3900 N Island Hwy, Nanaimo
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12 Feb 2020
triple pane vs double pane windows

Triple Pane vs Double Pane Windows

Are Triple Pane Windows Worth the Extra Price?

Whether you’re building your dream home from the ground up, or you’re looking into cost estimates of upgrading your old windows, chances are the topic of triple pane vs. double pane windows has come up in your research. Many of our clients at Budget Glass ask us if it’s worth paying the extra money for triple pane windows. And we understand why: the price difference can end up being thousands of dollars!

Here is our long answer to the common question of, “Are triple pane windows actually worth the additional cost?”

Understanding Double and Triple Pane Windows

Back in the day, a window consisted of a single sheet of glass sealed in a frame. Nowadays, these single-pane windows are slowly but surely getting replaced with double pane or triple pane windows.

These newer windows are more than just glass – they are a new technology that consists of two or three sheets of glass (panes) that are sealed together with a bit of space left in between them. This airspace is quite often filled with a clear, odourless gas like argon or krypton to provide further energy-efficient insulating properties. These multiple pane windows are sealed units or insulated glass units (IGUs).

Double pane windows are designed to reduce a home’s heating and cooling costs by making it more energy efficient. The double panes provide a noticeable amount of added insulation to the home. In triple pane windows, the third pane adds another insulating barrier, creating the ultimate in energy efficient windows.

In Canada, multiple pane windows are required for all new buildings as per the National Building Code.

So, which is better?

Because double pane windows offer a home increased energy efficiency and reduced heating and cooling costs, a lot of homeowners are curious if it’s worth it to pay a bit more to get triple pane windows, which offer even more energy efficiency.

The bottom line is that triple pane windows are only worth the investment if you plan on living in your house for enough time to benefit from the energy savings. In a mild climate like Vancouver Island, this could take up to 25 years, depending on your average heating and cooling costs.

Triple pane windows are also considered worth it for homeowners who are sensitive to cold drafts in the winter and want to avoid them at all costs.

It’s important to note that triple pane windows will pay for themselves faster through energy savings if you live in a colder climate. They make sense in places like Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, and in Northern BC where temperatures drop dramatically in the winter (in some cases they are actually mandatory!).

However, here on Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland, double pane windows – the building code standard – provide a very satisfying level of insulation for most homeowners, especially when they come with special low-e coatings that help further reflect infrared light, which keeps your heat indoors in the winter and outdoors in the summer. The addition of the third pane in most Nanaimo homes would not make that noticeable of a difference where temperatures don’t really drop much below freezing (and when they do, it doesn’t stay cold for months at a time).

Advantages of Triple Pane Windows

All that being said, there are some advantages to triple pane windows. For example, they can:

  • Better resist condensation
  • Offer additional sound insulation or noise reduction
  • Help reduce your heating and cooling costs if you live in a cold climate where winters last a long time
  • Add value to your home if they are installed professionally
  • Provide extra room for more special coatings to be added to your window

Disadvantages of Triple Pane Windows

  • The energy savings from installing triple pane can take up to 25 years to equal the cost of the windows, depending on your average energy usage.
  • They cost more than their double pane counterparts by up to 30%.
  • They come with extra weight, so you will need to ensure your home can handle the extra weight.
  • They are only effective if all the windows are upgraded. If drafty skylights, front doors, and sliding patio doors aren’t upgraded or addressed, the energy savings from triple pane windows won’t be realized.

Costing Out Your New Windows

Triple pane windows can cost anywhere from 10 to 30% more than double pane windows, depending on things like any additional coatings and glazes that are requested, and whether or not your frames need to be altered to accommodate the larger, heavier sealed units. It might not seem like that much higher of a price for just one or two windows, but if you’re upgrading all of your old windows, going up to triple pane can cost thousands of dollars – which might have an impact if your renovation budget is already tight.

So, at the end of the day, are triple pane windows really worth the investment? If you have a small home and need to swap out a couple of windows, the above advantages might be worth it to you to spring for triple pane windows. However, double pane windows are more often than not more than sufficient for homes in our region’s mild climate.

For builders and remodelling professionals, the jury’s still out on this topic, with some companies only offering up triple pane windows, and some companies only offering up double pane windows. However, as federal and provincial codes continue to evolve and prioritize energy efficient building designs, we won’t be surprised if triple pane windows become standard issue for all new builds in the near future. We are keeping a close eye on this one, but for now, please know that our double pane windows with added specialty coatings more than meet the province’s minimum energy rating (ER) of 25 for the Zone 1 climate of Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland.

