As the cold and snow piles up outside your home, and the energy bill rears its ugly head, many of you may be wondering what steps you can take to whittle it down. Desperately searching for a drafty window, or improperly sealed door, you turn up with nothing. But did you know research has shown that up to 30% of your energy costs are due to your windows – faulty or otherwise?
So, what do you do? Well, if you’re not one for the look of blankets duct taped to your living room window, installing argon filled gas windows may be for you.
Provided you’re thinking of replacing your windows - and will be living in the house for a number of years to come - windows with argon gas are an excellent investment to help you save on future energy bills. So what is it and how does it work?
How Argon Gas Works
Argon gas is one of the noble gases, comprising less than 1% of the earth’s atmosphere. It is clear in colour and extremely stable, and chemically inert - making it non-toxic and useful in numerous applications. When used as a fill layer in dual or triple-paned windows, argon gas is an effective insulator. How?
Argon gas is quite dense (40% denser than air) when compared to other gases, which makes it move more slowly. *upcoming science lesson* The movement of gas relative to the same gas of different temperature is called convection. Convection contributes to heat loss moving the gas around, and transferring heat from warm to cold surfaces. As such, argon does not store heat as well as the surrounding air, as it takes more energy for heat to pass through it. This makes the window far more energy efficient.
How to Tell if You Already Have Argon Filled Windows
If you have dual or triple-paned windows in your home already, and wanted to be sure they had our old friend argon in them, there are a few ways to tell. On older windows, you can try to see if the window tag or work order is still on the window (found along the inside track), or you could search the spacer between the panes – if you notice small holes somewhere along the spacer material, then it is indeed a gas filled window. The holes were once used in production, one for pumping the gas in, the other for allowing air to be pushed out as the thicker argon moves in. In newer windows, this process has become much cleaner and the argon is sandwiched between two (or three) panes of glass in a large machine and then framed in, creating no visible markings for a cleaner look.
Things to Consider
Argon gas doesn’t last forever. Even the best sealed windows typically leak a little of its contents each year, as pressures of the environment, temperature changes, or tiny imperfections allow the gas to escape. Research indicates that as much as 10% of its contents can leave a poorly made window in under 20 years. But even if you’re not lucky enough to have well-made windows from Nordik, an argon fill layer with 80% of its gas contents left can still be as effective as a brand new one.
You can tell if your windows are no longer as effective if condensation or fog appears between the two panes of glass. If that happens, then there is some moisture – and thus air – inside the spacer instead of argon.
Does Argon Gas Help in the Summer?
Although often thought of during the winter months, don’t forget that an argon Low E window can help with energy savings all year round. The window works both ways – it protects against the summer heat too, helping your home stay cool.
If you have questions regarding whether argon gas windows are right for your home, or whether the existing windows in your home are already argon filled, contact us today! We're here to help ;).