Are Double-Hung Windows More Efficient Than Sliding Windows?
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Are Double-Hung Windows More Efficient Than Sliding Windows?

Getting ready to replace your windows? Window replacement projects are typically a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. This is the type of project that comes with a big price tag so doing your research is one way of making sure you feel confident with your decisions. If you've already started thinking about replacement window styles, this post is for you. As you know there are several window styles, if you're looking for window styles that don't occupy space outside of your wall then hung and sliding windows should be at the top of your list.

In this post, we're comparing double-hung and sliding windows. These styles look and operate similarly but there are also several differences between them. We'll discuss how these windows work, how construction affects energy-efficiency, and provide some pros and cons to make your decision-making process a bit easier.

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Double-Hung Windows vs. Sliding Windows

Double-hung windows slide but don't confuse them with Sliding or Gliding windows. Hung windows move vertically within the window jamb and sliding windows move horizontally, they're often listed as horizontal sliders on vendor websites. A double-hung window has two sashes, one on the bottom and one on the top. Each sash typically takes up half of the window space and are connected to a balance system which makes it easy to lift or lower each sash. 

In the same family as the double-hung windows is the single-hung window. The difference between these two is that in a single-hung unit only the bottom sash can move. Double-hung windows allow you to get the most mobility and increased ventilation by allowing both sashes to move up and down, overlapping in the center. They open and close manually, typically requiring a pushing (lifting) or pulling (lowering) force once they are unlocked. They are one of the most common styles of window installed in modern homes.

On the flip-side sliding windows are also referred to as horizontal sliders. Instead of operating vertically they slide horizontally along a track in the window frame. A standard sliding window has two sashes like a hung window but some vendors also offer triple-sash configurations which typically include two operable sashes and one fixed sash in the center. Another option with a standard double-sash slider is having one or two operable sashes, similar to the choice in hung windows. 

The mechanics of how they open are slightly different. While a push against gravity or a pull downward gets a double-hung window sash to move, a sliding window is easier. Low-friction rolling sliders inserted into the sash's top and bottom panes allow most of these windows to slide open with a gentle nudge. This easy operation makes them well-suited to hard-to-reach areas and may be a more suitable option if height or the ability to lift and lower the sash in a double-hung window is ever a concern. 

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See examples of windows available from Brennan Enterprises.

Are Double-Hung Windows More Energy-Efficient Than Sliding Windows?

Double-hung windows and sliding windows share a weakness when it comes to energy-efficiency: both are unable to seal completely because it would make operating the window more challenging. You may even notice that some sashes in sliding or hung windows rattle a little, that's because the sash is given extra room so that it can be removed and replaced if necessary. Without a weathertight seal, the energy-efficiency of these windows is likely to decrease. Typically, styles like casement or awning windows can seal when shut and locked, but sliding and hung window styles cannot. Fortunately, energy-efficiency ratings are available when you design your window and you can see how changes in style, size, glass, and frame material affect the window's energy performance. It's absolutely possible to build an energy-efficient double-hung or sliding window.

Should I Get Double-Hung or Sliding Windows for My Home?

Although they might not differ very much when it comes to their energy-efficiency, there are style pros and cons that separate the two. Consider what you want from the window and where you intend to place it before making your final decision.

Pros and Cons of Double-Hung Windows

The standout positive factor of double-hung windows is their popularity. It makes them affordable and gives you plenty of customization options for your home.

Pros of Double-Hung Windows
  • Due to their popularity, double-hung windows are an economical option.
  • Two moving sashes maximize ventilation through the portal.
  • They also have many customization options.
  • Tilt-in sashes allow for easy maintenance. 
Cons of Double-Hung Windows
  • Double-hung windows are not very energy-efficient.
  • They can be relatively difficult to open and close, especially if hung improperly.
  • The bottom sill quickly collects dust and requires more frequent cleaning.

Pros and Cons of Sliding Windows

Sliding windows stand out from the crowd by being easy to operate. They are a great match for awkward areas in the home or those that might lack dexterity or physical strength.

Pros of Sliding Windows
  • Sliding windows have very few parts, making them easy to maintain.
  • Since both sashes can move in most sliding windows, it increases their ventilation.
  • Panes in sliding windows normally don't have any dividers that obstruct light or visibility.
  • These are another cost-effective window style.
Cons of Sliding Windows
  • Sliding windows are not highly energy-efficient.
  • Cleaning these windows is not always very easy since they don't swing inward.
  • Sliding slots on the bottom of the sill attract dust and need regular cleaning.

Check out the related resources below for more information and remember the best window option for your home will depend on your style and budget. Energy-efficiency is important but the differences between different styles may be nominal, the best way to get an accurate comparison of efficiency values is to have a window retailer to build out a window for you. 

February 03, 2021
July 20, 2022


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