Professional Window Installation & Replacement

If you are still unsure if double pane or triple pane windows are right for you, our experts can guide you through this decision-making process, basing our expert opinion on current building codes, your current heating and cooling costs, and your budget.

To learn how the glass professionals at Budget Glass in Nanaimo, BC can help with your window installation, repair, and replacement needs, give us a call at (250) 758-3374 or schedule an appointment online.

25 Feb 2019

Ins and Outs of Cleaning Exterior Screens

Cleaning exterior screens is often one of those chores that just gets pushed to the very bottom of the to-do list. While screens work hard for us, there are plenty of household chores that get priority, and your time is valuable. So why bother with cleaning exterior screens? Do they even need cleaning? While it can seem like a small, frustrating task, it can make a difference to your home. Questions? We’ve got answers.

“Should I bother cleaning exterior screens?”

The short answer is yes! It might be surprising, but dirty screens will have a shorter lifespan. Since screens act as a barrier, there’s a whole host of outdoor particles that can degrade the fibres once they get stuck to the screen. Salt from ocean air is one example of this. If you’re living on the West Coast, this will be an important one! Cleaning exterior screens can reduce how often you’ll need to replace them.

Keep your windows looking great while keeping the bugs away with tidy screens!

“What else can cleaning exterior screens do for me?”

Aside from protecting your investment, cleaning exterior screens does several other things for you. Perhaps one of the most notable is improving your air quality. Opening your windows for some “fresh” air doesn’t help much if that air has to go through a dirty screen full of dust and pollen. Screens can also be home to mould build-up, especially when they’re regularly exposed to moisture. All of these things will be headed straight into your home with even the slightest breeze. Cleaning exterior screens will help improve the air you’re breathing by preventing these particles from coming inside.

Another reason to clean: a better view! Regularly removing dirt and debris will make your screen seem less noticeable when you are looking out of your windows.

Clean screens give you a better view!

 “How do I go about cleaning exterior screens?”

Cleaning exterior screens can be pretty simple. You can either clean them one at a time, or you can do them all at once. If you do them all at once though, make sure you label them as you remove them so you can reinstall them later. Before you begin, remember to be gentle and don’t push on the screen when you’re cleaning. Too much pressure will wreck them! It’s also a good idea to check for holes and damage while you’re cleaning exterior screens.

First, lay the screens down on a flat surface. To protect them, lay them on an old towel or bed sheet. Vacuum each side of the screen gently with a soft brush attachment. Cleaning exterior screens with anything other than a soft brush attachment isn’t a good idea, as it can damage the screen.

Next, stand each screen up and gently wash each side of the screen with soapy water. Be sure to use a eco-friendly soap, especially if you’re washing outside! A soft cloth or sponge does best.

Now you’re ready to rinse! Use a hose or place them in the shower for a quick, thorough rinse. Either way, make sure the setting is low so you don’t damage the screens.

Finally, let your screens air dry. You can gently use a towel to take up excess water, but make sure they’re fully dry before you reinstall them.

No harsh chemicals required, so keep your cleaner eco-friendly!

“When should I be cleaning exterior screens?”

Depending on how your home is situated, cleaning exterior screens should be done at least twice a year. The best times to clean them are late fall, before winter hits, and again in spring. If your home is located particularly close to the ocean or somewhere with a lot of dust and pollen, cleaning exterior screens at the beginning and end of every season is a good choice.

 

Cleaning exterior screens might not be the favourite chore, but thankfully, it doesn’t have to be difficult. And with so many benefits, it seems even easier to add it to the list! Eventually, even after cleaning exterior screens regularly, they will need to be replaced. When it’s time to say goodbye to your old screens, or you have a window that you’d like to add a screen to, give us a call. We’ll be happy to come take a look, measure, and get you a perfect fit!

01 Feb 2019

Sealed Unit Replacement and Winter Storms

What does a sealed unit replacement and winter storms have in common? To get to the answer, we’ll have to do a little exploring. This winter has already seen some crazy weather, and it’s only half over. While Vancouver Island is no stranger to soggy, windy storms, they can cause damage to our homes. In particular, high winds and heavy precipitation are a recipe for trouble when it comes to windows.

What is a sealed unit replacement?

Before we can answer our question, we should take a look at what a sealed unit is and what a sealed unit replacement does. A sealed unit, in short, is the glass part of your double paned windows. It has a gas-filled pocket between the layers to help prevent heat from getting out (or in), which helps with insulating your home and improving your energy efficiency.

A sealed unit replacement is what we do when your glass is broken or your windows are fogging between the layers. It’s a budget-and-eco-friendly way to keep your windows going at peak efficiency. A sealed unit replacement does have limits though, as there are some damages that are better repaired with a complete window replacement.

