If you’re installing double glazing, you want to save as much as possible on your energy bills, right? Argon-filled double glazing offers a higher efficiency and better insulation that traditional double glazing. However, if you’re going to invest in your home, you want to have a clear picture of the expected costs and potential savings.
In this article, we review the costs and benefits of argon glazing to help you make the best decision for your home.
- Argon double glazing typically costs 5-10% more than standard glazing.
- If you choose casement frames with argon-filled glazing, you can expect to pay prices starting from £375-£675 per window.
- Generally, double glazing becomes about 16-30% more efficient when filled with argon or other inert gases.
- Gas filled windows have a typical warranty of 10-25 years.
How Much Does Argon Double Glazing Cost?
Argon double glazing normally costs about 5-10% more than standard glazing. However, actual costs can vary depending on frame material and energy efficiency, as you can see in the table below:
|C-Rated Regular Glazing Cost
|A-Rated Argon Glazing Cost
Compared with C-rated standard double glazing, A-rated argon glazing saves an extra £30-£40 per year in a typical UK home. If you have a larger home with more window area, your potential savings increase in the same proportion.
How much can you save? In most cases, a C-rated double glazed window has a U-value of about 1.6, while an argon window with 24mm spacing can have a U value as low as 1.1. In this case, the argon-filled glazing reduces heat loss by over 31%. For the average detached home, you’ll lose around 17.5% of indoor heat through C-rated double glazing and just 12.25% with A-rated argon double glazing. The savings can add up to several hundred pounds during the lifespan of your windows.
If you compare A-rated regular glazing with A-rated argon glazing, the cost of argon-filled windows is about £30-£40 more per window.
Why is Argon More Expensive? Any gas-filled window will be more expensive than an air-filled window of similar design, for the simple reason that inert gases cost more than air. Gas-filled double glazing also requires hermetic seals to keep the inert gas inside during its entire lifespan.
What Affects the Cost of Argon-Filled Glazing?
- Window Manufacturer – Some brands cost more than others.
- Installation Difficulty – Labour costs can increase depending on site-specific factors like the condition of your home and the number of stories.
- Frames – Window costs also increase significantly if you choose complex frames or premium materials like timber.
How Does Argon Filled Glazing Save You Money?
Double glazing typically comes with a 5-12mm gap between the glass panes. In a standard air-filled unit, a 5-mm gap doesn’t provide enough of a barrier to stop hot and cold air. However, a 12-mm gap can encourage air circulation inside of the pane, which may lower your overall efficiency – moving air conducts more heat due to convection.
- When double glazing is filled with argon or other inert gases, it can have a wider gap without causing air circulation.
- Most inert gases also have a higher density than air, making them less susceptible to convention and heat loss.
How much does an inert gas improve the energy efficiency of windows? Argon double glazing offers up to 30% more thermal efficiency than an air-filled unit. These windows will dramatically reduce heat loss, saving anywhere from 16-20% of your total energy bills (depending on your existing windows).
The exact thickness of the glass panes and internal space varies depending on the window design. However, 4-mm glass panes and 12-mm spacing are typical for high-quality argon windows.
How Much Does Argon-Filled Glazing Actually Save?
In general, argon gas windows are an energy efficient option. However, you should check their actual specifications before a buying decision, to have a better idea of their potential savings.
For example, if you upgrade from single glazing to A-rated argon double glazing in a detached home, you could be saving over £240 per year. On the other hand, if you already own C-rated double glazing, the efficiency difference is smaller – you might save less than £100 per year.
Argon gas is just one of many design elements that affect the efficiency of double glazed windows. You should also consider the type of glass, frame material and the spacing between panes.
U Value – The U-value indicates heat transfer rate through a material, which means that windows with lower U-values are better insulators. Modern building regulations require windows with a U-Value of no more than W/m2-K, which corresponds to an energy rating of C or better.
Window Energy Rating (WER) – These ratings are issued by organisations like the British Fenestration Rating Council (BRFC), British Standards Institution (BSI) or Certass. Double glazing with an energy rating of A, A+ and A++ offers the highest energy efficiency. If you are concerned about saving energy with your new windows, the WER is the most important feature to consider.
Glass – Window efficiency can also increase or decrease depending on the type of glass. You should look for low emissivity (Low-E) glass, which has a metal oxide coating that improves the U-value of windows.
Filling – The efficiency of double glazing also depends on the gas filling the space between glass panes. Xenon and krypton offer a higher efficiency than argon, but they are also more expensive. Generally, argon offers the best balance between cost and efficiency.
Spacing – In double glazed windows, the gap between panes can range from 4 to 16 mm. Larger gaps provider better insulation, but there are some technical details to keep in mind. Gaps over 6mm allow more air movement between panes, which can have a detrimental effect on efficiency – this can be prevented by adding a filler gas like argon. Gaps larger than 15mm are only common in triple glazing.
Pane Spacers – These spacers are inserted between glass panes to keep them from moving. For maximum energy efficiency, look for ‘warm edge’ spacers with no metal parts.
Frames – Frames are available in uPVC, aluminium, timber and composite. uPVC frames are the most cost-effective, offering high efficiency while being affordable. However, timber and composite frames add more value to your home.
What About Triple Glazing? – Triple glazing is typically filled with argon or krypton by default. Triple glazed windows of high quality have a U-value of around 0.80, while double glazed windows reach U-values of around 1.20. However, triple glazing is up to 30% more expensive than double glazing, without offering a significant increase in savings:
- Less than £20 per year, compared with A-rated double glazing
- Around £60 per year, compared with C-rated double glazing
- £180+ per year, compared with D-rated double glazing
Argon Double Glazing vs Other Gas-Filled Windows
- Xenon – This gas offers a high efficiency but is also very expensive. Generally, the additional savings offered by xenon don’t make up for its extra cost.
- Krypton – This gas offers up to 27% higher efficiency compared with air-filled double glazing without Low-E glass.
- Argon – This gas only improves the insulating value by around 16% compared with traditional doble glazing. However, argon has a lower cost than both krypton and xenon.
Does Argon-Filled Double Glazing Lose Gas Over Time?
Most window installers will guarantee their argon-filled glazing for 10-25 years. For example, top glazing installers like Anglian offer a standard 15-year guarantee against leakage on all their gas-filled windows.
Argon should last for the entire lifespan of a double glazed window with minimal losses – no more than 5% of the gas content during a 25-year period.
If you want a high return on investment with argon double glazing, you have to find a good deal on the installation. You can use our free quote tool to find and compare offers from top double glazing providers in your area – saving up to 37.5% on your new windows.