When you are shopping for insulating glass, it pays to understand how to compare apples to apples, so to speak. Anytime you see a drastic price difference between two products, you have to consider that there is likely a reason. You then have to determine which means the most to you- saving money initially or gaining the benefits of the higher priced option. When it comes to insulating glass, there are several differences that you should be aware of. There are three aspects of windows that have insulating glass that affect the quality and functionality, namely the glass itself, what material is between the glass panels, and the window frame.
When looking at the glass used for insulating glass, you will need to consider whether it is coated or uncoated. You’ll find that uncoated is lower in cost, but it lacks the benefit of decreasing ultraviolet light that a coating of metallic oxide provides. Coated insulating glass will help you avoid fading of your furniture and flooring, as well as provide a safer environment for your family.
As for the space between the panes of insulating glass, budget options use just dehydrated air, whereas the better options use a gas, such as argon and/or krypton gas. Using a gas increases efficiency so if that is your main option, be sure to look for insulating glass that uses a gas.
Finally, the window pane spacers and the frame of the window are critical to consider when longevity is your objective. Aluminum spacers between the panels is a budget option, but conducts heat making other options a better solution. The better the frame, the longer it will be before a seal breaks down resulting in cloudiness or fogging between the panels. Since this is not an outcome that can be resolved without replacing the window, spending a bit more on a quality window saves you from buying replacement windows far too soon.
The bottom line when selecting windows with insulating glass is to not let price be your primary consideration. You might save money at the onset, but higher utility bills and premature replacement can easily show you that budget windows cost you more in the long run.