Homeowners install argon windows and vinyl-framed windows to save on heating and air conditioning costs, as argon and vinyl provide extra insulation. The use of argon and vinyl in windows and window frames is so commonplace now that many window manufacturing companies use these materials in their standard windows. Like other window types, though, argon and vinyl windows have their pros and cons.
Some window manufacturers place argon gas between each pane in double-pane windows to increase thermal insulation, which reduces heat energy from the sun. Using argon windows is an energy efficient method for building homes, since they prevent the interior of house from becoming too warm on hot days. Argon windows also help keep heat from leaving the house during colder seasons. According to Fine Home Building, homes lose approximately 30 percent of their heating or air conditioner energy due to the presence of windows. The website also says using argon windows helps homeowners save money on annual air conditioning costs.
According to Energy Star, vinyl-framed windows provide thermal insulation and are relatively low maintenance, in terms of cleaning and upkeep. Some vinyl window frames feature foam insulation, while others are hollow. Metal or wood may be needed to reinforce wide vinyl sills. Homeowners install vinyl windows to prevent the passage of air in and out of their homes, as wood-framed windows tend to leak air as they age. Museums and historical societies frequently use vinyl windows when restoring historic houses and public buildings.
Argon and vinyl windows provide more insulation than traditional window frames and glass, but both window types are also more expensive. Both window types do not block the majority of the sun's ultraviolet rays or infrared radiation, which are two other sources of heat. Consumer Reports claims that most high quality window manufacturers include argon in their standard window model. If homeowners do not want to pay the cost of argon, they should check the packaging to determine whether the windows have low-E coating to ensure that some of the sun's emissions are aborbed.
While argon and vinyl windows offer more thermal insulation than traditional windows, these types of windows do have issues. Argon is an odorless, tasteless gas. If an argon window leaks, homeowners will be unaware of the gas' presence in their home. One way to detect argon leakage is to make check whether the window is airtight. Improperly sealed argon windows also eliminates the windows effectiveness as an insulator. Vinyl windows contract in cold weather and expand in hot weather. Over time, this will cause the frame to warp, and warped vinyl frames cannot be repaired.
- Fine Home Building: Understanding Energy Efficient Windows
- Energy Star: What Makes It Energy Star?
- Consumer Reports: Is It a Worth the Extra Cost to Buy Windows Filled with Argon Gas?
- U.S. Glass Magazine: Leaking Out the Facts
- East Row Historic District - Newport, Kentucky: What's Wrong With Vinyl Windows?