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How the Pros Insulate Windows for Winter

Graeme Clarke February 27, 2018 Window Insulation

Want to insulate your windows for winter like the pros? Window professionals understand something that a lot of property owners aren’t aware of – at least until they experience genuine winter window insulation for themselves – there is no way to properly insulate single glazing for cold weather.


No window sealing, plastic film, thermal curtains or any other DIY trick can turn a single glaze into an energy efficient, well-insulated window.




What all window professionals know, is that double glazing is the best way to insulate windows for winter, and many would argue, the only way. But, what they also realise, is that the possibilities and cost of double glazing can vary dramatically depending on the characteristics of your double glazed units and the system you use. 


Which means, if you know the most efficient, effective way to double glaze your windows in your home, you can get your superior window insulation and all the benefits that come with it, at an affordable price.



Why Single Glazing Will Never Be Enough for Winter Insulation


The properties of the glass itself are the main reasons why single glazed windows will always be inadequate for stopping your interior warmth from escaping, leaving you to fend off winter’s cold air with your home’s heating system.


Glass is a natural conductor of heat. It absorbs heat energy and then radiates it. So, when there is warmth in your interior, your single glaze is absorbing some of that energy and sending it outside. This is why your windows can account for as much as 31% of your heat loss, sometimes more.


Because your glass is radiating your home’s thermal energy, even if you use draft seals and cover your glass with everything in the book – thermal curtains, insulating blinds, plastic film and shrink wrap – that single glaze is still going to send some of your precious heating out into the cold.




It’s not just the fact that a single glaze is thinner than a double glazing unit that accounts for the poor insulation – making the single glazing ‘thicker’ with insulating materials won’t work. It’s that the glass itself has inherent properties that lead to heat loss.



The Difference Double Glazing Makes


When that single glaze is part of a complete insulating glass unit, or IGU, which is your double glazing with a sealed air space in between, the bulk of that thermal energy your interior glass is trying to radiate outside is stopped by the air space and the second glaze. Instead of traveling outdoors and experiencing substantial heat loss, most of the heat stays inside. This is why double glazing is dramatically more effective for winter insulation than single glazing.




And that’s just with a standard double glazing unit.


By including different characteristics within your window’s double glazing unit, you can achieve an even greater insulating effect. For example, incorporating low E glass into the IGU for improved insulation.


Inserting argon gas into the air space, which is an inert, non-toxic, colourless, odourless gas, you can slow down the movement of thermal energy even more. Argon gas’s thermal conductivity is 67% that of air.


Depending on the unique needs of your property and your climate, with double glazing, you can tailor each IGU to get the results you want. This includes the ideal amount of winter insulation, as well as summer insulation, noise reduction and enhanced security. You can also use specific IGUs for each room, adding more thermal (or acoustic) insulation where it is needed, but not overspending where it’s not.


And what about the cost of double glazing? 


How will the prices vary depending on the type of double glazed windows you have installed?



Retrofit vs. New Double Glazed Windows


Features like using argon gas, or specialised types of glass like low E or laminate, will increase the price of your windows. Often, the results are worth it as a small increase can yield a significant difference in your window’s insulating properties. But price also depends on if you use new double glazed windows or retrofit double glazing.


With new double glazed windows, because the entire window is replaced, frame and all, the price is very high to account for the materials used and the complexity of the project. What some homeowners don’t realise is they would pay about one-third the cost of having new double glazed windows installed with retrofitting.


Retrofit double glazed windows have the same insulation benefits and other advantages, but the installation process is simpler because the windows’ existing timber joinery remains in place. This makes retrofitting the best option for insulating your windows. As a conversion rather than a full window replacement, it also allows you to maintain the original aesthetic charm of your windows. This means, greater all-around value because you pay less upfront for better insulation, but your home’s value will increase by having energy efficient, beautiful windows.




Thermawood also offers a big step up from the typical retrofit double glazing service. With a unique, patented dry Retrofit Double Glazing System, you also won’t have to worry about moisture build-up in the rebate on your glass – a common problem with new double glazed windows. Condensation would otherwise drip down into your window, damaging the timber, fostering mould growth and reducing your indoor air quality and causing the double glazing to fail.


Using a specially developed process and tooling unique to Thermawood, a small portion of the existing frame and the single pane of glass is removed and replaced with a double glazed insulated glass unit. Fitting your wooden window with the most advanced double glazing system for existing timber windows and retaining every ounce of character at the same time.



Saying Goodbye to Single Glazing


Today, with sustainability being a major societal issue, and high energy bills being a major personal household issue, more and more property owners are demanding better insulated windows. 


That’s why a lot of new homes in Australia are being built with double glazed windows, right from the start. And, it’s why window professionals, and anyone else who knows the difference serious window insulation can make, would choose double glazing for winter window insulation. Single glazing will simply never be able to do what double glazing can.



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