As the cold months draw in and the nights get longer and darker, you’re probably starting to think about how best to insulate your home for winter. Not everyone is lucky enough to have an open fireplace or wood burner to cosy up in front of, and if you have a large house to warm up then heating bills can become extortionate at this time of year. One step you can take to keep the heat in and the cold out, is by installing double glazed windows or doors in your home. Double glazing dates back a lot further than you might think; after originating in Victorian Scotland it gained popularity in America during the 1940s and 50s, before arriving in the UK in the mid 1960s. From the 1980s onwards, double glazing was the standard in most UK new build homes, however as it stands only 43% of UK homes have double glazing throughout the property.
Here we will examine what double glazing actually is, the main purpose and options available, and the many benefits of installing double glazing in your home.
What is double glazing?
Double glazing is made up of two panes of glass, separated by a gap (usually around 16mm) filled with a vacuum of air or a layer of argon gas. They also have primary and secondary rubber seals, designed to stop as much heat from escaping the building as possible. Glass is a conductor of heat, so when single glazed windows are present it’s a lot easier for heat to escape to the outside. The air space or gas in between panes of double glazing is a poor conductor of heat, so this helps prevent the warm air from escaping. Most double glazed windows are made from low-emissivity (Low-E) glass and uPVC frames, which we will discuss in more detail further on. You can even get triple glazed windows, although there is debate on whether they are any more efficient than the standard double glazed option.
The main purposes of double glazing
The primary use of double glazing is arguably insulation, for both heat and noise. Double glazing was originally produced to insulate properties and reduce the amount of heat lost to the outside, and the rubber seals are almost completely airtight to reduce draughts. Double glazed windows are also very effective at reducing outside noise; the vacuum in between the panes absorbs sound, and the extra pane acts as a buffer, meaning excess noise won’t disturb those inside. Most modern offices and apartment buildings now have double glazing, especially if they’re built in busy, city centre areas.
Having two panes of glass is also naturally a lot stronger, adding an extra layer of security to your home or business. The double layer technology also reduces the appearance of condensation by maintaining temperatures - the air pocket ensures that cold air can’t meet warm air on the inside of the glass. Condensation can cause damp and musty smells if not dealt with, but there’s much less risk of that when choosing double glazing.
What options are available?
When people think of double glazing they’re usually referring to windows, but the method can be used for windows, doors, conservatories, or any other type of construction using glass panels. The first double glazed window frames were usually made from the original timber leftover from single paned windows. By the 1970s frames had evolved into aluminium, followed by the uPVC windows which are still used today.
uPVC stands for Unplasticised polyvinyl chloride - a hard, chemically resistant form of PVC used for pipes, window frames and doors. It’s an ideal material for window frames and doors as it is durable, affordable and provides a high level of insulation. It’s also very low maintenance and won’t rot, rust or degrade in adverse weather conditions. However you may want to request aluminium or wooden frames, depending on the style of your home. The former are long-lasting and can be recycled, whereas wooden frames are more environmentally friendly but will require maintenance.
Nearly all double glazed windows will be made from low-emissivity (Low-E) glass, which often has very thin coating of metal oxide on one of the internal panes. This is invisible to the eye and lets light and heat in while preventing it from getting out. For extra security consider toughened glass which, as the name suggests, has been strengthened so that it shatters into small cubes rather than shards in the event of a breakage. This type of glass is standard in items such as car windows and telephone boxes, but provides an even more secure option for your windows or doors.
Double glazing improvements don’t have to start and end with windows; if your front door has a glass pane you might want to consider upgrading to double glazing to reduce draughts and add extra security. Or if you’re thinking about an extension to your home then a double glazed conservatory can work wonders. Conservatories as a design are not thermally efficient, so it’s no use trying to heat them in the same way as the main house. However, using double glazed windows and doors can dramatically reduce heat loss and ensure your conservatory stays a comfortable temperature all year round. Many companies can build a conservatory base to suit your exact specification, and offer a range of styles, plus uPVC or powder coated aluminium frames.
The benefits of double glazing in your home
There are many valid reasons why you should consider double glazing your home, which we will explore in more detail below.
Double glazing reduces draughts and heat loss, resulting in a warmer, cosier home all year round. This is especially effective in homes with larger windows or where a bed is positioned right next to a window or outside wall.
Adding an extra layer of glass means there is twice as much to break through - not to mention the windows are a lot stronger - which is a powerful deterrent for burglars. It’s also almost impossible to break double glazing without making a lot of noise, so you can have peace of mind that your home and possessions are well protected.
An average sized home could save around £100 a year on energy bills with the installation of double glazing, which all adds up if you’re planning on living in a ‘forever home’. The extra pane of glass keeps the heat in, so you won’t need to turn your thermostat up as high.
As above, double glazing saves money by keeping your home warmer with less energy output required. The Low-E glass is extremely energy efficient and the thin coating reflects heat back to its source - keeping your home cool in summer and warm in winter.
If you live in a noisy area or have trouble sleeping then double glazing could make all the difference. The dual layers not only trap heat but also block out noise, especially useful if someone in your family works nights or you have young children.
Increased property value
If you’re planning on selling your home, even in the next 5 or 10 years, then the addition of double glazing can add significant value to your property. Many estate agents agree that new double glazed windows are a valuable selling point for increasingly modern homes.
Stylish and practical
Double glazing is very easy to clean and maintain, and more durable than single paned windows so they will look shiny and new for years to come. uPVC and aluminium frames are both long-lasting and can be recycled when they eventually wear down.
If you’re looking for high quality double glazing in Leicestershire, then New Look Windows have you covered. We specialise in uPVC glazing products for all types of windows, doors and conservatories, so whether you’re looking for replacement windows or a bold extension to your home, we can help. Our friendly, knowledgeable team members are all fully trained and accredited, so you can rest assured you’ll be in safe hands. Visit our website today or give us a call to start planning home improvements tailored just for you.