Double Glazing a Window

Types of double glazing

Glazing is the actual "glass" pane in a window. A glaze is mounted on a window and held in place by the frame itself and the glazing putty used.  A glazier is the one who installs the glass on a frame. If an existing older window needs new glazing, then the reglazing is also done by a glazier. This practice holds true for window frames that will be reused. Window frames that are part of an older home are sometimes, if not outright, impossible to replace or replicate. When a glaze replacement is necessary the services of a glazier is needed.  In newer homes, whole window replacements are possible and if this is the case,   it would be better to order a new set of window, frame and glazing inclusive.  

There are different types of glasses that you can use for your glazing.  You can have coloured glasses, tinted or reflective glasses, clear, opaque and translucent glass.  There are three major types of glazing. They are single pane, double panes and triple panes.

It used to be that glazing only comes in a single pane. This is well and good for windows in the tropical zone. However, in older climates, multiple glazing, whether double or triple, is recommended for energy conservation. This type of glazing is also known as insulated glazing, double glazing, double glazed units or insulating glass units. Heat loss is minimized by double or triple glazing. 

What then is double glazing? Double glazing is window glazing with two panes of glass having a space of several millimetres thick between them for insulation. The air (either argon or krypton) is trapped between the panes act as insulation. A triple glazing works on the same principle but having three panes of glass instead of two. A drying agent is applied to the double glazing to ensure that no moisture is trapped or present in between the panes.  The panes must be airtight. If condensation appears the double glazing has to be replaced and not repaired.  What are the advantages of double glazing?

Installing double glazed windows is the trend in new houses today. Even older homes are refitting their windows with new installations to enjoy the benefits of double glazing.  However high technology has now more to offer in terms of double glazed windows. There are alternatives to double glazing too. The top alternative to double glazing is UPVC. The material is durable, cost effective, environmental friendly as it is recyclable, sustainable and comes in a variety of colours.

Double glazing is the recommended norm in UK homes today.  It has been reported that installation of double glazed windows can help cut heat loss through windows by as much as 50%.  If you can't afford to double glaze all the windows of your home, why not opt to double glaze the windows of the rooms that cost you most to heat? Double glazing is expensive but you can recuperate the amount spent in the installations in a short span of time due to the savings that you would enjoy. Bear in mind that double glazing is cost and energy efficient.  Bear in mind too all the benefits that double-glazed windows can bring aside from the definite reduction of heat loss, noise reduction and condensation-free home.

It has been noted that you can actually save around £135 on your heating bill alone by using double glazed windows. In connection, there is also a saving of about 700 kg of carbon dioxide (CO2) a year. It is actually amazing that with these given facts, UK can save a total of £700 million and an equivalent of 750,000 households' CO2 emissions if all structures that need double glazing are fitted with one.

Double glazing is not for the regular DIY-er. The windows are best fitted by a professional. However, you can buy the window (frame and glass) yourself and remember to look for the Energy Saving Recommended logo when choosing the window.  Such window has been assessed by the British Fenestration Ratings Council (BFRC) from A-G with A as the best and "greenest" choice.  The label should display the rating from A-G, the energy rating, the window U value, the effective heat loss and the solar heat gain.

Choose windows that have the BFRC label to ensure that the window you choose is energy efficient. Note that an energy efficient window (aside from being double-paned) can conserve heat, keep the wind and rain out,   withstand condensation yet allow the sun to heat your home.

"Double glazing will not save you money, at best it will make your house warmer. Even if you accept that they will save you 10% of your heating bill, which is unlikely, this will be less than £100/year. Bearing in mind the cost and the fact that the units usually fail between 10-15 years after insulation the most they are likely to save you is £1500. UPVC windows are also manufactured in a way that is very damaging to the environment. Don't waste your money."

Simon Welsh