Installing a sealed unit.

How does a sealed unit replacement relate to winter storms, though?

Winter storms are nothing new to BC. Wet coast, best coast, right? Most times, your windows can weather these storms with ease, but sometimes these storms can be a big hazard. In fact, a big winter storm caused a power outage of nearly 2 weeks for some people, right here in our backyard. Sometimes, high winds and heavy rain can cause damage to the sealed unit in your window, whether it’s a crack, dent, or something else. If this does happen, a sealed unit replacement can save you from having to replace your entire window after a storm!

West coast winters are wet!

Is there a way to tell whether a sealed unit replacement is the right choice?

Wind drives rain deep into places it might not otherwise go. After a windstorm, you should first make sure it’s safe to go outside. When it’s safe, you should visually inspect windows and frames for dents and cracks caused by debris, such as branches. Make sure to look in the less obvious places around your frames too. Watch for fog or condensation between the panes and look for any wet spots that may indicate a leak.

If you have sustained damage to the glass, but your frames are undamaged and there’s no sign of leaks, sealed unit replacement may work for you. If you’ve found leaks, drafts, or damage to the frames, you may still need to replace the whole window instead of the sealed unit.

Fog or condensation between the layers is something that needs to be addressed.

A sealed unit replacement can be a fantastic way to save yourself some repair money if you’ve sustained storm damage. If you haven’t already, you should also talk with your insurance broker about what coverage you may need for serious damages caused by storms. Severe winter weather is becoming more frequent, so make sure you protect your investment. Think a sealed unit replacement might be right for you? Need a second opinion on whether your window should be completely replaced? Give us a call!

11 Dec 2018

Top 3 Signs That Say It’s Time To Replace Your Windows

We all know that we should replace our windows at some point, but when is the right time, really? Most windows have a reasonably long life span. Newer vinyl windows can last upwards of 15 – 20 years and will do their job well for the duration of that time. However, there are a few cases where you should replace them sooner. Here are our top 3 signs to watch for!

Windows Don’t Open, Close, or Lock

If you are having issues with opening, closing or locking your windows, you should consider replacing them. There are a couple of reasons why this is something you should watch for. Windows are important for your safety and for your comfort, so mechanisms that don’t work can be hazardous.

In the event of an emergency, such as a house fire, windows offer important exit points throughout your home. If they can’t open easily, this significantly impacts your ability to use them for this purpose. Windows that don’t close or lock properly also impact your home’s safety.

Windows also provide comfort to your home. Being able to close your windows in the winter lowers your heating costs and keeps you cozier when it’s cold outside. Opening your windows allows for natural cooling of your home by allowing hot air to escape in the summer, reducing your cooling costs. Windows that don’t work can actually cost you money in the long run!

Windows Are Leaky, Sills Have Damage, Or Collect Condensation

Damaged windows need to be replaced. If you can see significant damage in the sills or frames, such as rotting wood, it might be time to replace your windows. Light damage can sometimes be repaired, so if you’re not sure, book a consultation to confirm. It’s important to deal with rot right away though, as it can easily cause further damage to window structure if left alone too long.

Leaks or significant condensation are also an indication that your windows need replacement. Water damage is dangerous for your home’s structural framework, as well as your health. Consistently wet areas can harbour mould, which can affect your air quality. It can also cause hidden rot. While some condensation can be normal, significant condensation can indicate a problem, and should be looked at.

Energy Efficiency

If your energy costs are increasing, it may also be time to replace your windows. This can be a sign that the windows in your home have lost their insulative properties. Old windows, especially single pane windows, are extremely inefficient at keeping heat in during the winter. Replacing your windows with energy efficient ones can save you quite a bit, even more if they’re on the most efficient list!

Older windows may be the more obvious choice to replace but there are some cases where other types of windows can reduce your energy efficiency. Cracked windows of any type will lose their ability to insulate effectively and should be replaced. Sealed unit windows with condensation between the panes have also lost their ability to insulate and should be replaced too.

 

Windows are an important part of your safety and comfort, so if your windows are showing any of these signs, you should consider repair or an upgrade. If you’re not sure whether something should be replaced or repaired, or you’re ready to upgrade and want to book an installation, give us a call. Our team is highly skilled and experienced, and we’re happy to help! Contact us today!

28 Nov 2018

Winter Installations: Can You Install Windows In Cold Weather?

Installing windows in the winter is not often the first thing we think of when it comes to cold weather renos. Luckily for us, on Vancouver Island, we don’t experience the same level of cold as our friends from the Interior. Sometimes drafts and moisture issues only become apparent in the colder months, and your spring window installation might seem just a bit too far away. Since drafty old windows are nobody’s idea of a cozy winter, this begs the question. Can you install windows in winter weather? The short answer is yes, but let’s take a look at why you shouldn’t worry about booking your window installation in cooler temperatures.

