Can Argon Gas Be Replaced in Windows?
Argon gas is becoming increasingly common in new windows. The product improves thermal insulation efficiency because it keeps the glass closer to room temperature. Therefore, it cuts down on energy costs as well as other inconvenient features of poor windows like air drafts.
Do your windows have argon gas? Can argon gas be replaced in old windows?
We are starting to get this question more and more so we figured it was time to break down what exactly argon gas is and how to maintain double-pane windows with it.
What is Argon Gas?
Argon gas is a chemical element that’s generally used in new windows to shield the glass. In its most simplistic terms, argon gas presents an extra layer of protection for your windows.
Since argon gas is denser than air it contributes to the captive air in double-pane windows. The result is improved thermal insulation efficiency. Additionally, argon gas when used in conjunction with a special Low-E (low emissivity) glass coating helps keep windows cooler and closer to room temperature.
Argon gas is actually very common. It is the third most abundant gas on earth. Despite common misconception, argon gas is odorless, colorless, non-flammable, and non-toxic. It’s safe to install in your home since there is no trace of dangerous elements in argon gas.
Importance of Argon Gas
When you shop for new windows, you’ll probably notice that the vast majority of them either advertise being low-e and/or filled with argon gas. It’s a fancy way of saying these windows will insulate your home better and lower energy costs.
Older windows and doors are notorious for contributing to higher energy bills. When windows and doors become drafty and inefficient they don’t keep as much controlled heating or cooling inside the home, forcing the home furnace or air conditioner to work harder.
Most older windows are single-paned. Once the glass or frame becomes exposed over time it leads to drafts and other window inefficiencies. The problem is inevitable and it happens because oxygen corrodes the surrounding window material, warping it, and leading to hard to see yet significant cracks or other types of exposure.
Double Pane Windows
Double-pane windows are the solution for old, inefficient windows. Replacement windows these days are often sold as double-pane versions that not only feature two panes of glass (compared to one on single-pane windows) but also are filled with argon gas in between the panes.
Double panes of glass in addition to a layer of a gas is the best way to insulate a window. It minimizes the transfer of heat through the window and leads to less exposure as well as deterioration of the window frame.
Since argon gas is odorless and non-toxic, it isn’t harmful in any way. In fact, argon gas is one of the best technological advances to come out of replacement windows in the last couple of decades in addition to Low-E windows.
Do Your Windows Need to be Replaced?
If you are considering upgrading from existing single-pane windows to double-pane windows. If you already have double-paned windows but aren’t sure if the argon gas has slowly leaked out. Luckily, there are a few methods for inspection.
Even though argon windows are a major upgrade over single-pane windows they are still not useful once they become defective. Consequently, it serves you well to be aware of the types of problems that can arise with windows so you know how to fix the problem.
If you have a double-pane window that was filled with argon gas then you can get a full extend of the repairs by checking the border of the window. If you see any obvious gaps between the frame and wall you have likely lost some argon gas.
You also need to examine the hinges of argon windows to ensure they are secure and have not produced any defects.
Do your windows condensate? Another trademark problem of double-pane windows that have become exposed to drafts (and likely lost all the argon gas) is when condensation builds up on the inner surface. When effective, double-pane windows should not produce much or any condensation.
Sometimes a basic clean will take care of the problem. A soft cloth dampened with a mixture of water and white vinegar works well for cleaning the components and seals of windows. If that isn’t effective, or the problems are more severe you may want to consider replacement windows.
Repairing Broken Argon Windows
If the seals have become worn or cracked there isn’t much you can do. A full replacement seal or window is necessary in order to fix the problem correctly. Your energy bill is not going to get lowered by trying to resolve it with quick fixes.
Though you can attempt to replace a brand new seal on windows, it helps to have a little experience in the industry. We recommend considering a professional.
Even new seals, when not installed correctly, will leak argon gas. Over time, the gas will seep from the gap between the panes of glass. Meanwhile, a professional installer can quickly get a level of argon gas in the windows with the assistance of a metering machine.
Once a level is determined, the professional can approach you with different ways to resolve the issue. If the window has just lost a little bit of argon gas it’s possible to not have to correct the problem.
If substantial gas has been lost a window professional can use a particular instrument that injects the argon gas into the gap between the panes. The process is a little complicated so it’s not recommended as a DIY project.
Can Argon Gas Get Replaced in Old Windows?
Yes. If you send out a window professional for an inspection, he or she can gauge the current level of argon gas in your double-pane windows. If a substantial amount has been lost then there is a method to replace the gas between the panes of glass.
However, it may only be a short term solution. Some windows lose all their argon gas in a matter of a few years if they are poorly installed. Therefore, if the windows are really worn and broken down it may be time for full replacement windows.
If you have single-pane windows yet want an extra layer of thermal protection. You have no choice but to upgrade to double-pane windows if you want argon gas. As a result, you may want to consider brand new low-E double-pane replacement windows.
Replacing Argon Gas with New Windows
The only way to increase insulation and energy efficiency inside your home is through your windows. Old windows are drafty and they will cost you more money in the long run. The better plan is to get replacement windows with Feldco. We have installed over 1.5 million windows! We simply have great products, service, and installation. Speak to a product specialist and get a free quote online today.