Why We Don't Recommend Single-Pane Windows

If you’re in the market for new windows, your best bet is likely double-pane or triple-pane windows—with few exceptions.

Why? What makes a double-pane or triple-pane window better (and worth the extra cost)?

Let’s talk about it!

Why More Panes Are (Almost Always) Better

Back in the day, single-pane windows were your only option. Every home had them (which is why many older homes still do). But thanks to advances in technology, we now have improved options: double- and triple-pane windows.

To understand why double-pane and triple-pane windows are better than single-pane windows, we need to talk about window materials.

Windows are designed to let light in while keeping the elements out. When it comes to letting light in, single-pane windows are just as good as double-pane or triple-pane windows. They’re all clear, after all!

But when it comes to keeping the elements out, double-pane and triple-pane windows are superior. Here’s why.

Much of the energy loss that happens in our home occurs at the windows. Glass is a poor insulator: that means that it transfers heat and cold easily. (If you’ve ever stood by your window in the winter and found it colder than the rest of the room, you know this.)

When it comes to insulation, single-pane windows are the worst culprit. They have only one pane of glass, and that single pane lets a lot of heat and cold pass through it.

Double-pane and triple-pane windows, on the other hand, are much better at insulating. This is because they have two to three panes of glass, and between each pane of glass is a layer of gas (often argon). This gas, combined with the extra panes, increases the insulation.

When your home is well-insulated, it’s more energy efficient and more comfortable. You don’t have to crank the air conditioning in the summer to keep it cool or kick up the heat in the winter to keep it warm. That means you’ll spend a lot less money over the years on your energy bills.

In addition to better insulation, today’s double-pane windows offer noise reduction as well as a number of other features—like low-e coating and glazing—to make the window even more energy efficient.

When to Keep Single-Pane Windows

There are a lot fewer single-pane windows on the market today, since most homeowners don’t want them—opting instead to replace their windows.

However, there are some cases where you might want to keep your single-pane windows. For example:

  • You have a historic home with period windows.
  • Your windows are unique to the style of your home.
  • One or more of your windows is stained glass.

In these cases, you can do a few things to make your single-pane windows more energy efficient. That said, they won’t be as efficient as double-pane (or triple-pane) windows but it’ll still be an improvement! Here are some options:

  • Caulk any leaks to reduce air flow
  • Replace worn-out weatherstripping
  • Use window treatments (blinds, roman shades, curtains, etc.) to reduce heat and drafts
  • Install window film to reduce heat gain and keep UV rays out
  • Install storm windows

Thinking of Replacing Your Windows?

If you are thinking of replacing one or more windows, we generally recommend double-pane or triple-pane windows. 

However, it always helps to talk to a specialist. If you’re unsure about your options, call Jack’s Glass to discuss the best window for your home! We’d be happy to talk to you about types of windows, window features, and everything else you need to know to make the best decision.

Our local, family-owned and -operated business has been helping Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky homeowners with their commercial glass, auto glass, glass shower and window needs for more than 70 years. Contact us today at our Elsmere, Covington, or Dry Ridge locations.