Is it safe to install windows in sub zero temperatures?

Surprisingly, windows can be installed in cold weather up until about -20C. Since we live in the more temperate coastal regions of BC, window installations are definitely possible throughout the winter months. There are still some challenges when it comes to cold weather installations though. The vinyl in newer windows becomes harder to cut, so tricky windows with lots of cuts, like bay windows, might need to wait until the spring.

What about when it’s wet outside?

Rain is one of the most common winter elements we’re exposed to on the Island. In many cases, installation during precipitation is possible, but this will depend on a number of things. High wind and heavy rain can make installation difficult, as it can present a safety hazard for our team. It can also lead to moisture entering the interior of your home, which is what we’re trying to prevent with high quality windows in the first place!

However, we can assure you that our installers are experienced in all types of weather, and they know when to try again another day. If conditions are really bad, we’re happy to reschedule an installation at a time that works for you.

Why should I install windows in the winter anyway?

Weather conditions aside, the winter is actually a good time to install windows. Installations in the winter don’t really have any disadvantages compared to the summer months and might even have some benefits. If you’re experiencing significant condensation or window leaks, waiting until the spring isn’t necessarily a good idea. Rain storms and high winds common to Vancouver Island can drive moisture deep into cracks and crevasses, causing lasting damage.

Installing your windows during the winter means that most of the issues you might have with a window will already be present, making it easier to find and fix them. Winter is a slower time of year as well, so you may have more options when it comes to installation dates.

 

In reality, while the weather isn’t as friendly, the benefits from upgrading your windows exist throughout the year. Replacing existing windows any time can give you energy savings and increase your comfort level. If you’re experiencing significant issues with your windows, waiting can even be detrimental. If you have window issues, such as leaks or cracks, don’t wait until the spring! Give us a call and book your consultation today!

23 Oct 2018

3 Tricks for Getting Rid of Window Condensation

As the weather gets cooler, it’s pretty common to get window condensation. There’s a simple reason this happens. Condensation is generally the result of temperature change. When the temperature drops, humidity tends to increase indoors along with the heat. Cold air cools your windows, causing the warmer, more humid air inside to condense as it hits the cold glass. It is normal to have window condensation, even with newer panes, if your home’s humidity is high. It’s a good idea to monitor window condensation and it can easily be removed with a soft towel. Regular removal can help prevent mould and mildew buildup from excess moisture. While drying your windows is effective, we’ve got a few tricks to help get rid of window condensation before it hits the glass.

Remove Humidity to Prevent Window Condensation

One of the easiest ways to help remove condensation is to reduce the amount of moisture in the air. If you have humidifiers, turning them down will reduce some of the condensation on your windows. If you experience high humidity without a humidifier, using a dehumidifier will also help reduce moisture in your home. Dehumidifiers come in many different models and sizes, so look for one that works for the space where you’re finding the most condensation. Common areas to find condensation include bathrooms and kitchens. Hidden humidity culprits include plants and fish tanks. Lids are available for most aquariums to prevent excess moisture from escaping and moving houseplants away from windows can help prevent condensation from building up.

Increase Air Flow to Prevent Window Condensation.

Increasing air flow will help to prevent window condensation, especially in problem areas like kitchens or bathrooms. Using stove and bathroom fans will help remove some of the warm air released when cooking or taking a shower. Ceiling fans will help keep warm air circulating. Keeping your windows open a crack can also help prevent window condensation. Another option is an air exchanger, which brings in fresh air from outside and removes stale, humid air from the house. While more expensive, there are several options available and these units can also help keep interior air clean.

Upgrade Your Windows to Prevent Window Condensation.

Upgrading your windows can help prevent window condensation too. Single pane windows are notorious for condensation, as they lack the extra insulating effect that newer windows have. Newer windows with condensation between the panes should also be replaced, as this is generally a sign of a broken seal. In any case, checking weather stripping around doors and windows is a good idea, as poor seals will contribute to moisture problems.

Preventing window condensation is an important part of looking after your home’s health. Mould and mildew buildup can cause many issues, so it’s necessary to control it. While these tricks can help prevent significant condensation, it’s important to dry off any remaining condensation with a soft towel often, which will also prevent moisture damage to your sills. If you’re experiencing excessive window condensation and are thinking of upgrading, we’ve got you covered. Don’t wait, give us a call today!

