If you live in Denver Colorado and you are considering replacing your windows with new energy efficient replacement windows you might be paying out for something that's not present - Argon Gas.
The American Recover And Reinvestment Act of 2009 states that property owners who replace their windows could be eligible for a $1,500 Federal Tax Credit for thermal pane windows that meet certain criteria.
Latest windows have got to have a U-Value of .30 or less and a Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) of .30 or less. The U-Value is a gauge of the amount of heat the windows will keep in your house during the winter, while the SHGC measures just how much solar heat the windows keep out during the summer. Window producers meet this criteria by making sure that all thermal pane windows have a LoE covered glass that's sufficiently strong to block the sun's UV rays. Filling the windows with argon gas is also necessary.
Argon gas is a colorless, odorless inert gas. Argon is heavier than dead air, therefore windows not filled with gas don't create such a good thermal barrier. This is where the problem lies.
The majority of glass producers agree that capillary or breather tubes are needed when an insulating glass unit is traveling through or being installed at an altitude that's more than a 2,500 ft differential from where it was manufactured. Without these tubes the change in height above sea level can easily cause a stress crack which can lead to a seal failure.
If Denver, Colorado residents are buying windows from an out of state producer, the windows have got to have breather or capillary tubes inserted into the insulating glass unit so that the air pressure is balanced while the windows are being transported. Argon gas will diffuse through these tubes very rapidly, perhaps even before the windows depart the factory.
Windows that are sealed at sea level and are being transported to Denver have got to have capillary tubes, and windows with capillary tubes cannot be filled with argon gas.
Window producers do not warrant argon gas and they are aware that the gas will diffuse through capillary tubes, yet they continue to manufacture and distribute these windows. The windows come with certification stickers that have the U-value and the SHGC numbers on them. Manufacturers are not liable because windows are not tested after they reach their final destination. You paid for something invisible and that's what you got - nothing.
If you live in Denver Colorado and you pay for replacement windows from out of state that are intended to meet the tax credit criteria you may have windows with stickers that say it's gas filled, but the odds that the gas will stay in the windows is more or less zero.
A further aspect in argon gas retention has to do with the spacer. The spacer is what separates the two panes of glass around the edge. Metal spacers with a butyl rubber silicant and used by the majority of companies. This won't provide a very good seal. With metal spacers argon gas will slowly but surely leak out over time.
The most reliable spacer in the window industry is called Super Spacer. Super Spacer is a polymer foam with 100% memory combined with a mylar barrier and a butyl rubber seal. Super Spacer is manufactured by Edgetech from Ohio. Super Spacer has become a global brand name and Edgetech has factories throughout the world including China and Germany.
Super Spacer doesn't just retain argon gas better than any other spacer in the world, but as it is a NO-Metal spacer it won't conduct cold, heat, or sound like all metal spacers.
In addition, if you live in a climate like Denver, Colorado with extremely erratic temperature swings, Super Spacer will do a much better job of preventing a seal failure than metal spacers because of the cushion it provides for the glass.
The end result is that if you live a mile high you have to get windows that are sealed a mile high without capillary tubes, and the window ought to have been sealed with Super Spacer for the best insulation and overall performance.
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