Friday 5th September, 2014
There’s no mystery about why more than eighty percent of UK homes now benefit from at least some measure of double glazing. Double and triple glazing helps to prevent heat loss, which helps people keep their homes at their preferred temperature while keeping down the cost of their heating bills. But how does double glazing work and what is it that makes it so much better at retaining heat than single glazed windows?
When a window is double glazed it means that instead of just one pane of glass installed in the window frame, there are two. The two panes have a small gap between them. While it is often supposed that the gap is a vacuum, the problem is that a vacuum between the two planes of glass would place considerable strain on them. In fact, the gap often contains air at a low pressure that has been dried to prevent any condensation or misting between the panes of glass. The gap may alternatively contain one of the heavy inert gases, for example Argon, Krypton or Xenon, for extra efficiency at heat retention.
The air or gas between the two panes is the secret of double glazing’s effectiveness at preventing heat from escaping. At a low pressure, air is unable to move around, which turns it into a powerful insulator and slows down the escape of heat from the room. As more heat is retained, people require less energy to keep their homes warm. This has the benefit of keeping their energy consumption down, which helps both their budgets and the environment. Not only does this gap of air or gas guard against heat loss, but it is also an effective method for soundproofing a home against outdoor noise.
While the two panes of glass and the insulating gap of gas or air between them play a key role in preventing heat from escaping from the home, the importance of the frames used for double glazed windows should not be overlooked. Typically double glazing is fitted in PVCu frames which are less at risk from the kind of damage that can allow heat to escape via traditional timber frames.