Energy-efficient windows becoming more and more popular, as consumers look for ways to keep their homes comfortable while lowering their energy bills. Advances in window designs now help keep thermal energy from escaping through window sashes, while minimizing the amount of solar heating entering a home through the same windows.
Many of these energy-efficient windows have multiple panes of glass, with a layer of Argon or Krypton gas sandwiched in the middle. These gases serve as a barrier to energy that can make its way through the panes surrounding them, and the reduced energy transfer comes lower energy bills. After all, your heater or air conditioner won’t have to work as hard when it’s keeping only the inside of your home at a comfortable temperature, and not the areas outside it.
Some energy-efficient windows use Argon gas fillings. Others use Krypton, or even occasionally a combination of both gases. These windows are priced differently, but which ones are most worthwhile for you to get? Let’s take a closer look.
How Gas Fills Slow Down Escaping Energy
Krypton and Argon gases are pumped into the areas between the panes in energy-efficient windows because they’re heavier than air. These odorless, non-toxic gases move slower than air does, and having the gases in an enclosed space slows down or stops energy that travels through them.
Argon is six times denser than air, while Krypton is twelve times denser than air. That means that Krypton slows down or blocks thermal energy traveling through windows much more effectively than Argon. Yet, Argon is found in a great number of energy-efficient windows, including most double pane models.
Think about how much more resistance you face when walking in water, as opposed to on dry land. Argon and Krypton make the slot between panes seem more like a swimming pool than the pool deck to energy attempting to pass through the space.
How Gas Fills Impact Your Bottom Line
Windows with Krypton fillings tend to be close to 40 percent more expensive than windows with Argon fillings. Contractors pay an increased amount for Krypton windows, so you can bet you’ll be paying more for them as well.
A general rule is that Argon gas is found in windows with a space of ½ inch or more between panes, including most double-pane models. Meanwhile, Krypton gas is generally used in windows that have a 3/8 inch gap between panes (which are generally triple-pane models). This is the case both because it’s more cost efficient to pump Krypton into smaller spaces between window panes and because Krypton performs best as an insulator in this design.
Just like consumers, businesses tend to cringe at higher costs. For that reason, windows with Argon fills are much more popular among remodeling companies. But why are Krypton windows so much more expensive to make and get for your home?
The answer: Krypton gas is hard to produce. The International Association of Certified Homebuilders states that Argon gas makes up about one percent of the atmosphere. That means that Argon gas is in far from abundant supply around the Earth. Still, Krypton is in even shorter supply, as it’s found only in trace amounts in the atmosphere. That drives the cost of Krypton up and makes Argon gas a more cost-efficient ingredient for energy efficient windows.
Is Krypton Worth It?
It really depends. Data from the Efficient Energy Collaborative shows that homes featuring triple-paned windows with Krypton fillings in the Dallas-Fort Worth region tend to have lower cooling costs than they would if they had double-paned, Argon filled windows with the same specifications installed. This cost difference could be as much as $20 per year.
Before deciding whether to choose Krypton-filled or Argon-filled windows, take a look around your home. If you have a top of the line climate-control system and only a moderate amount of windows, triple-paned windows with Krypton might be worth the extra cost. But if you have a large number of windows, natural shade outside your home or an air and heating unit that requires more juice to keep your home cool, Argon-filled double-paned windows might be a better investment.
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