To Argon or not?


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Old 02-13-07, 11:45 AM
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To Argon or not?

I live in Maryland where the weather is rather mild and am not sure whether or not I should not only get the Low E windows but add argon gas as well. I was at Lowes and the more experienced salesman said that in our area the argon is needed.

Also, is there much difference between the basic brands at Lowe's or Home Depot?

Thanks!

Chuck
 
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Old 02-13-07, 03:53 PM
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IMHO, argon is well worth the cost, which is not a lot. When energy costs start dropping(as in never), then I might recommend skipping it, but every bit helps now. Personally, I would never consider any big box store for windows. Go to a local lumberyard, or a professional installer, choose only national companies with a known track record, like Marvin, Certainteed, Andersen, but not Pella.
 
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Old 02-13-07, 04:28 PM
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I agree with pretty much everything Just Bill mentioned (except his negative comment about Pella.)

And just FYI, if you consider triple-pane glass with Low-E, it will likely have Krypton between the panes (which works better in triple-panes, while Argon is best in most double-pane windows).

Triple pane glass will probably give you the best u-value. Not getting low-e/argon or other similar options is kind of like buying a new car that doesn't have a radio. I suppose you could, but why would you want to skip it when it only costs a little more?
 
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Old 02-13-07, 04:34 PM
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my turn

What they said -

For a bit more info, 100% argon increases energy performance of the window 16%.

A 50% fill increases performance 8%

A 25% fill increases performance 4%

We have a pattern here.
 
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Old 02-13-07, 04:39 PM
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Oberon, what's your take on offgassing? Any data on how quickly that takes place?
 
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Old 02-13-07, 06:12 PM
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Thank you all for clearing that up.
 
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Old 02-13-07, 06:24 PM
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Argon

To present the statistics another way, if it's 0 outside and 70 inside, Low E insulating glass without argon gas is typically 51-52 degrees on the roomside center of the glass, and 57-58 with argon gas. Although it varies between brands, argon gas usually is about $8-$20 more; I think it's well worth it. Speaking about brands, I'd have to disagree with Bill and agree with XSleeper about Pella. Their wood/clad windows are excellent and their warranty is unique in that it actually includes labor. Their vinyl window (sold through Lowes under the label "Thermastar") is not the same performer as their other stuff. Their wood windows are the recommended window by Consumers Reports magazine per the last time they did their window testing. I have Pella's and Marvin's in my house and have no problems with either brand.
 
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Old 02-14-07, 04:26 AM
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Since two of you are jumping me about my statement on Pella, I will explain. I have had several customers with Pella windows in upscale houses where the frames had begun rotting in 12-15 yrs. And all were meticulously maintained. All the windows in one house were affected, and had to be replaced. Pella would do nothing!!!!!!!! Not even after prodding from laywers. It made a non-believer of me, where Pella is concerned.
 
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Old 02-14-07, 05:19 AM
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XSleeper,

That is an area that has appeared to have really improved with the introduction of the newer spacer systems for IG's.

Typical argon loss in the better systems has been tested at about 1% per year which has become something of an unofficial (at least I haven't seen it made official anywhere) standard for the better products in the industry.

Of course there are still a great many companies that use lower quality products - or worse - lower quality workmanship - and those products could still lose their argon fill relatively quickly, unfortunately.

Currently, there are very few companies that have the capability (or resources - the systems are expensive), to check initial gas-fill levels.

And once the units are in the field there has never been a way to tell for certain if the argon has dissipated unless either (a) the unit has an obvious seal failure - ie. moisture between the lites; or (b) the unit has collapsed; or (c) the IGU is pulled and taken to a lab for testing.

There is now a product in the field that can test argon fills of installed windows. I know of only two companies who are actually using it at the moment as a monitoring device to check the actual field performance of their IG's. It works using spark-induced breakdown spectroscopy, and it costs upwards of $10,000 for each hand-held unit - it is a pricey little bugger! The device is called GasGlass and it was invented by two guys in Finland.

I am certain that there are more than two companies currently using this product in the US because I have heard there are about 200 of the devices currently in the country - but I only know of two personally. Of course one of those companies that I know of probably has 50 (or more) of them.
 
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Old 02-14-07, 06:49 AM
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Low E/Argon were optional item's in previous year's in my part in the country.

Low E has become commonplace with most window manufacturer's(or should be),while Argon is still an option.

Like most of the poster's agree,Argon is a worthy addition to your window order & I now routinely just include it in my client's price without even asking.

The other benefit i hear so often is the sound factor that Argon also provide's...Especially when the replacement window's are adjacent to a busy street or rail line.

Dramatic change!...Argon is definately a must have.
 
 

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