Your windows might be costing you more than they first appear. When it comes to your energy bills, they’re certainly playing a large part. Then there are also environmental concerns. Governments in many countries encourage windows that help homes maintain a desirable temperature.
Window glass can be made from many different substances. When people discover that it’s not their energy source, but their windows, that are costing them more, argon gas is one of the go-to options for replacement. At a glance, there are clear reasons for this. So, let’s look at what drives people to have argon gas in their windows and what scares others away from them.
Argon (Ar on the periodic table) gas is the third-most abundant gas inside Earth’s atmosphere. It’s a popular element in the welding and casting industries. It has other high-value uses, including its use in titanium manufacturing. Not coincidentally, in gas form, it is used to make thermal windows more energy-efficient.
Thermal windows are normally double-or-triple-pane. That means there are two or three layers, with a sealed space in between each of them. Those spaces are often filled with argon gas, or other gasses, to slow heat from transferring through the window.
Argon gas has clear effects on the appearance and energy efficiency of a window. There are several positive changes that you will notice. But there are potential drawbacks, as well. So, let’s jump right into why many people love argon gas in their windows.
Are you tired of cloudy or frosted windows that you can barely see through on a cold day? So are many people who made the switch to new windows.
When the spaces between window panes are filled with argon gas instead of air, you don’t get that cloudy appearance that comes from moisture condensing between panes. Over time, the seals in the gap between normal windowpanes will start to fail. This becomes a much more serious problem once a window has aged too much.
Once a windowpane sealant fails and moisture seeps in, you have a problem. First, the moisture will condense. After that, it evaporates and the resulting deposits create those ugly clouds that not only block your vision but also look awful.
Argon gas does not contain any moisture, making it a good addition for windows in many climates. It can even reduce the chance of condensation or frost on your windows.
In addition to appearances, argon gas is a strong insulator. When it comes to heat retention, argon gas is put in the place of air to (partially) block the transfer of heat. By minimizing heat exchange, you can better maintain an ideal temperature, and at a lower cost.
The insulation effects of argon glass in windows are strong in any climate.
Unlike many alternatives, argon gas is non-toxic. Using it and disposing of it will not harm the environment. In addition, your windows will last longer before they need to be discarded.
Window material is slowly corroded by oxygen. Argon gas in windows helps you avoid corrosion so that your windows last longer. This is good for the planet, as well as your wallet.
Argon gas between window panes doesn’t cost that much extra. It will normally cost no more than $40 per window. As a practical addition, you can make that small investment back through heat insulation and a longer lifetime for your window. You can reasonably view argon gas as a long-term investment.
While this combination of benefits is very attractive, there are a few drawbacks to argon gas in windows that you should be aware of.
While most alternative windows are associated with sound insulation, argon gas does not offer this benefit. Filling the space between panes with argon gas is great for heat insulation, but it does nothing for sound.
With argon glass windows, you lose the benefit of sound insulation offered by alternatives like Krypton gas.
When it comes to both sound insulation and most other factors, the only real drawback is that argon gas isn’t the most efficient option. It costs less, but there are more expensive options that do the same job, but better.
Glass naturally expands and contracts. Argon gas does not. So, the discrepancy will eventually lead to broken seals. That means that the gas between the window panes will be released.
The other problem is that even when the seals are in place, they will very slowly leak gas. This isn’t a huge problem, but it will reduce the gas’s efficiency over time. Under most circumstances, this won’t be a problem anytime soon. But argon gas in windows was never meant to be a permanent solution.
You will need to monitor any gaps in the seals between window panes. Even a small gap will cause significant gas releases. When gas releases, it will be replaced with air, which means moisture. Eventually, this will lead to condensation. With argon gas windows, this is your sign that too much gas has escaped.
With argon gas, you get what you pay for. It’s a cheap investment that can produce great returns by retaining heat. It’s also diverse enough to prove useful in many different climates. However, it’s a cheap solution that starts to fall through once the gas starts being released.
Argon gas is not a bad choice. But you should be aware that while it has many attractive features and doesn’t cost much, there are more efficient alternatives.
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