Of the 118 million homes in the United States, 59% have double pane windows and 40% have single pane windows. Single pane windows have been the standard in home design for decades, as they’re cheaper and easier to install than double pane. On the other hand, double pane windows make our homes more energy efficient.
Even if you have double pane windows, glass still lets the sun’s light and heat into your home or office. Double pane windows also won’t block sun glare. Window tinting is the best technology for blocking glare and light while also keeping your views, but if you have double pane windows, be cautious! Certain window films can crack double pane windows and void the warranty, but don't worry, there are window film options that are safe for double pane glass.
Solar Art get questions about installing film on double pane windows from home and business owners all the time. Like we said, not every window film is designed for double pane windows, so let’s learn more!
Let’s start with the differences between single pane windows and double pane windows. As you might guess, single pane windows are just one sheet of glass that only keeps out the elements and not much more. On the other hand, double pane windows are more sophisticated and are designed to keep your room’s temperature stable.
Double pane windows are a sealed, hollow environment, made up of two sheets of glass with gas (such as air) contained in the space between. The window’s interior edges are lined with a material that dries out the air, and the window is sealed where it comes into contact with your walls.
Double pane windows have been around for a while, but their origins are rooted in simple physics: if you have a single layer of material, doubling that layer with a gas space in between will insulate much more efficiently than the single layer. Windows are no different.
Double pane windows are popular due to their greater energy efficiency and lower energy costs, as a home’s windows are responsible for up to 30% of heat loss. Double pane windows are a partial solution to this. As they are also thicker, they provide better noise reduction than single pane windows. Like single pane windows, you can buy them ready-made with tint or reflective privacy surfaces.
On the other hand, double pane windows don’t reduce the sun’s harsh glares that covers your TV and monitor screens, and they are still prone to scratching. One sharp object can ruin your expensive double pane windows and you’ll need to replace the entire window unit.
If you have single pane windows then window film is a cost-effective upgrade. It will allow your windows to block heat, harsh glare, UV rays, and more. Your rooms will be more comfortable and you’ll save money on cooling costs.
Because single pane windows are less efficient than double pane windows, window films such as solar film, privacy film, security film, anti graffiti film and decorative window films are popular choices to install on both single and double pane glass. While most are completely safe, there are a few that aren't, which we will get to later in the blog. All window films block 99% of the sun’s UV rays and up to 63% of the sun’s heat and glare. Insulating windows will immediately slash your AC energy bills year round.
Window film is still beneficial for double pane windows because window film does what double pane windows can’t. Even though double pane windows are already energy efficient, window film makes them even more efficient. Another benefit is that double pane glass doesn't block sun glare or 99% of UV light, but when window film is installed it will. Additionally, double pane windows can be scratched or shattered; both can be avoided with durable safety film and anti graffiti film. Finally, if you have un-tinted double pane windows and want a privacy tint, a quick window film installation can instantly transform your existing windows without the cost or mess of replacing the entire glass.
While installing window film to dual pane windows can make them more energy efficient, homeowners and property managers should know the risks. Basically, installing the wrong window film on double pane window glass can void your window warranties because certain window films will damage your double pane windows. We’ll talk about warranties and window cracking next.
Glass manufacturers cover certain day-to-day damage, but they may not cover damage from the wrong window film. Installing window film to insulated glass can void the glass warranty, so be sure to check with the glass manufacturer.
For this reason, you should avoid store-bought DIY window film. Since these are produced at a much lower quality level than professional window film from Solar Art, your windows will be at higher risk of cracking and your glass warranty could be voided. Thus, professional window film designed for double pane windows and installed by experts is the way to go.
Unfortunately, double pane window construction makes them vulnerable to cracking. Remember that double pane windows are basically a box with glass walls and air trapped inside. When the wrong window film is installed, the inside glass heats up faster than the outside glass. This heats the gas in the hollow pocket and the inside glass pane expands faster than the outside glass pane. Thus, the window cracks under the pressure of heat and expanding gas.
When your window cracks, you’ll need to replace it as soon as possible to avoid injury to people around it. The entire window unit must be replaced which can be very expensive.
Now that the scary stuff is out of the way, let’s look at your window film options for double pane windows! When you contact Solar Art, be sure to let us know up front that you need window film for double pane windows. Most films work for double pane windows but knowing which films not to choose will make the quote process faster.
If you don’t know if your window is double pane, our sales team can help decipher if your window is single or double pane and what your options are based on your needs. As a general rule, films with high heat absorption will crack your windows under the heat buildup inside the window. High heat absorption films include very dark films like blackout window film and “limo tint.” These dark films will get too hot and cause uneven heating in your windows. Otherwise, lighter window films, optically clear window films, and reflective window films are fine.
We are here to help you every step of the way and to make this process as painless as possible. Talk to Solar Art today about making your double pane windows more private, energy efficient, and durable.
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