Argon windows have recently reached the top of the list with best choices for all homes. And we’ll discuss why. The first thing to consider, before getting into details, is that although people’s priorities differ and their aesthetic preferences vary, they all agree on one thing. Window replacements must be energy efficient.
No wonder people plan the replacement of their old windows, which were mainly constructed with a single pane. Over the decades, things changed. Nowadays, replacement windows have at least two panes – some have three or even four panes of glass for higher protection from the elements.
Where argon gas comes in? When we talk about the fillers between the panes. Up until recently, manufacturers filled the space between the panes with air. Then gases were introduced in the market, anything from krypton and xenon to nitrogen. Lately, argon has made it at the top of the list with window fillers. And before you ask why, let me answer the other question that’s running your mind all this time.
What’s argon gas?
Argon gas is already found in the air we breathe every day – perhaps, in limited quantities. So, we can characterize it as a natural gas, which is odorless, colorless, and non-toxic. What we lately found out is that argon is a pretty good insulator, more or less as krypton, but less expensive. That’s the main reason why it’s used as a filler in the window construction industry. Let’s talk about that now.
Why argon gas is used in two- or multiple-pane windows?
For higher insulation alone, most homes use insulating glass units. In simple English, this is what we described as two, three, or four glass pane windows above.
Manufacturers use appropriate glass to reduce glare, noise, and fading while making the windows much safer at the same time.
The glass panes are kept apart by a spacer – thermally improved or not. And the space between the panes is filled with argon gas and then the edges are sealed.
Why argon gas? Because it has a low thermal conductance. That’s a low U-value. This is the value that shows how much energy is gained or lost through the glass. To make it simple, the lower the better – since there’s less heat transferred through the glass. Thanks to its qualities, argon increases the insulation effectiveness. Naturally, the quality of the glass and the R-value – which must be high, all play a role in the actual energy efficiency of the window. How much you save at the end is also subject to the overall window quality and the location of the house – the climate, the building’s orientation. The quality of the window installation service matters too. But if we like to focus on argon gas alone, it’s the best choice as a window filler for the unit’s best insulation.
The benefits of argon windows
How come argon gas is a good insulator? It’s a dense gas – denser than air, for sure. That’s why it offers greater thermal values than air fillers. Now, when argon gas is used in conjunction with low-E glass, the results are even more impressive. Low-emissivity glass is a very thin coating applied at the inner part of the glass panes, acting like a shield. It allows the sunlight and energy pass inside the home and reflects the heat back inside, eliminating – this way, energy loss.
Summing up the benefits of argon gas, we see that the advantages are quite plenty.
• Improves the window’s energy efficiency
• Doesn’t cause window corrosion
• Increases the window’s noise insulation
• It’s non toxic and thus, harmless for humans & the environment
• Eliminates heat transfer
• Has no taste, odor, color
• Minimizes the possibility of window condensation
• Ideal for window installation in all climates
The drawbacks of argon gas
Aren’t there no drawbacks when it comes to argon gas? Surely, there’s nothing without some downsides, argon gas included. For starters, although not particularly expensive, each window replacement will cost you a bit more. Then, over the years there might be some gas leak, which may be slow, but eventually and when most of the gas is lost, condensation will build up. That’s when you’ll know that the gas has escaped and likely the seal is broken.
When compared to krypton, argon gas is a better value for money though. That’s because krypton has better insulating qualities but is more expensive too. One thing to look out for though is that your windows are truly filled with argon gas. Since you cannot see it and you cannot smell it, it’s hard to be sure unless you trust the window installation company. So, start with that.