes. In general, gas-filled windows have better R-values, U-factors and SHGC values. R-values measure the window's resistance to heat transfer – gas-filled windows have higher R-values than plain ones. U-factors measure the rate of heat transfer, and gas-filled windows have lower numbers here. SHGC is the solar heat gain coefficient, or how much heat enters a house via the glass – gas-filled windows measure low on this scale as well.

Energy Efficiency Plan

If you live in an area with high discrepancies between outdoor and the desired indoor temperature, then gas-filled windows should be part of your energy efficiency plan. If keeping the indoors cool is the main priority, have gas-filled windows with a low-E coating installed at minimum in southern facing windows. For colder climates, consider gas-filled windows for all areas of the house.

Choose gas-filled windows as part of an energy efficiency plan that reduces your utility bills. Contact a company like Affordable Home Remodeling for more information on window replacements.


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