Take the 2-minute tour ×
Home Improvement Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for contractors and serious DIYers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

This company I am about to buy windows from is giving me triple-pane windows with krypton gas for the same price as double-pane with low-e argon. The salesperson brought some window samples to my house last week to show how krypton gas stops the heat from a heat lamp from passing through. He held the heat lamp to the regular sample and I felt the heat instantly when I put my hand under the sample. He switched to the krypton sample and I felt absolutely no heat at all.

I want to go for the triple-pane, but the president of my condo's association is pushing Pella windows really hard. He argues that krypton gas might have kept me from feeling the heat from the lamp for a few minutes, but, eventually, the heat would have gotten through just the same.

His argument boils down to krypton not being all that it's sold to be, that's it's just a gimmick. I'd like to hear other people's answers on this.

share|improve this question
    
How can you compare double pane to a triple pane window? Of course there will be less heat transfer with the triple pane. –  Gunner Nov 23 '12 at 4:52
1  
I don't think the panes themselves offer much heat insulation. The salesperson told me that, due to the density of krypton, it only works effectively in tighter space. Three panes creates two separately-isolated areas, perfect for krypton. This is why they don't sell krypton with double-pane windows. –  oscilatingcretin Nov 23 '12 at 5:47
3  
A low e coating on the glass is going to make the difference when it comes to a heat lamp test. The gas in the windows shouldn't effect IR based heat. I'm guessing you were comparing apples to oranges in a marketing gimmick. If you want to compare the gases, pull out a heat gun or blow torch and watch the salesman's face. –  BMitch Nov 23 '12 at 12:29
    
I would only consider such fancy windows once I'd done every other possible form of tightening up the house. The difference between the fancy and the super-fancy windows are completely swamped by, say, having a 1/4" air gap somewhere in your unit. If you were building the perfect green sealed home it might matter, but for normal construction...don't get sucked into the hype. –  Alex Feinman Nov 23 '12 at 14:36
    
Four feet of insulation in your attic would have a higher R value than one foot, but the optimal is what you are looking for. Pella went to insulated glass very late in the game. PVC is PVC it doesn't matter the name brand. What does matter is the gauge of the vinyl extrusion. .050 gauge is builder grade. .060gauge is good. .080 is the heaviest and generally imported from a german extruder. –  user12851 May 5 '13 at 0:57
add comment

1 Answer

up vote 9 down vote accepted

As someone who bought new windows a couple years ago and researched it to death, almost anything a window salesmen tells you will be a marketing gimmick.

The fact of the matter is that when it comes to heat transfer resistance with windows, you reach the point of diminishing returns rather quickly.

Triple pane windows will give you a slight advantage in energy efficiency however they tend to be heavier and far more expensive. The extra weight can often cause them to wear out the casing or unseat over time however. Now consider comparing these to dual pane windows with a low E coating and you will only see a slight drop in resistance from the window itself.

Both Krypton and Argon are noble gases and both achieve the same effect, they insulate between 2 or more panes of glass by slowing down the transfer of heat. Krypton is typically used in triple pane where Argon is typically used in double pane and this has to do with the maximum heat transfer resistance for each gas at different widths between panes of glass.

Krypton does in fact do slightly better but usually at an enormous upfront cost that in my opinion would be hard to get ROI on over the years as compared to dual pane low E Argon windows. Over time with the expansion and contraction of the casing and general exposure to the elements, microscopic stress fractures will start forming around the case slowly allowing all that expensive Krypton or Argon gas to escape, essentially making the windows lose heat transfer resistance over time. Investing in a window with a better quality case design will do more to improve the overall energy efficiency of your windows than any investing in triple pane Krypton.

A good quality case design that is well insulated and uses high quality weather resistant vinyl will do more to increase the lifespan of the windows and maintain the energy efficiency of the windows by being more resistant to leaks and fractures that will result in the slow seepage of the noble gases.

It can be hard to seperate the gimmicks from the truth when it comes to window shopping, so thoroughly understanding the difference is important. Figure out what your monthly heating bill is and use that as a basis for making a good decision. If you are living in the Yukon and you have long frigid winters then perhaps spending the extra money for the triple pane krypton windows is worth it.

share|improve this answer
    
Good answer. In my experience with windows, the argon leaks much faster than people would expect. –  John Smith Aug 1 '13 at 1:01
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.