Question: Foam Filled Windows

This post is part of a new feature where we answer your questions regarding replacement windows. If you have a question let us know at our contact page

Frank asks:

I’m considering 2 options for replacing windows. One option – a Simonton window promoted by Home Depot, has 13 air chambers, none filled with a foam insulation. HD rep says the air is its own insulation.

Another option has chambers also, but some are filled with an insulation. Is one option better than the other or does the presence/absence of the foam really matter?

Thanks in advance !!!

Our Answer:

Thank you for the question. It is true that air can be an efficient insulator in windows, many styles of windows also use Argon gas, which is odorless, non-toxic, inexpensive and is considered to have great thermal performance.

The short answer to your question about foam, is yes it does help.

However the long answer is energy savings are generally minimal compared to non-foam filled windows. In a study it was quoted as saying…

“The R-value of the hollow frame was R-2.0; the foam-filled frame was only slightly higher – R-2.3. In a climatic region with 6,000 degree days per year (Denver, for example), that boils down to energy savings less than 50,000 Btu per window per year – about 30 cents’ worth of natural gas heat.”

-Source: Enermodal Engineering

Price should be an important consideration, if the foam filled windows are within budget, I say go for it.

If you feel that the higher price is unjustified do not hesitate to buy the non-filled windows, and do not worry about the minor energy savings difference.

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