There’s a lot of talk at the moment about triple glazing being the ‘must-have’ thing to get. If you’re considering a change to your windows, it’s very likely you’ve seen it come up. However, it’s usually quite a lot more expensive than double glazing, so potential buyers need to work out if the extra outlay is going to represent money well spent.
We can’t decide for you – but we can outline the differences and, hopefully, help you make an informed decision whether to invest in double or triple glazing. Let’s start with some of the key factors to consider:
Leading window manufacturers show the energy efficiency of their products using a measurement calculated, independently, by the British Fenestration Rating Council (BFRC).The whole window (glass and frame) is assessed on its ability to retain heat and given a rating from A++ to E. Here, good triple-glazed units can have a slight edge. But the difference – especially when compared to something like our own Archer A+ rated, double-glazed six chamber windows – is likely to be marginal.
When you upgrade to double from single glazed windows you’ll notice a huge improvement in noise reduction. Go a step further to triple glazing and, as with the energy efficiency, the difference between double and triple might not be enough to justify the expense. But if your house is in a particularly noisy location, or constantly being battered by gale force winds, you may think it’s worth biting the bullet.
The best double-glazed windows today are extremely well protected. All our Archer Systems windows include the latest enhanced security locks and fittings, and our top range is accredited with both PAS 24 enhanced security and Secured By Design status – undoubtedly a match for most triple-glazed units. Theoretically, three panes are going to be harder to break than two but, if intruders are bonkers enough to try and smash through the glass, an extra pane isn’t going to make a lot of difference one way or the other. Whether you have double or triple glazing, they’ll still have their work cut out!
Condensation happens when moist air comes into contact with a colder surface. Basically, the closer your innermost window pane is to room temperature, the better. In theory, a triple-glazed unit should be even less likely to allow condensation to form on your windows than a double, but neither should present a problem providing that:
- Your windows are correctly fitted.
- Your room is not left freezing cold for days on end.
- You don’t subject the windows to constant, excessive moisture – especially without providing a degree of ventilation. So use an extractor when cooking, and leave the window open a crack when/after having a bath or shower to let steam dissipate.
This measures how well the glass retains heat. The higher the value, the more heat escapes. Single glazing has a U-value of 5, and modern double glazing 1.6. Triple glazing takes it down to around 0.8 for a higher price. However our own Archer double-glazed six chamber windows now also achieve close to this without the expense, weight and complexity of having a 3rd pane. You also have to allow for the fact that triple glazing actually reduces the simple warming effect of sunshine compared to double glazing!
For the consumer, triple glazing is typically about 40% more expensive than double, which shunts any notional calculation of ‘payback’ time significantly further into the future. Units weigh half as much again, largely due to the additional toughened glass pane, so they cost more to transport. They also require enhanced hinges to support the extra weight.
There is no hard and fast answer – it’s really up to you to decide what’s best for your home. But we’ve hopefully given you some pointers to ponder. In summary:
- If you’ve already got good double glazing and you’re happy with what it delivers, you probably won’t see a great deal of benefit from triple.
- Neither double or triple glazing will pay for themselves in terms of energy bill savings unless your current circumstances are exceptional.
- Expect triple glazing to be considerably more expensive: production is more costly, involves much heavier sections and uses up to 50% more energy in itself than modern double glazing.
If you want to eliminate the odd cold spot in an otherwise warm house, you have a motorway or main railway line directly outside or you live in the Outer Hebrides, triple glazing will undoubtedly be a valid option. But the reality is that we don’t usually have ‘Scandinavian’ winters. And if you want more warmth and less noise without spending a fortune, you could always remember to close the curtains, shut doors and block cold draughts. Just a thought.
If you’ve any questions about our superb ranges of Archer windows and doors, submit an online enquiry or visit our showrooms at The Mill, Queens Road East in Beeston or Rutland House, Nottingham Road in Ilkeston. You’ll find all the numbers and addresses on this website’s ‘Contact us’ page.