Are dual pane windows in an RV worth it?

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Are dual pane windows in an RV worth it? We will discuss the advantages of dual pane windows and help you decide whether they are worth investing in or not.

Are dual pane windows in an RV worth it?

Dual pane windows in an RV are worth it if you are planning a trip during winter and in extreme conditions, or if you live full-time in your RV. If you are using the motorhome only a few weeks for a year during summertime, the costs of installing dual pane windows may not be worth it.

Dual pane windows provide the following advantages and properties:

  • Increases the thermal insulation of the glazing by more than 100%;
  • Improves acoustic insulation between 40% to 70%;
  • Reduces the consumption of air conditioning energy due to losses through the glass;
  • Eliminates moisture condensation on glass preventing it from fogging;
  •  Cancels the “cold wall” effect, increasing comfort next to the window.

How are dual pane windows made?

The thickness and type of glass used for a dual-pane window depend on:

  • Wind pressure, cloth size and type of support.
  • Solar control requirements, acoustic insulation and safety and protection specifications.

The glass to be used can be raw, tempered, thermoset or laminated (or combinations thereof). On the other hand, they can be colourless, frosted or totalized.

The thickness of the chamber depends on the thermal insulation requirements and, eventually, on the dimensions of the cloth. The most common thicknesses are 6mm, 9mm and 12mm, although in some cases 15mm and 19mm are also used.

The traditional profile of the separator of the dual-pane window is made up of:

  • micro-perforated aluminium profile
  • Moisture absorbent molecular sieve
  • Butyl primary sealant (behaves as a vapour barrier)
  • secondary sealant (provides mechanical properties to the panel). It can be silicone, polysulfide or hot-melt.

Dual pane windows are usually made up of a 4mm glass, a 9mm air chamber and a laminated glass made up of two glasses of 3mm thickness each. When not stated otherwise, it is always colourless glass.

Dual pane windows are energy efficient

An energy-efficient RV is one that minimizes the use of conventional energy (particularly non-renewable energy), in order to save and make rational use of it.

Energy consumption – basically electricity and gas – is manifested in the number of watts or m3 respectively – used to heat and/or cool a building at different times of the year.

The IRAM 11900-2010 standard establishes a simplified methodology for calculating the energy efficiency of the envelopes of places that can be heated. Said standard grants a category of – ENERGY EFFICIENCY- based on the thermal transmittance of the building envelope. K = weighted average thermal transmittance, measured in Watts / m2 ° K

The “K” factor: The thermal transmittance K is the amount of heat measured in watts that passes through a 1 m2 of enclosure (window, wall, floor, etc.) for each degree Kelvin of the temperature difference between both sides of it.

Comparative:

  • 4 mm single glass –  K = 5.90 w / m2 ° K
  • Laminate  3 + 3  – K = 4.02 w / m2 ° K
  • Brick wall 30 cm   – K = 1.80 w / m2 ° K
  • Glass wool 50 mm  –  K = 0.70 w / m2 ° K
  • Dual pane windows 4/9/4    – K = 2.82 w / m2 ° K

The K factor of the different materials allows us to make a comparison of the thermal insulation provided by each element of the building envelope and see the advantages of choosing dual-pane windows.

Besides, it is essential to find the mechanisms that limit the entry of noise from the outside through the windows and, particularly, through the window glass. As we mentioned before, a dual-pane window can reduce the intensity of the sound from 30 to 50 dB, leaving it at an acceptable level for everyday life.

The advantages of dual pane windows

The dual-pane window has a long list of advantages to its credit, including:

  1. Reduction of energy consumption, for heating and or air conditioning, which can be reduced by 10 to 15%;
  2. Elimination of condensation and the feeling of cold glass. If the one on the outer side is at atmospheric temperature, the inner pane is at room temperature in the room, the layer of air or gas blocking the passage of calories. 

The phenomenon is reversed in summer. This increases the profitability of air conditioners, which no longer have to eliminate calories from outside the home.

  1. Improved acoustic comfort thanks to the significant attenuation of exterior noise.
  1. With the exception of burglar-proof models, even classic double glazing will delay a break-in.

How to choose the right RV dual-pane windows?

In addition to the price, the main criterion for selecting thicknesses is weight, which in the event of large openings may require reinforcement of the masonry. 

The second criterion is that of the number of windows to replace (in the case of a renovation), which can generate a substantial invoice. 

Finally, when it is desired to have any work carried out, the request for several quotes must be carried out on a common basis, to analyse what is comparable. Thanks to the web, it is possible to obtain sufficient documentation to fully identify your needs and establish “specifications” on which the quotes will be based.

What is the price for RV dual-pane windows?

Like all RV work, the price of dual pane windows will depend on multiple factors: the choice of materials and manufacturers, the installation difficulties, the size of the site, the dimensions of the windows, their type (standard or custom), the nature of the carpentry, etc. 

However, we can give a price range of $85 excl. tax per m2 for a 4/10/4 double turn, to $450 excl. tax for a model with burglar-resistant exterior glass and reinforced insulation. Apart from the top-of-the-range models, wood, PVC and aluminium joinery is approximately the same price. With a slight advantage to PVC.

 On the other hand, the cost of a complete installation must be calculated taking into account several factors:

  • Profitability gain on heating/air conditioning;
  • The comfort provided, with among other things the absence of humidity (this degrades the interiors in a devious way);
  • The increase in value of the RV.

Conclusions

The thermal insulation capacity of a window is given by the insulation capacity of the glass, as this is the one with the predominant surface. By using dual pane windows, larger glazed surfaces can be used without compromising comfort or energy consumption for air conditioning in a building or home.

In winter, the good thermal insulation of the glazed surface of a window is of fundamental importance, since it significantly reduces the loss of heating heat to the cold exterior, increasing the feeling of comfort. In summer, a dual-pane window prevents outside heat from entering the cooler indoor environment of a building or home. 

Unfortunately, glass is a very good transmitter of sound, so increasing the proportion of glass in homes (as is the trend today) increases noise pollution indoors. The dual-pane window is the solution. Following the law of mass, increasing the thickness of the glass (greater mass) increases the acoustic insulation. 

In addition, due to the increase in mass, the rigidity of the panels given by the thicknesses of the glasses that make up the dual-pane window can reduce between 30 and 50 dB (decibels). So the greater the more and the rigidity, the less noise. 

Please let us know if you have any questions or comments on the content.

FAQ on Are dual pane windows in an RV worth it?

What are the benefits of windows built with double glass?

In summary, a double glass provides the following advantages and properties to a window: It increases the thermal insulation of the glazing by more than 100%. Reduces the consumption of air conditioning energy due to losses through the glass. Cancels the “cold wall” effect by increasing comfort next to the window.

How do dual pane windows work?

The dual-pane window is made up of two glasses in the middle of which a separating profile is located, delimiting an air or gas-tight chamber. The most common composition that these types of windows usually present is 4/12/4, which means that the two glasses measure 4mm and the air chamber 12.

What are the advantages of double-glazed windows?

Double glazing is one that is made up of two or more panes of glass separated by a chamber of dehydrated air or gas, which offers much more effective thermal and acoustic insulation than simple glazing or another window system.

References 

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