AVERAGE COST OF
DOUBLE PANE WINDOWS
While most of us like the idea of large windows in our home, allowing light to cascade in, it can prove to be problematic while also maintaining an eco-friendly home. There is an inherent irony when it comes to windows, in that, while they provide the connection with the environment around us, the larger they are, the more fuel we have to use in our homes to maintain the right temperature.
Glass is an extremely good conductor of heat, particularly compared with many other materials that make up a modern home. If in doubt, touch the inside of the glass in your home on a particularly cold or hot day (i.e. when there is a large temperature differential between indoors and outdoors). You’ll see that the glass is bringing the heat in (on a hot day) or letting it out (on a cold day).
However, double pane windows are a modern solution to a modern problem. While more and more of us are building homes with large windows, we’re also increasingly environmentally and cost-conscious when it comes to energy efficiency. Double pane windows allow for large windows, without wasting energy.
Double pane windows are made up of two sheets of glass, sandwiched around a layer of either air, gas, or, in some cases, a vacuum (i.e. the air is pumped out).
The key layer is the one between the two panes of glass. Because air is a very poor conductor of heat, it effectively prevents a flow of energy between the two panes. The outer pane will remain at the same temperature as the outdoors, and the inner pane will remain at the same temperature as the indoors. Double pane windows cut energy loss by around 70%. As an added benefit, they also cut the sound from outside by roughly the same percentage.
If you’re thinking about upgrading your windows to double pane windows, the below guide will walk you through the costs involved. Although it is not always cheap to install new windows, there are certainly ways you can cut costs. What’s most important is that you find the right option for you, and the below information will help you determine what that may be.
DOUBLE PANE WINDOWS
The average cost for a single, standard sized, double hung, replacement vinyl double pane window is between $385 and $850.
This does not include the following factors:
Across the United States as a whole, the average cost of installation is roughly $38/hour. In normal circumstances, installing a double pane window will take between 4 and 9 hours (it may take less than 1, although it is unlikely that the installer will charge you for less than one hour). Therefore, the cost of installation will be somewhere between $152 and $342. This depends on the cost of living in your area, the accessibility of your home, as well as the type of window you are having installed. It is possible that the installation cost may be even higher in some circumstances.
There is an economy of scale to this, meaning that if you were to install multiple panes, the installation cost would not remain at $152 – $342 per pane. You should aim to get a few from installation companies in advance of any work beginning.
Below is a breakdown of the total costs involved, by material prices and installation costs.
As the table shows, it is possible for there to be a great deal of variance in the costs involved. The budget option comes in roughly 50% cheaper than the luxury option.
Double Pane Window – Material Prices
$120.00 - $150.00
$180.00 - $216.00
$276.00 - $336.00
Double Pane Window – Installation Cost
$150.00 - $168.00
$192.00 - $222.00
$240.00 - $270.00
Double Pane Window – Total
$270.00 - $318.00
$372.00 - $438.00
$516.00 - $606.00
Double Pane Window – Total Average Cost Per Square Foot
Again, this represents only a ballpark range of figures. The below section will delve into the additional costs to help you build a better picture of the costs that will be involved in your own particular circumstances. However, it is important to remember that these costs must be confirmed based on your locale, the companies you work with, and the accessibility of your home. All of these will shape the final total.
As mentioned above, there are variable costs that determine the final price of your double pane windows. Reviewing the options can save a great deal of money from the total cost.
Unfortunately, it is extremely unlikely that you will be able to save money on the installation costs by doing the job yourself. The fragile nature of glass and the difficulty of installing on higher floors mean that it is very unlikely that an amateur can install double pane windows safely and effectively. Whatever costs there are to cut, installation isn’t one of them.
WINDOW FRAMING MATERIALS
The most common material type for double pane windows is vinyl. These are mass-produced and use the cheapest material. That’s not to suggest that they are shoddy or in any way inferior, but aesthetically they often don’t hold the same cache as windows made from traditional materials. These windows will usually be at the lower end of the price bracket – somewhere between $350 and $500, depending on the size and style of the windows.
A somewhat rarer material, although the cheapest, is aluminum. Aluminum windows are extremely lightweight and therefore are easy to transport and ship, reducing the final cost. If you go for aluminum windows, you will almost certainly be at the lower end of the price bracket (again, with the same limitations in place).
Installing wooden windows is often a stylistic choice, although wooden windows are also more environmentally friendly than the more common uPVC windows. This is reflected in the price, which will put you at the higher end of the $350 to $850 bracket. Wooden windows are usually somewhere between $600 and $850, even before you factor in the cost of installation.
TRIPLE PANE WINDOWS
If a double pane isn’t enough for you, then it may be possible to get triple pane windows. Triple pane windows have all of the advantages of double pane windows but taken to another level. The two layers of air that are sandwiched between the glass mean that even less heat can escape.
From a financial perspective, triple pane windows may make a good option, as they cost roughly 20% more than double pane windows, but can save up to 50% more heat energy.
The U rating system, which ascribes a score for heat transfer of a double pane window is usually no more than 1.4. For a triple pane window, the scores can be as little as 0.5. As a comparison, a standard wall is around 0.3 U. This shows that, while windows may be weak points when it comes to energy efficiency, a triple pane window is almost as efficient as you can get. For $450 to $1,020, this represents a major investment, but one with very solid returns.
installing double pane windows is an investment, not just a cost. Because of the 70% energy loss reduction, you’ll start to see smaller energy bills from the outset – particularly in the warmest or coldest months.
However, the relatively high initial outlay means that it will take a while for you to recoup the cost. A further financial factor to consider is the overall increase in the value of your home. When it comes time to sell your home, prospective buyers will be willing to pay more because of the relatively low running costs. This means that you stand to benefit in two main ways – from the lower running costs and from the overall increase in your house price. This could even total a profit in some instances.
In both cases, it’s not something you should invest in if you plan on moving soon, as you may struggle to see a return on your investment in that time. However, if you’re in your ‘forever home,’ or are staying out for a while, then it’s definitely worth doing. After all, as the numbers above show, it can be surprisingly affordable.
In some jurisdictions, you may even be able to get public funds for your conversion; many states have ‘green funds’ to aid citizens who are looking to upgrade the efficiency of their homes.
So do your research, get as much information as possible (the figures above are a strong start in that respect), and work out what the right options are for you. Remember to get quotes from a few different companies before proceeding with the work, and you’ll be well on your way to building the energy-efficient, low-running cost home of your dreams.