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Why my triple glazed thermal windows with argon filled didn't bring me peace

Why my triple glazed thermal windows with argon filled didn't bring me peace


Old 02-26-13, 07:21 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Canada
Posts: 3
Exclamation Why my triple glazed thermal windows with argon filled didn't bring me peace

I recently changed all the 2nd floor windows from double pane to triple pane with argon gas filling. The main and only reason is to block as much noise as it can from the highway 401.
I choose Consumer's choice as they have very good reviews on homestars and also was recommend by my friend.
Anyway, I'm desperate to find out the reason why it'is not working at all !? All the outer walls of my house are made by bricks and I don't hear any significant noise from when I stand behind the walls but next to the windows. I'm quite sure that the major noises is from the window. I'm very disappointed and desperate for a quiet night...
What wrong with my choice and what else I can do now??
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Old 02-26-13, 08:09 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: WI/MN
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Welcome to the forums. There's still a lot of solid material transmitting the sound - you could have ten panes of glass but still get noise though them; windows just don't stop noise well at all.
Old 02-26-13, 08:48 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Canada
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I did some research before I decided to go with triple pane. Of course I mentioned to the salesman the reason to change new windows and he has also confirm it will bring a significant improvement on the noise issue. I know there might have other source that letting the noise come in.However, how come there's no improvement at all after changing all the windows...
I start doubting the quality of the windows...
Old 02-26-13, 09:23 AM
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Possibly you did not do your homework... Its new to me but a quick search turned up several hits. It seems so simple...

Here is an example....

Soundproof Windows - How They Work to Reduce Noise


Last edited by lawrosa; 02-26-13 at 09:46 AM.
Old 02-26-13, 09:59 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 6,126
The third pane may provide a "significant" improvement since a window is really a glorified hole in a wall and anything will and can be a "significant" improvement thermally or for sound transmission, but never be equal to the rest of the wall. Even a 50% improvement is really minor.

Old 02-26-13, 10:56 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Canada
Posts: 3

I know I cannot compare the wall and the window.
My question is how come there is no improvement at all by replacing double pane to triple glazed windows on noise reduction?( but a significant difference on preventing heat loss)
I feel like I should never change the windows...
Old 02-26-13, 11:03 AM
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You probably made it worse with the triple pane windows. Thats from what I read on the subject anyway....
Old 02-26-13, 12:00 PM
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Location: USA
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When shopping for windows (esp for sound reduction) you need to get the actual documentation from the manufacturer...not just trust the salesperson.

When I sold windows I had 2 customers that wanted to build fancy new homes in a noise area near the local AFB. They were required by the local codes to have at least 40 STC (IIRC) as well as a certain wind rating and that was pretty difficult to find with our ordering system. I wound up speaking to a tech person from the manufacturer and much depended on the size and type (casement vs double hung vs picture) of the windows as well as the type of glass. They wound up having to downsize some of the windows as well as changing some to fixed vs operating. Almost all required double strength (thicker) or laminated glass. Drove their price up quite a bit over the initial estimate.

I had to have the documentation faxed for the buyer to provide to the local codes office before they would approve the plans.

A very good discussion and explanation is at this link. sound reducing windows - Forum - Bob Vila

I'm almost positive "Oberon" who makes many of the comments used to be a member here.
Old 02-26-13, 12:28 PM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wet side of Washington state.
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Have you ever seen the windows in a radio or television broadcast studio? If you have you will remember that they are a combination of panes and that the panes are NOT parallel with each other. The panes are also individually set into a thick rubber channel. All of this is to reduce the sound transmission via the vibration of the air spaces between the panes. A standard double-pane insulated glass unit will stop a significant amount of the higher frequency sounds but the addition of the third pane, the entire unit being in a rigid unit, has very little added effect in stopping sound transmission...as you have expensively discovered.

Traffic noise is, unfortunately, generally lower in frequency and thus MUCH harder to alleviate. The first link provided by Lawrosa shows an entirely separate rubber-mounted window that is used with the existing window and this will make more of a difference than will a third pane of glass in the IGU. Mounting this separate window on an angle will also improve the sound reduction but still might not help all that much with the traffic noise.
Old 02-26-13, 02:17 PM
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Did they appropriately insulate around the replacement windows when they installed them. Many replacement windows are set in place with a fairly large void where the old sloped sill was. If this area is hollow, it will resonate sound as the only thing covering it would be the trim coil on the exterior. I've seen some installs that were simply caulked and never insulated.

Replacement windows also fit "inside" the original window frames and if those were never insulated either, you could have a double wammy.
Old 02-27-13, 09:06 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: USA
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What wrong with my choice and what else I can do now??
There's not necessarily anything wrong with your choice.

What you can do now is install curtains - preferably 3-layer - or interior shutters. As a general rule, fabric and wood are more effective at deadening sound than glass is.
Old 03-03-13, 06:07 PM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: East of the Mississippi
Posts: 177

It is pretty common for people to claim that triple pane will outperform dual pane for sound perfromance applications. Unfortunately as you found out this isn't necessarily true.

Also neither argon and krypton gas have any appreciable effect on sound performance in a window, despite claims by some people to the contrary.

What brand windows did you install? Were they full tearouts or just inserts? Also do you know the overall width of the IG unit?
Old 03-19-13, 10:07 AM
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 15
I live near a major Metro airport. Fortunately we have a stone and brick home. When we purchased the home I had the old windows (single pane from the 50's) replaced with double pane. What I think really makes a difference is that we left the storm windows on. This creates a 3" - 4" air space - we have no problems with noise.

You might try installing storms on just one room that's facing the highway.
Old 05-14-13, 09:15 AM
Join Date: May 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 12
I replaced the windows in half of my home recently. The old windows were 1970's aluminum with 1/2" double pane clear glass. The new ones are high end vinyl replacements with triple pane krypton filled 13/16" glass. The difference in sound is incredible. My next door neighbor has a dog that barks at night and instead of it sounding like its outside my window it soounds like its way in the distance now. Traffic and T-storms are much quieter as well. The spacers between the new glass is a silicone foam type so that might contribute to the STC as well.
Old 06-24-13, 10:25 AM
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: 04105
Posts: 1
Hi Richard, Not sure if you're still looking for a solution.. and a lot of info posted here.. here's my 2 sense. As somebody else posted, find a storm panel manufacturer that makes a pane with thicker glass than you're using... between the glass and the air gap between the exterior of the triple pane windows and the inside surface of the storm panel (single pane, two sash, with a moveable screen)--that will signficantly improve your STC performance. Typically the industry uses offset-glass and laminated glass combinations. The glass thickness must not be equivalent between the panes of glass.. if you're using triple glazed sash.. the space between surfaces 2 and 3 should not be equivalent to space between 4 and 5... and also, the thickness of the panes should be different. It's all about how a sound wave propagates through a surface. When a wave hits an object the object has a frequency at which it resonates... if those same resonant frequencies are in play (due to identical glass thickness and spacing)... sound is more readily going to pass through the two materials easily.. varying the air gap thinkness has a similar effect.. if the gaps in a triple glazed sash are different, the waves will not hit the 'other' pane of glass at the same phase angle.

So if you're still looking for a solution... put storm panels on the side of the home where you're still experiencing unacceptable noise levels.

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