25 Sep 2018

Exterior Winter Prep: Getting Your Exterior Ready for a Long Winter’s Nap

Fall has returned, and with it comes the yearly list of exterior winter prep. Packing lunches and raking leaves is about to become the norm, and along with that, colder weather. Before the frost hits and the dark nights commence, keep your house cozy and your yard set for winter with these tips.

Exterior Winter Prep for Windows, Doors, and Gutters

Windows and doors play a pretty big part in your home’s performance, especially in winter. Windows and doors that are improperly maintained can add to your energy bill and keep you feeling chilly from
drafts. Checking for leaks around windows and doors is an important part of exterior winter prep. Airtight seals helps to lower your energy bill and keeps the heat in. Checking seals is particularly important for single pane windows. If your windows are in bad shape, it might be time to consider upgrading. New vinyl windows keep heat inside the house and reduce your overall energy consumption. Replacing damaged weather stripping is also part of exterior winter prep.

Now’s a good time to remove any excess dirt and debris from window sills and tracks, and give the windows a good wash too. If your home experiences high humidity, it may also be a good idea to invest
in a dehumidifier or lowering the thermostat slightly, to prevent condensation. Prevent damage to exterior walls by giving them a scrub to remove dirt, mould and moss. Doing this as part of your exterior
winter prep can help prevent them from growing in the ideal conditions that wet winters bring. Gutters should be cleaned as well to promote drainage.

Condensation from humidity.

Exterior Winter Prep for the Yard:

Part of exterior winter prep is preparing tools and equipment for winter, as well as making sure that winter tools like snow shovels are easily available should you need them. Prep your equipment for the cool weather by removing gas from tanks and draining water from hoses and water features. Clean garden tools before putting them away to keep them from rusting or degrading. Bring out snow shovels or blowers, salt, and any other tools you need to make your job easier when the time comes. Doing this has the added bonus of keeping you from tripping over the beach chairs to get to them. Checking the roof on your home and the shed is also worth adding to your exterior winter prep, as missing or damaged shingles can allow water to leak into your home or shed.

Broken shingles allow moisture to cause permanent damage over time.

Exterior Winter Prep for the Garden

Another important part of exterior winter prep is the garden! Now is the ideal time to plant some colourful fall plants to liven up your space. It’s also a great time to plant bulbs that will bloom in spring. If you have any plants that need to be divided or transplanted, the cooler weather will make it easier on them. Mulching is another great addition to exterior winter prep, as it will help protect the soil and the roots as the temperatures get colder. Be sure to bring sensitive plants to a sheltered or indoor area to prevent stress. Doing the same with container plants will also keep pots from cracking if the soil freezes. Adding both these things to your exterior winter prep checklist will make the eventual switch to spring a lot easier.

Chrysanthemums and other fall flowers add brightness when other plants start to die off.

Taking the time to do a little bit of exterior winter prep will save you time, money, and a headache later. If you need windows or doors replaced, even in the dead of winter, we’ve got you covered. Whether it’s a new patio door, a sealed unit, or something else, we’d love to help you stay cozy this winter! Give us a shout today!

17 Feb 2018
Energy star windows

Lower Your Winter Heating Bill with Energy Star® Windows

Even though windows, patio doors, and skylights do not consume energy, they can be a major pain point on your winter heating bill if they are not energy efficient.

What are Energy Star® Windows?

  • Energy Star® certified windows contain special low-e coatings and insulated frames that help keep the heat in and the cold air of your home.
  • Energy Star® windows are either double or triple glazed, which make for better insulation and also helps with noise reduction from outside.
  • These windows also feature special inert gases between the panes.
  • Energy Star® windows are tailored to your Canadian climate zone.

Benefits of Energy Star® Windows

  1. Save Money
    1. Natural Resources Canada states that compared to standard windows,  Energy Star® rated windows can save you an average of 8% on your energy bills.
    2. Windows that qualify as Energy Star® Most Efficient add to up being 40% more efficient than a standard window.
    3. Efficient windows, doors, and skylights may be eligible for BC Hydro energy savings rebates.

  2. Increased Comfort:
    Energy efficient windows will help keep your house feel cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. No more shivering at the window seat or getting wet from window condensation. Also, the added insulation in your windows will block out a lot of exterior noise.
  3. Increased Home Value
    Not only do new energy efficient windows look great, but they add more value to your home. BC Hydro states that Energy Star® rated homes save up to 20% on their energy bills each year. That number alone is a huge selling factor for a lot of home buyers.
  4. Eco-Friendly
    When it comes to helping the environment, every little bit counts. Since you are using less energy to cool and heat your house, you will reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from your home.

What is your average monthly heating bill? Budget Glass can help you lower your monthly costs with our wide selection of Energy Star® rated windows and expert installation.