Inert Gases Insulation For Replacement Windows


Window replacement is a process that involves pulling down old windows and putting up new ones. There are several reasons why you would want to do this including adopting a new style or simply because the old windows are damaged, but whatever the reason might be replacing windows & home windows is not an easy process, nor is it cheap. According to the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA), the average cost of replacing windows ranges from $7,000 to $20,000. The Window replacement process involves new windows installation and the consequent removal of most of the old elements of the previous windows. In order to cut down on costs, the old window frames are usually retained for use with the new windows. This requires that the new window glass be smaller than the existing space. Sealed glass with vinyl forms some of the most common replacement windows in the market. This is because they are relatively cheap and easy to clean. Replacement windows made of wood are also available but they are quite expensive.

Insulation has become a vital part of the modern replacement window. With studies and surveys conducted by the Department of Energy (DOE) indicating that old and leaking windows contribute a whooping 25 percent to the total annual energy bill of an average American home, it becomes crystal clear why well insulated windows are the best. Some of the best insulation levels in the window replacement and glass door industry are provided by rare gases and their mixtures. Some of the gases and gas mixtures that are used for insulation purposes in modern replacement windows or insulated glass units include:

• Krypton

• Krypton/oxygen mixture

• Krypton/Argon mixture

• Xenon

• Xenon/krypton mixture

Apart from the insulated glass units, the above rare gases are also used in low emissivity window glasses (Low-E) and windows that use the thin film technology to increase their overall R-value. The R-value indicates the insulation capacity of the glass. Krypton (Kr) rare gas is the most widely used rare gas for insulation purposes. According to the AAMA, the insulation application consumes 40-50 percent of the entire Kr production. A mixture of Krypton, argon and air is used in the manufacture of double and triple pane insulated windows. The increase in the use of inert gases in window insulation applications has been partly driven by the rising cost of energy as mentioned earlier. The use of the U-factor in building codes has also played a significant role. The U-factor is a measure of heat in terms of British thermal Units (BTUs) that is able to penetrate 1 square foot of insulated window in 1 hour per 1 degree Fahrenheit change in temperature across the surface of the window.

A gas mixture made up of Krypton and Argon would be the most cost effective mixture for purposes of window insulation. If you want to replace windows and happen to be on a budget, then this is the mixture for you. According to the AAMA, insulated glass windows filled with Argon comprise more than 70 percent of all gas-insulated windows in the market. Double-glass windows that have ¼” layer of Krypton are twice as efficient in terms of insulation as those that have ½” layer of air.

Krypton insulated windows have also had a lot of success in other parts of the world especially in the colder European countries. A good number of European countries have low U-factor insulation requirements as well as the use of Krypton in certain insulation applications. The rising energy costs have made the US embrace the use of rare gases such as Krypton in window insulation. The increased awareness of energy conservation in the coming years will see the demand for inert gas insulated windows continue to rise.

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